Leveraging Free Resources for Small Businesses

Are you a small business in need of financial and technical help? If you are, did you know that there is a multitude of resources available through your City, County, State, and even some Federal programs? The availability of these resources has actually increased substantially throughout the pandemic, further shedding a light on the impact and importance that small businesses and essential services have on our communities.

Below is a list of some of these resources:

Prestamos CDFI

Prestamos CDFI has a variety of no-cost business support services available, including:

  • Program to Invest in Micro-Entrepreneurs (PRIME):
    • Business Advising/Coaching for businesses with under 10 employees in Arizona and Nevada
  • Prestamos Women’s Business Center:
    • Startup and Business support focused on women in Central/Northern Arizona
  • Microlending:
    • Ongoing advising and coaching for Microloan Clients

Small Business Administration (SBA)

The SBA has a variety of no, or low, cost programs for small businesses including:

  • Women’s Business Centers: Startup and Business Support focused on women entrepreneurs
  • SCORE: Counselors that provide Business Advising and Workshops
  • Small Business Development Centers: Support with business plans and applications for capital
  • Veterans Business Centers: Startup and Business Support focused on women”

​​Additional Grants and Resources for Businesses:

  • FedEx E-Commerce Learning Lab
  • Nav’s Small Business Grant
    • https://www.nav.com/business-grant-contest/
    • Must be a Nav member (memberships are free). Receive up to $10,000 to take your business to the next level. Entries must be submitted between June 30th and August 6th for your chance to receive a grant.
  • iFund Women
  • Business Certifications
    • Are you a minority, women, or veteran-owned business? If so, you can apply to become officially certified as minority-owned which can open up new opportunities for federal, state, local, and corporate contracts.
    • https://nmsdc.org/
  • Look in your community
    • Did you know that your local libraries and co-working spaces also offer a variety of resources for small businesses and entrepreneurs? Check your local library branch or a co-working space near you for more information.
    • https://www.joinhuub.com/

Take advantage of these resources to help elevate your business to the next level. Make sure to check out our website and social media pages to stay up to date on the latest tools, webinars, and other services we offer through Prestamos.

Hiring During A Time of Uncertainty

This month, we spoke to Prestamos Business Advisor Pedro Alvarez to get his take on a special topic of interest for the small business and nonprofit community. Pedro discusses how the current landscape, affected by the pandemic, has affected hiring and offers tips when recruiting for your organization. From retention to effective outreach, we chat about the impact your staff have on your company.

Pedro, please give us an overview of how you see the current employment landscape.

We have seen a BIG shift in the employment landscape. Companies are having a hard time finding applicants as more and more people are choosing to stay home temporarily, reconsider the traditional job market, consider starting their own business or work as independent contractors, or are simply waiting to reenter the job market due to continued safety concerns. It really boils down to creating a mutually beneficial opportunity for both parties. I believe that, more than before, the key to successful recruiting will be that both parties must truly feel valued during the process.

How can employers, from small businesses to local nonprofits, focus their recruitment efforts?

Understand what you are offering. When posting a job ad, determine what will drive an applicant to you and keep your recruitment efforts positive. In addition to competitive salaries and health benefits, consider offering and highlighting to applicants:

  • Your company culture (applicants want to relate to your team and business mission!)
  • Your stance on social justice issues
  • Volunteer hour perks and earned time off benefits
  • Work from home options
  • Your location, commute times, and office perks (coffee stations, anyone?)

Additionally, I recommend being transparent about hourly pay/salaries in the job application. More and more applicants are clicking away from job postings if the pay rate is not included. Your transparency will help you and the applicant save time and energy, and will allow you to focus on the applicants who are serious about the job you are hiring for.

Remember – while salary is critical, many applicants care just as much about work/life balance and/or workplace culture when finding a new job.

What should job applicants be doing when looking for new roles?

Put yourself first! Of the many lessons we learned from the pandemic, one critical takeaway was that applicants want to enjoy their work. They need purpose. Belonging. If you are an applicant transitioning into a new role and/or industry, or are waiting to reenter the workforce, make sure you understand what that new job will provide you in the long run. Keep working on your skills, and find a company that will value you for what you bring to the table.

Thank you, Pedro, for your insight! If you are a small business or nonprofit and need help with hiring, retention, employee trainings, and other business services, please contact our team at prestamosloans@cplc.org!

Employer hiring new staff member

This Summer Your Business Will Shine

Preliminary economic data from US Federal Government is showing a spectacular recovery with an estimated growth of 6.4% GDP for the first quarter of 2021. Additionally, other sources estimate that consumer spending is skyrocketing at 10.7 in Q1 of 2021.

That is good news for your small business because it means that the average consumer is now spending more money than it was a year ago and the trend is upward.

Here we share some tips with you to make your business shine to the eyes of your prospects and clients and be part of this strong demand for products and services. Please remember the old saying “Locals like to buy from locals.”

Yellow background, happy woman in sunglasses

 

Diversify your offerings to suit the local community during the hot summer months. Summer represents a great opportunity to provide new items in your store that reflect the season. If your business is part of the service industry, offer to meet your clients in local hotspots that that are more convenient so they may avoid the travel. In addition to experiencing and supporting a new local business, you also get to engage your clients in a new way!

Offer “Local Discounts” for the local community to reward them for shopping local. Feel free to unleash your imagination and promote your business with coupons, discounts, and special offers to locals using your traditional channels and your business social media accounts.

Summer is hot and ice cream parlors and similar venues turn into popular spaces during the summer for people trying to refresh with a cold treat during the hot months. Your business can benefit from this trend if you collaborate up with a local ice cream shop to offer coupons per every purchase in your store.

The Summer is here and your business will shine with increased sales and profits!

Chicanos Por La Causa Women’s Business Center

Chicanos Por La Causa Selected by the U.S. Small Business Administration to Operate a Women’s Business Center

PHOENIX — The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced grant awards that would support the launch of 20 new Women’s Business Centers across the United States, with Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc. (CPLC) being one of the recipients of the grant. This expansion marked the single largest of WBC’s across the country in its 30-year tenure.

 

Prestamos CDFI, a division of CPLC, will oversee the CPLC Women’s Business Center (CPLC WBC) expected to serve every year over 1,000 aspiring and established female entrepreneurs in the metro Phoenix area, rural and other underserved communities. Offering one-on-one counseling, training, workshops, and technical assistance. CPLC WBC will work to empower women entrepreneurs and arm them with the resources they need to overcome the obstacles presented by the pandemic and business world, including access to capital.

“Small businesses are the economic engine of our economy and their social impact on our communities is profound. The CPLC WBC recognizes that women entrepreneurs face unique barriers to starting and operating small businesses and accessing capital. It is vital that we create a space where minority, female, and entrepreneurs in underserved communities can access not only quality financial and business education, but also be provided with the opportunity to access capital to help these businesses thrive,” said Teresa Miranda, Vice President of Prestamos CDFI.

“Expanding the WBC program is part of this Administration’s longstanding commitment to the success of female entrepreneurs and women-owned small businesses. Adding these new Women’s Business Centers to the already existing network of centers across America will boost timely resources to our nation’s female economic drivers, providing them with local training and counseling,” said Jovita Carranza, SBA Administrator.

By educating and empowering underserved female entrepreneurs, the work through CPLC WBC will provide pathways for small businesses to not only flourish but also contribute to the economic, cultural, and social vitality of our communities.

“Bringing a Women’s Business Center back to Maricopa County, home to over 4.5 million people, is going to be instrumental in helping our small business community recover from the pandemic. CPLC’s WBC will provide training and education that will empower women who lost jobs or had to pivot to remain home to care for children, with additional opportunities to become entrepreneurs and create businesses. Our team of expert business advisors will work on assisting clients with help on topics such as financial management, marketing, human resources, and much more. We look forward to continuing to provide valuable and trusted resources to our community,” said Amber Cordoba, Prestamos CDFI Director of Business Education and Consulting Services.

For more information about the CPLC WBC or to receive updates visit our Women’s Business Center page.

CPLC Prestamos is an award-winning Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and Community Development Entity (CDE) that has provided small business loans and high-quality technical support services to business owners in underserved communities since 1980. Prestamos now offers loan products and investment opportunities in Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas.

 

A big thank you from our clients - many Prestamos Clients in a grid

$5 Million Award Will Help Invest in Underrepresented Communities of Color

PHOENIX — A much-needed $5 million “shot in the arm” from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott will enable Chicanos Por La Causa Prestamos CDFI to infuse crucial capital into Latino and other underserved communities.

Prestamos, CPLC’s mission-driven lending division, will seek to leverage the $5 million award to garner an additional $20 million in accessible capital for underrepresented communities and business owners in Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, and California.

“We are motivated to invest these funds in our community to help fuel the economic recovery and create jobs supporting families that are suffering the debilitating effects of the pandemic. COVID-19 disproportionally impacted black and brown communities,” said David Adame, President & CEO of Chicanos Por La Causa.

Since the pandemic began, CPLC Prestamos has helped 1,028 businesses, already deploying $49.5 million in capital and saving 4,797 jobs. The $5 million award will enhance and expand such efforts.

“CPLC Prestamos exists to ensure that vital capital resources are invested in low-income communities of color. Now more than ever, investment is necessary to support small business owners. We are committed to driving economic empowerment to address racial inequities and build wealth in our communities,” said Jose Martinez, President of Prestamos CDFI.

Investing in small businesses not only can help a family endure this catastrophic crisis, the infusion of capital can empower whole communities and continue positive generational change instead of thwarting or erasing any advancements made since the Great Recession, Adame noted.

The $5 million award is part of Scott’s commitment to help people in dire need due to the health and economic crisis caused by the pandemic. Scott, has given nearly $4.2 billion to 384 organizations over the last four months.

Explaining her motivation in a blog, Scott wrote: “This pandemic has been a wrecking ball in the lives of Americans already struggling. Economic losses and health outcomes alike have been worse for women, for people of color, and for people living in poverty. Meanwhile, it has substantially increased the wealth of billionaires.”

CPLC Prestamos is committed to continuing to invest in Latino and other underrepresented communities, and to seek similarly dedicated partners who share in the belief of economic equity and empowerment through entrepreneurship.

CPLC Prestamos is an award-winning Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and Community Development Entity (CDE) that has provided small business loans and high-quality technical support services to business owners in underserved communities since 1980.

A big thank you from our clients - many Prestamos Clients in a grid

ggroup of key local latino business owners

Pandemic Magnifies The Needs Of Minority-Owned Businesses Devastated By The Pandemic

Prestamos CDFI Convenes Group Of Key Players and Local Latino Owned Business To Discuss Challenges They Face

Small businesses are the heart and soul of any community. While being responsible for keeping the economy afloat, they provide much more than monetary value. Small businesses are also responsible for shaping and molding the culture of a state, city, and neighborhood. They become gathering spaces for friends, cultivate and foster innovations, or provide comfort through a shared meal with loved ones. At Prestamos Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), we understand that there is a uniqueness to every small business and the entrepreneurs responsible for bringing them to life. Our organization is not only focused on helping small businesses identify and develop areas of opportunity. We are also here to be their advocates.

ggroup of key local latino business owners

 

 

To this end, members of the lending and technical assistance teams at Prestamos CDFI recently convened with Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Jovita Carazza, The Arizona Commerce Authority, District SBA, and several Latino owned small businesses at the Chicanos Por la Causa Buckeye Commerce Center. The purpose of the convening was to have open and honest conversations about the needs and struggles minority-owned, small local businesses face. While for some small business owners, these issues have always been at play, the pandemic further exposed and magnified how lack of resources and assistance can devastate a business. In the convening,

One of the largest discussion topics was the importance of funding for Technical Assistance programs, especially as the potential for another round of Payroll Protection Program (PPP) assistance becomes more likely. As an administrator of the PPP, Prestamos CDFI found that many small businesses struggled to understand the application process and need assistance in organizing their documents and getting their books in order. This is a critical component of applying and obtaining assistance through the PPP and other similar programs.

Phoenix immigration attorney, Emilia Bañuelos, spoke about how COVID-19 had significant negative impacts on her business. She spoke to how access to the PPP funds was crucial to the survival of her business. Emilia also pressed the topic of how difficult and disheartening the process was when her longtime bank turned her away for the PPP and how Prestamos was critical in helping her secure the funds. She expressed that there is a continued growing fear amongst the minority-owned small business community as uncertainty and frustration plagues our society.

Amber Cordoba, Director of Business Education and Consulting Services, at Prestamos, shared her concerns that “many minority small business owners struggled to gain access to PPP and other CARES funding because they were not considered a priority by their banks. This further reinforces the important role that CDFI’s play in the communities they serve and the importance of Technical Assistance programs.” This sentiment was echoed by others in the room, including everyone around the room, including Amado Becera, one of the four brothers that make up B’s Granite.

At the start of COVID-19, the construction industry was faced with startling closures, which impacted their business and their ability to support their families and employees. B’s Granite in Phoenix is another example of how PPP funding helped keep the business open and keep all eleven of their employees employed. While PPP has been critical in assisting many businesses to keep their doors open, it has also not been quite enough for the long-term.

As the PPP component is only a small part of what Prestamos CDFI does, we also provide technical assistance through our SBA MicroLending programs and were recently awarded the SBA Program for Investment In Micro-Entrepreneurs (PRIME). Through the PRIME program, Prestamos will offer no-cost training and technical assistance (TA) to help strengthen economically disadvantaged businesses, particularly in Opportunity Zones, Rural areas, and HUBZones. Support will include bilingual training and coaching in areas such as Accounting, QuickBooks, Business Pivoting, Strategic Planning, Business Plan Coaching, Marketing, Debt Restructuring, and Human Resources.

In addition, Prestamos is hopeful to be selected to host an SBA Women’s Business Center. This unique program is something that does not currently exist in Phoenix but would help women entrepreneurs gain the skills and assistance needed to start and operate successful small businesses.

SBA loan guarantees remove barriers to capital access that disproportionally impact minority-owned businesses and support quality job creation in distressed communities. CDFI’s, like Prestamos, play a big role in providing support and opportunity for small businesses that they may otherwise not have access to. As the conversation came to Teresa Miranda, Vice President of Prestamos CDFI, expressed to Administrator Carazza how honored Prestamos was to be selected to host the round table and for the support the SBA has provided to the organization and the small business community.

Prestamos CFDI continues to work and impact small businesses in our market communities of Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico. We exist to help nurture and grow entrepreneurs through their journeys. We are a mission-driven entity that operates under the non-profit Chicanos Por La Causa, which provides communities with resources ranging from health, education, financial services, housing, and advocacy. Prestamos continues its efforts to advance our work to provide high-quality financial products and services for small businesses that lead to impactful economic development projects. We invite you to visit our website to find out how you can be part of this impact.

resources LIST

List of COVID Resources

Looking for a list of resources to help your business during this time of COVID19?  Here is a list of bootcamps, guides, loan assistance resources, education, unemployment & other HR resources, workplace prep & safety, and many other information based assets.

 

resources LIST

support for your children

Support for Your Children in Arizona

Support for Your Children in Arizona

You have many responsibilities, but maybe one of your most important roles is being a parent. We hope you find value and support via this list of resources below.

Tips for managing stress in your child in the home:

Finding support:

Parental Support resources

mental wellness is important learn to manage anxiety and stress

Mental Health in the Time of COVID

Anxiety and stress

mental wellness is important learn to manage anxiety and stress

It is common to feel anxiety and stress, especially during these turbulent and uncertain times. To help improve the health and productivity of employees, many businesses offer a special benefit called the Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

What is an EAP?

EAP is a service that provides professional support to assist employees in resolving personal and work-related issues that may affect their job performance. EAP’s can provide solutions for financial or emotional problems, family issues, substance abuse, alcohol abuse, and more. Each EAP company offers unique, specialized, and tailored program packages to meet the needs of the business.

How can it beneficial to a business?

  • Reduces accidents and fewer workers’ comp claims.
  • Reduces absenteeism
  • Reduces turnover
  • May reduce medical costs arising from early identification and treatment of individual mental health and substance use issues

Where can I find fitting programs?

Please do your research and compare two or more EAP providers before settling on the right fit for your business. Here are a few to consider:

How can I help Myself?

If you are personally experiencing stress and anxiety, consider reviewing these tips from:

 

Neon lights: Reno, the biggest little city in the world

Small City, Big Heart: How Business Diversification Is Helping Reno, Nevada Thrive

Recently named the Best Small City, Reno, Nevada is anything but small when it comes to the boom in the job and economic growth they’ve been experiencing n recent years. With an attractive cost of living, great climate, and space for development – Reno has fostered a perfect ecosystem for entrepreneurs. While it was just as susceptible to the impact caused by COVID-19 and affected by the shut-downs, that ecosystem the city has fostered has been crucial to its long-term growth and recovery.

Reno is home to hundreds of small businesses, and like in cities throughout the world, many of them were greatly affected by the closure caused by the pandemic. Nevertheless, this city has proven it has what it takes to succeed. Compared to the rest of the state, northern Nevada has lower unemployment numbers, which is the result of a plan first launched in 2011 to diversity the cities economy. This plan was led by the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada in 2011 in response to the recession.

Neon lights: Reno, the biggest little city in the world

The primary purpose of this plan was to diversify Reno’s economy. Building up the infrastructure to attract different industries helped establish an upward trajectory for the business community. The city experienced an influx in the creation of quality high-paying jobs by attracting advanced manufacturing and technology companies. With an excellent track record of adaptability and resilience, the Reno business community can work together to create solutions to the problems they are facing. By creating partnerships within the business community, entrepreneurs can work together to continue diversifying their economy. While many of the jobs created were by industries and companies that are bigger, these new industries are also responsible for growth in population.

As more people from across the country continue to choose the “Biggest Little City In The World” as a place to call home, this climate means more opportunities for small businesses. From skilled services to specialized shops and restaurants, all companies are needed in Reno. Aside from the need, Reno has excellent incentives and resources for new businesses to set up shop. With a strong focus on the development and revitalization of the downtown region, the city has created the Downtown Reno Partnership.

The partnership focuses on business development, fostering relationships, and creating resources to make downtown a destination. Most recently, with the shutdowns, the Downtown Reno Partnership created helpful resources to help businesses easily understand any guidelines put in place and safely reopen. This plan included a toolkit that all businesses in the area could take advantage of, including graphics to promote reopening and social distancing, links to COVID-19 recovery resources, and much more. This type of support helps build community and confidence with businesses that are established and also looking to open. With these types of partnerships, entrepreneurs can feel more at ease, knowing they have a support system when they need help.

As a CDFI (Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), Prestamos is honored to work with Reno businesses, our efforts are to work with small businesses in the communities we serve to help them in their growth and quality job creation. We believe that small businesses are the economic engine of our communities. They are essential for our local and national economies to work and grow.