SAN ANTONIO - There's plenty of help out there for small businesses that have been devastated by the pandemic, ranging from the San Antonio Small Business Administration to the UTSA Small Business Development Center.
Zach Johnson took advantage of easy access to both orgranizations today during an open house at the Westside Community Center. More than 30 small business owners and entrepreneurs received valuable information that will either help them start a company or grow an existing one.
Johnson, programming director at ICCS Academy, is hoping to grow his business that trains people to work in the construction industry by more than three-fold. ICCS currently has nine employees. Johnson's target is 30.
"A lot of times what I need is access to funding," Johnson says, "and other employer activities to be able to engage with the local community."
Through a partnership with Turner Construction, which is building a data center for Microsoft near the Bexar County line on the far west side, ICCS was training half a dozen new employees today.
It's part of an effort to "make that impact more impactful in certain areas throughout the San Antonio area," Johnson says, "especially the lower socioeconomic ones."
During today's small business session, owners received materials about what's available from the SBA and other government agencies. Some may not have known counseling is one of the services offered.
"A lot of times people aren’t aware of the help that’s there," says Richard Sifuentes, director of the UTSA center. "We want to bring that to the community and make sure they’re taking advantage of the resources."
The most common questions revolve around loans and grants.
"They’re obviously interested in the SBA funding," Sifuentes says. "They’re interested in regular funding as well, also funding related to Covid.
"We’ve got people that have been around funding and can advise you what you should and shouldn’t do."
That's exactly what Johnson is looking for, whether its his company's deal with Turner, more connections in the local construction community, or new avenues of financial assistance.
"Sounds like an absolute perfect win for everybody," Johnson says.