Ciudad Nueva strives to create and maintain programs that highlight the existing assets of the community members in the Rio Grande neighborhood. Those assets include resources, skills, experiences, and simply living in the community. Although the median household income for families in this area is $21,574, one significant asset that many individuals in the community have is the skill of entrepreneurship. They often sell goods or provide services as a way to generate needed income, but without certain financial assets or knowledge on how to leverage or grow their services as a small business, it can be difficult to acquire traditional loans or even know where to start.
In response to neighborhood requests and needs evaluations we have completed over the last 5 years, this pilot initiative is the next step in empowering the thriving of neighborhood individuals and families.
A Path to Small Business Thriving
The Small Business Incubator & Microloans pilot program will recruit, train, and equip potential small business owners from the Rio Grande neighborhood to participate in a year-long cohort. Throughout the year they will receive business mentoring and coaching, as well as access to 0% peer-to-peer microloans up to $1,000 to grow or launch their business.
Luis Mendoza, a community member and business owner, has lived in the Rio Grande neighborhood for 11 years and started his business, Pet & Houses, in 2020. Luis started Pet & Houses out of his love for animals and desire to educate people about how to properly care for them. He currently primarily sells reptiles ranging from snakes, frogs, lizards, tarantulas, scorpions, and even crocodiles.
Luis started his business just by researching the internet on what was required, but with the Covid-19 pandemic and navigating certain legal documentation like special permits with the city, expanding or growing his business has been delayed. “What I hope to learn to grow my business is how to properly file taxes, find real estate, and how to get special permits to sell certain animals to expand the store,” Luis shared with Ciudad Nueva. Pet & Houses is something he hopes can eventually be his full-time income.
We are excited to also extend this opportunity to our high school students in Catalyst, our college and career preparedness program. They will draft a business plan and use that towards applying for the SBMI and Microloans pilot initiative. Community partnerships will include working with LiftFund El Paso, our local SBDC office headquartered at El Paso Community College, the Greater El Paso Credit Union, and a team of local small business owners who have been recruited as coaches and mentors. This initiative is also made possible thanks to seed funding provided by the Freeport-McMoran Foundation.
Become a Part of Ciudad Nueva’s First Small Business Incubator & Microloans Program
If you are a community member living in the Rio Grande District of El Paso and would like more information on how to become a participant in the Small Business Incubator & Microloans pilot program, please contact Abby Carl Klassen, Partnership & Development Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
If you are a business owner, entrepreneur, or community member with relevant experience and skills to be a potential mentor in this pilot initiative, we would love to hear from you. This could look like weekly mentoring, being available to answer questions as needed, or even hosting a workshop. Please contact Abby Carl Klassen, Partnership & Development Director, at email@example.com for more information.