Over a dozen small-business owners converged Dec. 8 at Harris County Precinct 4’s Tracy Gee Community Center to get expert advice and resources to help grow their businesses.
In the first of two Small Business Meetups, Precinct 4 and its partners equipped current and future business owners with practical tools to develop business plans, access financial support, and innovate and expand their current scope of work.
Bakery owner Lesly Angulo said the meetups were important for minority- and women-owned business communities.
“I’m Latin American and a single mother, so sometimes when you are trying to find certain resources, it can be difficult,” Angulo said. “So, when I found this, I knew I’d found a great opportunity. I also told a friend of mine that if they weren’t able to make it, I would pass on to them any information I find.”
Precinct 4 partnered with local organizations including the Houston District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the Women’s Business Center of the Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce, and the Fort Bend County Small Business Development Center to host the meetup.
Commissioner Lesley Briones said the sessions are one way the precinct’s newly-created economic development team is supporting local small businesses.
“Small businesses are the heart of our local economy and communities,” Commissioner Briones said. “We are committed to ensuring that every business has the support, tools, and resources necessary to power their success.”
Tim Jeffcoat, director of the SBA’s Houston District, said the Dec. 8 event also served as an opportunity for the business owners to network with each other, creating a tighter, more collaborative small-business community..
“The [meetup brought] small businesses together so that they can not only talk to us, but also meet each other,” Jeffcoat said “We have found that they are as passionate about talking to each other as they are about talking to us.”
Shayla White Bowden, chief operating officer and executive director of the Women’s Business Center, said the partnership with Commissioner Briones’ team is a helpful way to boost economic development in the region..
“We’re excited to have a collaborative agreement to help provide tools and resources to small businesses and entrepreneurs, [as well as] information that can help small businesses such as contracting, purchasing with Harris County, [and] educational and business workshops for how to get in touch with opportunities such as this one,” Bowden said.
Realtor Shana Jones attended the event to network and gather information for her clients and coworkers.
“I think this is awesome, especially for me being a Black woman and how important it is for us to own our own businesses,” Jones said. “And as taxpayers, the fact that we have these resources available and that not enough people know about them ... it’s important to have events like this so people can go and spread this information to the people that don’t know.”
The next Small Business Meetup is on Friday, Dec. 15, from 9-10:30 a.m. at the Radack Community Center. Register at https://MeetupDec15.eventbrite.com.