Spark is ready to help New Braunfels residents start their small business | Community Alert

A recent funding grant will allow the New Braunfels branch of the University of Texas Small Business Development Center at San Antonio to continue to provide services to start-up and growing businesses.

The $210,000 grant comes following recent approvals from New Braunfels and the New Braunfels Economic Development Corp. to the Spark Small Business Center. The Spark Small Business Center then awarded grants to the UTSA SBDC.

The funding allows Spark Small Business Center to fund and operate the SBDC in New Braunfels through the end of fiscal year 2023.

The New Braunfels office, staffed by a manager and an administrative assistant, works under an annual contract with Spark Small Business Center and provides business owners and entrepreneurs looking to start or grow an existing business with free advice, market research, referrals and workshops business.

“As a customer, there are no costs,” said Lucinda Vela, project manager and senior management consultant at the New Braunfels office. “A lot of people come here and ask about the fees. There are no fees. The advice is individual and confidential. It’s all designed for small businesses, whether they’re starting or expanding their business. We become lifelong partners with everyone.”

Workshops are available for small businesses and future small business owners. A calendar of training opportunities offered by the Center is available at https://sasbdc.org/training/.

Clients requiring specialized services can also receive referrals within SBDC’s extensive network.

“Some other consulting services include business planning and market research – everything from marketing to website evaluation to human resources, which is a really big deal for clients,” Vela said. “They ask, ‘How do I go from entrepreneur to W-2, or take contractors and hire them as employees?’ We do all of that — social media, financial accounting, and credit wrapping — those are the things that we offer for free.”

Additional programs under the UTSA SBDC partnership include the SBDC International Trade Center, SBDC Center for Government Contracting, SBDCNet, SBDC Technology Commercialization Center, SBDC COVID Business Recovery Accelerator and Procurement Technical Assistance Center.

In fiscal 2022, the New Braunfels center served 573 clients, hosted 21 training events, helped establish or expand 21 businesses and created 60 new jobs.

Through the work of this office, 75 jobs could be preserved. A total of $5,584,400 in capital injections was received for these New Braunfels business clients during the year.

“We are grateful to the New Braunfels Economic Development Corporation, New Braunfels City Council and Spark Small Business Center,” said Richard Sifuentes, UTSA SBDC director. “The renewal of the scholarship allows our advisors and staff to continue their excellent work in strengthening the economy of New Braunfels.”

Since around 2011, the Small Business Center, officially known as the Center for Entrepreneurship, has focused on conducting advisory sessions, expanding access to capital, business planning, training, contract and sourcing opportunities, and exporting initiatives that benefit the small business community companies are relevant and helpful.

For more information about Spark, please visit the office at 940 W. San Antonio St. or call 830-358-7273.

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