Entrepreneurs Unlimited: A Pitch Contest

Entrepreneurs Unlimited: A Pitch Contest is Communities Unlimited’s first-ever virtual business pitch contest. The competition aims to assist business owners in AR, MS, TN and TX as they adjust to the pandemic’s economic impact by pitching their idea for pivoting or rebooting their business. The top prize is $3,000! For more information go to www.communitiesu.org/pitchcontest.

Register at:
Audience Registration: https://conta.cc/2ZkstWV
Competitor Registration: https://conta.cc/3h5R5Zj

Building an Effective Website

Learn how to make your website work for you. Topics will include tips on the design, choosing a domain name, telling your brand story, the importance of messaging and content creation, and an introduction to SEO.

Retargeting Ads – Spanish

Retargeting es una excelente manera de volver a interactuar con sus clientes y darles otra oportunidad para tomar una decisión sobre su producto o servicio. Así que veamos cómo crear su primera campaña.

YouTube for Business

A workshop dedicated to tips and tricks for using YouTube as an advertising platform.

Instagram for Businesses

In this webinar we will go through the basics of Instagram, we will show you how to create a business profile, we will talk about Instagram best practices, and explore the application so you can start your own page for your business!

Entrepreneurs Unlimited FAQs

This webinar is meant to answer questions about registering for the Entrepreneurs Unlimited pitch contest, upload a video, talk about in the pitch, and more.

Bookkeeping w/ Google Sheets

Learn how to track income and expenses with an easy to use Google Sheet.

Getting Found on Google

Google My Business will help you manage your online presence, attract and engage local and regional customers, give customers more ways to reach you. We will walk you through the setup process as well as the benefit of having Google My Business listing.

A Food Truck With A Fresh Taste

A Food Truck With A Fresh Taste

The COVID-19 pandemic devastated small businesses nationwide during most of 2020. Those that survived did so by adapting to the drastic changes brought on by lengthy closures, strict disinfection rules and mandates on masks and social distancing.

One business in a Texas town has been able to reinvent itself thanks, in part, to a microloan from Communities Unlimited.

Freshbox of Amarillo was started in Amarillo, Texas, in 2018 by Anna Lisa Ramos. The business provides catering for events and businesses featuring a menu with classic Tex-Mex dishes and modern healthy options.

Anna Lisa had spent several years catering as a side business. She started with church and corporate events and built a reputation for excellent food. She opened her own business using the skills she had honed over the years and the help of a small business mentoring program. Anna Lisa opened Freshbox of Amarillo. Thanks to the delicious, healthy options she served, her business grew. Then, COVID-19 hit.

The business was hit hard when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The pandemic shut down businesses and events, eliminating the core income of Freshbox of Amarillo. If the business were to survive, it would need to adapt and quickly.

Anna Lisa came up with the idea that could help the business survive — she would buy a food trailer and make her business mobile.

Anna Lisa came to Communities Unlimited in July 2020 to request a microloan of $48,000 to buy the food trailer and a wrap that would cover the trailer, marketing costs and startup expenses for her new food trailer. She began working with Deborah Temple, Director of Lending, and Loan Associate Kevin Tillman on her loan application.

Luckily for Anna Lisa, Deborah and Communities Unlimited’s CEO, Ines Polonius, were familiar with her business. Both attended an event that Freshbox of Amarillo had catered and knew the food was top quality. Their knowledge of the product allowed them to see the potential in the overall business and Anna Lisa’s plan to pivot to a food trailer.

She completed the application with Kevin’s assistance on July 28, and she received approval for the loan by Aug. 21.

Anna Lisa is now waiting as the wrap and equipping the food trailer is finished, but that does not mean she has stopped working with Communities Unlimited.

“Communities Unlimited is helping me so much with all the references and everything y’all have to offer,” she said.

In addition to the loan, Anna Lisa also took advantage of another Communities Unlimited service — technical assistance. Through the Entrepreneurship program, Anna Lisa received expertise and training to get her food truck off the ground.

“It’s just so valuable for me to receive this,” she said. “It’s valuable so that I can be successful.”

Communities Unlimited provides technical assistance such as bookkeeping software training and other financial and accounting training to help small businesses find long-term success. One-on-one assistance is tailored to the client. In Anna Lisa’s case, she is getting assistance with the bookkeeping and her menus.

“The biggest problem that I had over the years was figuring out my menu as far as the cost,” she said. “Everything I had to figure out on my own. It takes a lot of time.”

She began working with Akira Morishita, Management Consultant for Communities Unlimited. Akira worked with Anna Lisa to determine what type of menu to offer and what would provide the best cost-to-revenue ratio for her new mobile business.

Her background in catering and buffet-style presentations made it easier to decide on the format for her menu. She said Akira helped her decide on a buffet-style. One factor in determining that was to figure out the cost for each dish.

“I think he’s going to present me with something I can use for every recipe,” Anna Lisa said.

She also began working with Cynthia Terry, Director of Entrepreneurship, on projections for her business. They were able to determine that Anna Lisa could hire an employee.

Anna Lisa said her relationship with Communities Unlimited has her optimistic about her future.

“I feel like everyone who is involved and who is helping really truly wants me to succeed,” Anna Lisa said. “They did not just lend me the money, and that’s it. I really think that they’re setting me up for a successful business and not just another taco truck.”

Wells Fargo Foundation to Support Rural Communities

Communities Unlimited Receives $300,000 Grant From Wells Fargo Foundation to Support Rural Communities

Communities Unlimited announced a $300,000 grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation, which will enable the Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) to provide micro small business loans to rural small businesses that will provide the capital they need to pivot or reopen their businesses closed because of COVID-19.

The grant for Communities Unlimited is one of six grants awarded to CDFIs that support housing and community development in rural communities with persistent poverty across the U.S.

According to Partners for Rural Transformation, of the 395 U.S. counties with persistent poverty, eight out of 10 are rural. The majority (60%) of people living in rural communities are people of color. These same distressed communities now grapple with the ongoing health and economic crises resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Communities Unlimited serves 45% of the persistent poverty counties in the United States. We welcome the support of the Wells Fargo Foundation to support our work toward eliminating persistent poverty in the rural South,” said Ines Polonius, CEO, with Communities Unlimited. “We know that collaboration is key to creating opportunities, advocating for changes in policy, developing innovative solutions and providing capital to rural entrepreneurs, so they are able to create jobs and build wealth for their families and their communities, ending generations of poverty and inequity in the rural South.”

CDFIs each receiving $300,000 grants from the Wells Fargo Foundation include:

“The economic challenges from COVID-19 are putting a spotlight on the most vulnerable people in underserved communities being disproportionately affected by job losses, under-employment, and housing instability,” said Eileen Fitzgerald, head of Housing Affordability Philanthropy with the Wells Fargo Foundation. “These CDFIs play a crucial role in reducing housing poverty and homelessness, improving health outcomes, boosting economic mobility, supporting job creation and retention, and strengthening the economy.”

The Wells Fargo Foundation has a strategic focus on addressing housing affordability, small business growth, and financial health and includes a $1 billion philanthropic commitment to address housing affordability solutions by 2025. As part of its $175 million response to COVID-19, the Wells Fargo Foundation has provided more than 1,200 grants in support of nonprofits to help keep more than 100,000 homeowners and renters housed. The Wells Fargo Foundation efforts to address the housing affordability crisis includes expanding the capacity of housing counselors to respond to renters and homeowners, supporting nonprofits that provide affordable rental homes and services, and support for legal aid organizations to provide representation for renters at-risk of eviction.

Read “A coalition on a mission to eliminate persistent poverty in the U.S.” on Wells Fargo Stories.