`Small Business Week’ to foster students’ entreprenuerial spirit

By Juan Calvillo

The Business Administration Department will be having its first “Small Business Week” Monday through Thursday at the East Los Angeles College main campus. 

The week will be filled with various workshops where students and community members, who are prospective entrepreneurs, can get valuable information on starting a small business. 

This event was created to expand on this weeks “National Small Business Week” by adding another week of small business information.

The event was created between Business professors Frank J. Aguirre, Laura E. Ramirez and Christopher Chin. 

This event is part of the Strong Workforce program and the funds went directly into creating the workshops. 

The program was created in an effort to create more career technical education jobs. 

ELAC’s “Small Business Week” was made with the busy entrepreneur in mind and has an aim to be accessible to all that attend. 

Aguirre said that most of the workshops are focused on topics that small business entrepreneurs can take advantage of at the onset of starting a new business.

Chin said that the ELAC student population seemed to have a strong entrepreneurial mindset  and that despite touching on a lot of the main things needed to start a business, classes taught don’t always focus enough on certain topics. 

The workshops scheduled were put together to answer questions on topics like these.

“You ask most entrepreneurs, ‘what are they looking at,’ they’re looking at how to get money to start a business. ‘How do I get customers,’ You got marketing. How do you get people who can help and support them, outside of the workshop,” said Aguirre. 

These are just some of the topics that the workshops will address. 

Aguirre said that all the workshops would be run by outside professionals.

Each workshop tackles a specific topic and the Monday workshop will be dedicated to helping small business owners find resources and support in starting a business. This workshop will be held at F5-201.

This workshop will be run by Beatriz Devi, who is an ELAC alum said Aguirre. Devis is an Economic Development Specialist and works for the needs of local small businesses through the Los Angeles District Office of the US Small Business Administration. 

A government group whose purpose is to help people start small businesses by helping get loans or counseling entrepreneurs.

The Tuesday workshop, also in F5-201, will be all about the branding and marketing aspect of business. Zitlalic Ley, founder of “Latina Nerds,” will be leading the workshop. 

Her zeal to help latino communities learn about branding and technology coupled with years being outspoken for latinos from Washington to Silicon Valley can be very informative. 

Loans for small businesses will be addressed on Wednesday, in F5-201, by José Juan Vega. 

Vega is a former Business Financial Consultant for Goldman Sachs, who has worked with multiple banks managing small business banking. 

His real world professional expertise would be vital when wondering how to get the money to start a business from the ground up. 

He currently is working at city of Los Angeles as a representative of a BusinessSource center in Boyle Heights. 

These centers are funded by the city as a business resource said Aguirre. 

On May 16 the workshop will be headlined by federal worker Jason Lott. 

Lott is an attorney advisor for trademark at the US Patent and Trademark office. 

The workshop will focus on the basics when it comes to trademarks and will be in the G3-Foyer.

Chin said that one of the most often overlooked things when it comes to small business is that intellectual properties are super important to protect.

These four days are all about information gathering and learning when it comes to small business development. 

Aguirre said that all of the workshops will be in large rooms and he encourages teachers to bring their classrooms to a workshop if they’d like.

Ramirez said the week is designed so that business students and entrepreneurs can get a higher level of awareness when it comes to starting their own business in the emerging “GIG Economy.” 

The idea of a “GIG Economy” is an economy made up of “independent contractors” and include “knowledge intensive industries and creative occupations” according to the Harvard Business Review.

Ramirez said that the current rise in the “GIG Economy” is another reason to give the future group of entrepreneurs knowledge of what is expected of them, as well as the responsibilities and liabilities they have as independent contractors. 

And that since so many different vocations and industries are now becoming part of the “GIG Economy” its important to know that these workshops are available to students from all disciplines at ELAC.

Ramirez wanted to emphasize the main reason these workshops were being put on in the first place. 

“The main purpose for us is to make sure we make our students more aware of, number one, the opportunities that exist to start a business. The obligations and responsibilities that they have when they start a business,” said Ramirez.  

“To expand the entrepreneurial mindset and programs here at ELAC. That it’s not only the Business Department but its other departments also involved.” 

For additional information contact Alejandra Orozoc in the Business Department at OROZCOA3@elac.edu.

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