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In This Together
Chamber offers survival school for pandemic-stricken small businesses
by Bill Sessa
Consuelo “ Connie ” Herrera has owned businesses in Sacramento ’ s Fruitridge area for decades . But despite 30 years of business experience , the veteran owner of a lounge and an indoor soccer facility couldn ’ t figure out how to untangle the bureaucratic process to get relief from government loans that had supported her pandemic-shuttered businesses since last March .
Herrera ultimately found help through a webinar and a one-on-one session with an expert who helped her organize the documentation she needed . These services were made available by the Franklin Boulevard Business District in partnership with Juntos Sacramento ( Together Sacramento ), a business assistance program run by the Sacramento Hispanic Chamber of Commerce under the umbrella of the Sacramento Inclusive Economic Development Collaborative .
The Sac IEDC was formed by the City of Sacramento in February 2018 to give small businesses in neighborhoods hardest hit by the pandemic the expertise they need to survive . Funded by federal CARES Act relief funds , the collaborative partnered with five chambers of commerce and 10 other organizations to target 20 neighborhoods outside the city core with low to moderate incomes and aging commercial corridors that have struggled through the pandemic , including Strawberry Manor and Del Paso Heights in the north , Lemon Hill to the east and Meadowview and Valley Hi to the south .
“ It ’ s unprecedented to have 15 independent organizations working together in this capacity ,” says program coordinator Tracey Schaal , who also serves as an economic development and community relations strategist . “ They are operating collectively to support the small business community in any way possible .”
With its $ 615,000 share of the CARES grant administered by the Sac IEDC , the Sacramento Hispanic Chamber of Commerce developed Juntos Sacramento , a series of educational webinars and presentations by business leaders on a wide range of topics , as well as consulting and translation services . The SACH- CC also partnered with SMUD , the Latino Economic Council of Sacramento and the Franklin Boulevard Business District to recruit businesses in Del Paso Heights , Northgate , Gardenland and along Franklin Boulevard to participate in the program .
“ We all have different expertise , but we ’ re all working toward the same goal of serving the underserved businesses in the community ,” says Natalia Chavez , SACHCC ’ s economic development manager overseeing Juntos Sacramento .
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