CAAAB update to community partners

Dear Community Partners:

I hope you all are having a great start of the New Year. I wanted to provide you with CAAAB’ s update for this year. As you all may know, we hosted a breakfast on January 20 to introduce our Small Business Capacity Building program to prospective funders and other community partners.

Specifically targeted to small and disadvantaged minority-owned businesses, the Small Business Capacity Building program provides them with specialized expertise and targeted consulting and training to hone and sustain their businesses.  The long- term goal of the program is to expand the market share of this business group and spur economic growth.

The breakfast was sponsored by Bank of America and the Incarnate Word Program. It was a successful event with near full attendance. We have been receiving very positive feedback from the attendees. Some have invited us to sit down personally with them and discuss the next steps and how they can support. Our goal is to reach out to all prospective funders by end of February and begin raising the funds to start the program.  The press release of the January 20 breakfast is scheduled to be out very soon.

The recruiting process for the Small business Capacity building program has begun. We have sent out letters to prospective businesses requesting them for information on their business operations. This information will help us determine their eligibility and interest.

Other Updates:

Partnership with Justine Petersen:

  • Conversations have begun with JP to contract with CAAAB to provide their borrowers business technical assistance through our Capacity Building program.
  • JP and CAAAB are continuing their partnership in raising funds to increase JP’s lending capacity while CAAAB provides the business capacity building component to minimize defaults.

Parents as Entrepreneurs Program (Micro Loan):

CAAAB is about to complete one year of the Parents as Entrepreneurs Program. The program was operated in three phases: Phase 1 included eight weeks of entrepreneurship and business start-up growth training. A total of five participants participated in this phase. In Phase 2 participants received one-on-one consulting to develop a formal business plan and plan its execution. Only two participants have completed this phase. As part of Phase 3, we started a small micro loan program with the support of the Incarnate Word Foundation to financially assist our participants to expedite the implementation process of their business plan.

We have one loan recipient so far. The borrower used that loan to purchase a truck that is now being used to operate their barbecue business more efficiently. The borrowers, with the help of rigorous technical assistance/consulting from CAAAB, have been paying their loan timely. Recently, the borrowers received additional loan from Justine Petersen, with recommendation from CAAAB, to upgrade that truck and purchase cooking equipments to enhance their business. CAAAB has also been providing the borrowers in-house computer training to develop technological skills to enhance their communication skills with prospective customers, vendors, banks, and to help them with efficient and accurate bookkeeping.

Technical Assistance in Alton, Illinois:

CAAAB has been working with the Godfrey Human Development Resource Center (GHDRC), Black Business Development Association (BBDA), and ATCOM, a business incubator to develop a CAAAB like model in Alton, Illinois for social and economic development purposes. CAAAB’s role will be to provide these organizations with Technical Assistance/Consultations to develop and implement the model.

As a team, we have been meeting with various players in Alton including political leaders. The group has received very positive feedbacks so far from the community. Currently, we are in the process of raising funds to conduct a feasibility study to understand the entrepreneurship interests and skill sets among our target population, business types, business needs, etc to effectively plan the implementation process. Senator William R. Haine has approved the model and the feasibility study and has now directed the group to the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunities for fund opportunities.

Practicum and Internship Opportunities at CAAAB:

CAAAB is now officially a practicum/internship site for the Social Work students specializing in social and economic development/community development from all of the area educational institutions. The participating institutions are WashU, SLU, UMSTL, and Fontbonne University. Starting last week, we have an intern from the Brown School of Social Work, WashU doing her practicum with us. Her name is Emma and she will be with us until the end of summer. She will be primarily focusing on growing our Parents as Entrepreneurs program and the Micro Loan program associated with it. She will also be assisting with our technical assistance work in Alton, Illinois.

We are very excited about the progress we are making at CAAAB and look forward to a successful year.

Please call me at 314-369-8667 or email if you have any questions or suggestions regarding the above updates.

I look forward to meeting you all soon.

Yours sincerely,

Neelu Panth

Director, Research and Social and Economic Development

CAAAB

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