Group offering classes for business owners looking to improve, grow business


"My dad passed over 10 years ago and he left us the shop and we didn't know what to do," program participant Robert Salinas said.

Salinas runs a family-owned mechanic shop in north Houston and he credits what he calls a special program for his now thriving business

"Before the program I was lost. I knew how to fix cars but I didn't know how to run a business," he said.

It's is called the Getting Down to Business Program, a seven-month, 14-course free training that connects small business owners like Salinas with mentors who are volunteers and professionals from some major companies. It's all in an effort to help the small businesses grow.

"The program actually focuses on addressing the small business, their legal statue, their program, their credit, capital marketing insurance," said Laurie Vinaud with Capital One Bank.

Capital One Bank started the program almost six years ago through partnerships with local community development non-profits like Avenue Community Development Corporation.

"Getting Down to Business is helping to strengthen our business in the north side community as well as help them stay and strive in a changing area," said Jenifer Wagley with the non-profit.

The program has had a positive economic impact in the community.

"It's an economic engine. They are hiring employees, which is keeping our unemployment rate low. They are advancing their businesses so that we can provide more services," Vinaud said.

And for Salinas...

"It was just a big benefit for me and my business," he said.

Getting Down to Business is currently taking applications with 15 slots available.

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