The Community and Economic Development Unit serves as a resource and assistance center for limited resource families and individuals in pursuit of increasing their standard of living through entrepreneurship, community program participation, home ownership, and government assistance programs. Primarily the Community & Economic Development (CED) staff offers professional consultation and technical assistance for entrepreneurs and community organizations looking to start or expand their operations. CED staff provides insight on the local business climate and feasibility of the proposed business idea or expansion and provide local government and community analysis of critical economic development issues. In addition, our CED staff provides small scale agricultural producers technical assistance and small business counseling that support profitable and sustainable business operations. Our staff provides group training that includes farm planning, farm income, alternative crops, niche markets, product quality, product distribution, farm policies, global markets, debt management, accounting, business management and financial forecasting for small farmers.
- Businesses In Development (B.I.D.) Certification Program
- Teaching Agriculture Sustainability Through Economics (T.A.S.T.E.) Program
- Big Boom Business Planning Institute
- Individual Development Account (IDA) Federal Match Program
- Disaster Preparedness
- Federal Home Loans and Repair Program
The Mission and focus of the-Businesses In Development (B.I.D.) Certification Program is to increase ag-related underserved Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) and Disadvantaged Business Entity (DBE) participation in contract opportunities among State agencies. To meet this mission the Community and Economic Development Unit has developed a pilot program of 12 consecutive course curriculum that address the needs of small businesses and the vendors of which they serve. Through the B.I.D. Certification program, Minority businesses gain a foundation for good business practice and are training in Customer Service, Contracts, bids/ negotiations, getting suppliers, Financing/credit lines, Marketing, Business planning, Accounting, Managing Employees, Pricing Strategies, and Best practices for working with State agencies. Trainings are implemented in or near rural and limited resource populated areas throughout Texas and live via the World Wide Web.
Jimmy Henry – Program Leader for Community & Economic Development
Chris Cotton – Program Specialist, Housing and Asset Development
Vacant – Program Specialist, Small Business Development and Marketing
Lloyd Hebert – Jefferson County
Winnefred Jackson – Liberty County
Orlando Flores – El Paso County
Rolondo Zamora – Willacy County
Mario Morales – Zavala County
Making an Impact
The Community and Economic Development (CED) Unit has continued to make an impact in the community by providing group and individualized training in small business development, housing, community resources, and Agri-business. In 2012 the CED unit expanded its area into Housing and Community Resources to educate and encourage asset building through homeownership and participation in State and Federal programs. The unit has also expanded its training into community gardens by way of the Teaching Agricultural Sustainability Through Economics (T.A.S.T.E) project. Some of the notable accomplishments include approximately 71 workshops conducted, $8.1 million dollars in loan package assistance, 3,194 in community gardening volunteer hours, and over ¼ million in client mortgage refinance savings. Finally, program participants indicated a potential for 2,420 jobs to be created directly and indirectly as a result of program involvement and consultations.
Community Partners and Collaborators
- USDA Rural Development
- USDA Farm Services Agency
- PVAMU Small Business Development Center (SBDC)
- ACCION TEXAS
- Langtree Duckfarm and Eco Center
- Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts-Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) Program
- Morehead Connections
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