VEDC, a community development financial institution and small business resource in the Greater Los Angeles region, in partnership with Travelers, recently celebrated Women’s History Month with its 2nd Annual Women’s Business Conference, in Van Nuys, California. Nearly 200 local women entrepreneurs and business partners participated in a day of education and motivation that included women’s leadership & recognition awards, business risk management training, a women’s empowerment panel, a fast-pitch competition and a networking brunch.
As part of the program, Travelers Field Director Shala Tavakoli presented a $500,000 grant to VEDC President Alex Guerrero and Board Member Pegi Matsuda, making this VEDC’s third year as the national operator of the Travelers Small Business Risk Education (SBRE) program. The program offers participants insurance and risk management workshops, as well as an opportunity to consult with a Travelers Risk Control professional to develop a business continuity plan. Participants can also apply for a microloan through VEDC or other market partners after they complete the program.
“VEDC is proud to be a resource for education and empowerment,” said Alex Guerrero, President at VEDC. “We’re excited to again partner with Travelers to present the SBRE program around the country. The Women’s History Month Celebration and Business Conference was a great way to kick off the 2019 SBRE national program series, which now heads to St. Paul, Atlanta, Chicago and New York.”
“Travelers is committed to supporting entrepreneurs through a variety of initiatives, including our Small Business Risk Education program,” said Tara Spain, Second Vice President, Community Relations and Vice President, Travelers Foundation. “We’re proud to work closely with VEDC to offer this program and provide small businesses with resources that can help them thrive.”
“I was honored to be part of VEDC’s Women’s History Month Celebration and Business Conference,” said San Fernando Vice Mayor Sylvia Ballin. “Our small businesses are important and vital to our community. I was a business owner for many years, along with my husband, and I understand the struggles and the importance of the business empowerment program that VEDC presented today.”
VEDC is a leading economic development nonprofit and a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). Through a combination of education and financing VEDC has been changing the way small business lending is done by making it more available and impactful over its 40 year history. VEDC has lent $400 million in direct and guaranteed loans to over 108,000 small businesses to create and retain more than 200,600 new jobs. VEDC’s mission is to create and sustain jobs and businesses in our communities by providing high-quality small business development services. The organization provides empowerment, education, loans and micro-financing options to small businesses, particularly those owned by women and minorities, that don’t qualify for traditional financing.
About the Travelers Small Business Risk Education Program
The Small Business Risk Education program provides small business entrepreneurs with the broad understanding of safety risk management that can help them sustain and grow their businesses. The program is geared particularly for women-, minority- and veteran-owned small businesses and includes:
- Insurance and Risk Management Workshops run by Travelers Risk Control consultants who teach basic safety risk management concepts.
- One-on-One Consultations with Travelers Risk Control professionals who help participants develop business continuity and safety risk management plans for their businesses.
- Microloans that participants can apply for to help them implement the risk management plans they’ve completed. These loans are funded and administered by our nonprofit partners.