It's Fall. The leaves are turning. Days are getting shorter. As for us, here at The Acceleration Project, we're falling for small! Welcome to our annual Fall for Small Business® series.
Over the next month we'll bring you stories of our amazing clients. To get started, read about about Legacy Volleyball, Pabade Bakery & Cafe, and Jade Garden Design in New York. We'll bring you stories about our consultants, too. They'll share what they love about working at TAP.
In the comments below, let us know what you love about the fall, and why you Fall for Small Business.®
By Elizabeth Bushaw
Joel Sanchez vividly remembers the day he realized the world was not a level playing field. He was 14, and wanted to join a volleyball team, but his family didn’t have the money to cover the costs. In fact, there was an eviction notice on the door of their apartment in the Bronx, NY. He looked at the notice, and vowed, in that moment, to create an organization tailored to people like him. He wanted any kid to be able to play volleyball, no matter how much money they had. The idea for Legacy Volleyball Club was born.
Located in the Bronx and incorporated in 2011, Legacy Volleyball Club is a non-profit youth empowerment organization. By providing year-round volleyball training and youth programs for ages 5-21, Legacy helps kids achieve their athletic, social, and academic goals.
In celebration of Hispanic Heritage month, we’re focusing on Legacy Volleyball, and its involvement with the Hispanic community. We're also kicking off TAP's Fall for Small Business® series, where we feature stories of TAP's remarkable clients.
“Our business’ commitment to inclusivity and accessibility truly resonates with the Hispanic community, especially considering the challenges often faced in accessing services like ours,” says Joel. “Our journey with TAP has been guided by the intention of breaking down barriers and making our services available to a broader range of people, including those from the Hispanic community.”
Joel’s collaboration with TAP was driven by a desire to learn, evolve, and transform Legacy into a more agile, efficient, and strategically oriented entity. TAP consultants Marijose Betant, Erin Keys, and Karen Saravia were able to provide Legacy with new and efficient ideas to improve work processes. They also facilitated communication with Legacy’s board of directors, creating a stronger, more focused team. Natalia Alarcon, Director of External Relations and Service Delivery, oversaw the project.
Finally, TAP helped Legacy plan for the future. According to Joel, “We work better, our teamwork is stronger, and we’re ready for whatever comes our way.”
Each member of the TAP team contributed to the overall success of the partnership. “I think this was a great project where each consultant brought a deep understanding of their subject,” says TAP consultant Karen Saravia. “As a result, the value for the client was deep and focused, and the peer learning was invaluable.”
“Legacy Volleyball is an organization that cares about the whole student-athlete,” adds Natalia. “They are committed to their social, educational, and athletic development. Joel is committed to his work and to Legacy’s success. He was a model client, always willing to learn and open to suggestions. We provided him with actionable strategies to improve Legacy as an organization while maintaining its core brand values. It was a pleasure working with someone as professional as he is.
“Our story highlights not only our commitment to making services affordable and available, but also our dedication to fostering a diverse and inclusive environment,” Joel says. “Through our actions, we aim to demonstrate that representation matters and that our business is truly a place where the Hispanic community can thrive.”
#hispanicheritagemonth #hispanicbusinessowner #smallbusiness #smallbusinessowner #fallforsmallbusiness
By Elizabeth Bushaw
Like most restaurants, Pabade Bakery & Cafe faced challenges during the COVID 19 pandemic. The Carvajal siblings — Yolfer, Dahyanna, and Donny —had launched their business as a wholesale bakery in 2016. Then in 2019, the trio opened a café on East 110th St. and Lexington in East Harlem. Then in 2020, the world shut down.
When they eventually reopened, their business felt uncertain. Sales had taken a hit, operational expenses were high, and employee recruitment was challenging. Fortunately, the Carvajal siblings had TAP on their team.
To celebrate Hispanic Heritage month, we’re highlighting Pabade’s story. Consultants Nurit Praeger, Sabrina Silva, and Amy Lai provided guidance on increasing sales as well as marketing strategies. Claudia Uribe, Chief Program Officer oversaw the project.
“TAP helped us with suggestions on how to diversify our products and provided marketing tips that eventually brought more exposure to our brand,” says Dahyanna.
Born in Venezuela and raised in Colombia, the siblings were determined to keep their commitment to using the best ingredients. They wanted their products to be fresh and represent the best of fusing French pastry techniques and Venezuelan baked goods. With TAP’s help, Pabade Bakery expanded its product line to offer lunch options and implemented delivery services to further maximize sales.
“We learned that we have to be very open to ideas that can help your business succeed,” says Dahyanna. “We need to have a ‘think-out-of-the-box’ mentality and be as creative and confident as we can when making decisions that will help us achieve our goals.”
Pabade not only survived Covid, but came back stronger than ever. They hired more employees and increased revenue and profitability. And so, the Pabade story is just one of many clients we're featuring during TAP's Fall for Small Business® series.
“The Carvajal siblings’ grit, commitment to excellence and willingness to go the extra mile to make their business succeed is contagious,” says Natalia Alarcon, TAP’s Director of External Relations and Service Delivery. “At TAP we are very proud of Pabade Bakery and Cafe’s success and celebrate their continuous growth.”
#hispanicheritagemonth #smallbusiness #food #fallforsmallbusiness
Jane Veron, CEO and Co-founder of The Acceleration Project (TAP), Appointed to the SBA Investment Capital Advisory Committee
September 6, 2023 Scarsdale, NY – Former Mayor of Scarsdale Jane Veron joins a new federal committee aimed at fostering the success of small businesses across the United States. The new Investment Capital Advisory Committee (ICAC) is now part of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the leading advocate for America's 33 million small businesses. This committee will play a crucial role in enhancing access to investment capital for small businesses and startups across the nation.
Isabella Casillas Guzman, head of the SBA, appointed Jane Veron to the 14-member ICAC. Veron is the CEO and co-founder of The Acceleration Project (TAP), a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering under-resourced small business owners and accelerating their success. TAP is creating a more equitable and inclusive economy by providing advisory services to under-resourced small business owners across the country. Since co-founding TAP in 2012, Veron has grown the organization to nearly 200 consultants who serve thousands of small business owners annually. TAP’s areas of expertise include finance, operations, strategy, marketing, and support throughout the entire capital lifecycle.
In addition to her leadership of TAP, Veron’s commitment to public service led her to serve as Mayor of Scarsdale, New York from March 2021 to March 2023. She is the President of EJA Industries, a holding company for middle market private equity investments. Previously, Veron worked in strategy and marketing at Bain & Company and American Express.
In announcing the formation of the new committee, Isabella Casillas Guzman wrote: "The launch of SBA’s inaugural Investment Capital Advisory Committee with its distinguished membership will serve as a critical resource to the Biden-Harris Administration as we strengthen our policies and programs to foster a more inclusive investment ecosystem," said Administrator Guzman. "ICAC's insights and recommendations will help the SBA expand access to investment capital, increase public awareness of SBA resources, and identify and fill capital gaps facing small businesses and the fund managers seeking to support them."
“I’m honored to serve on the ICAC and am committed to furthering the committee's goals,” Jane Veron remarked. “At TAP, we believe in the power of collaboration and innovation to drive change. I look forward to working with my fellow committee members to advance the interests of small businesses and startups across the nation."
The ICAC, composed of diverse experts with extensive backgrounds in the U.S. private investment industry, is dedicated to advancing the mission of promoting, expanding, and fortifying the ecosystem of private funds that finance U.S. small businesses and startups. By doing so, it aims to facilitate funding opportunities for entrepreneurs and small business owners in traditionally underserved communities, thereby contributing to a more inclusive and equitable economic landscape.
Contact: Rebecca Shalam, The Acceleration Project, RebeccaS@theaccelerationproject.org
About The Acceleration Project (TAP): The Acceleration Project (TAP) is a non-profit that accelerates small business growth. Our business consulting services empower under-resourced entrepreneurs in order to create a more inclusive economy. TAP leverages its network of financial institutions, CDFIs, economic development agencies and corporate partners to get to scale and ensure sustainability of our work. TAP’s innovative model channels underutilized talent into the economy by recruiting and cultivating a diverse consultant team that commits their time, expertise, and mentoring skills to advance TAP’s mission. Learn more at theaccelerationproject.org
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This blog features some of our client engagements.