On Monday, the Antioch Chamber of Commerce launched its Small Business Investment Center with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The Chamber aims to reach 100 Contra Costa County residents/entrepreneurs seeking business ownership with their three-year pilot program. The program was made possible through a community partnership between the Chamber of Commerce, CoCo Farms (funder), and Travis Credit Union.
According to Daniel H. Sohn, Chamber President, and CEO, to qualify, a business must meet three requirements which include:
- Your business you would like to start must be located within the City of Antioch or the county
- Identify as a member of a marginalized community (women, entrepreneurs of color, individuals identifying as members of the LGBTQ+ Community, and individuals who have served in the United States Military and identify as U.S. Veterans.)
- Willing to commit to a 1-year program, including 3 financial business literacy courses offered by Travis Credit Union.
CoCo Farms has provided a $25k grant for the program, while Travis Credit Union will provide financial literacy.
Andrew Wesley, CoCo Farms/ Kolaboration Ventures, stated he was happy to support both the City of Antioch and Contra Costa County.
“We started as a small business, so we know the struggles and challenges to get there,” said Wesley. “Everybody starts as a small business, so if we can help some entrepreneurs, some people with dreams and take them to the next level and remove some of the barriers that are difficult to work through, that’s an investment we are always going to be in. The city is going to benefit the entrepreneurs and Contra Costa County.”
During the press conference, Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe stated the city of Antioch would match any funding provided by CoCo Farms.
“I am proud of this partnership that you are putting together today. I did have a conversation with our economic development director. For those who may not know, the council and I forged on some business improvement funding setting aside $2 million for small business,” said Thorpe. “We committed $500k to façade improvements, another $500k to small business grants, and $1.5 million to small business resources. I want to assure you we are going to match whatever CoCo Farms gives you.”