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Alliance receives grant to help rural business owners
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Over the years, the Stanislaus Economic Development and Workforce Alliance has committed itself to helping new, existing and expanding businesses throughout the county. With the help of a recent grant from Wells Fargo Bank, hundreds of business owners will soon receive the assistance they need.

During Monday’s Alliance Board of Director’s meeting, Wells Fargo bank presented a $50,000 Rural Investment for Sustainable Economies grant to the Alliance Small Business Development Center — a center providing technical assistance, one-on-one professional business consulting and training seminars to hundreds of small business owners and entrepreneurs living in rural areas of Stanislaus and Merced counties, particularly Hispanic business owners, at no cost.

“Too often, small business owners in non-metro areas go without essential counseling needed to start to grow their enterprises,” said Oscar Cabello, Wells Fargo district manager. “This funding will help The Alliance deliver these tools and resources to those who need it most. We are proud to be able to support the Alliance Small Business Development Center, and in turn help dozens of entrepreneurs reach their full potential.”

According to the Alliance, the partnership between their Small Business Development Center and Wells Fargo has expanded over recent years as both organizations strive to provide underserved communities with greater access to professional business services. With the grant provided by Wells Fargo, the Small Business Development Center will continue to deliver no-cost professional business consulting alongside a wide variety of training classes to existing and new small business owners in Stanislaus and Merced county communities with populations under 25,000.

“This Wells Fargo funding will greatly increase our efforts to assist small businesses and entrepreneurs in underserved rural communities,” said Kurtis Clark, SBDC Director. “Our professional training and consulting services greatly improve the success rate of these small businesses which often leads to them creating additional jobs in their communities.”

Without the Alliance’s program, many businesses would not have received any direct consulting assistance. Because of this, Wells Fargo says they will continue to provide the RISE grant to organizations, like the Alliance, who help provide such services.

“The Alliance SBDC has a proven track record of helping people start a business,” said Bill O’Brien, Alliance board member and Stanislaus County Board Supervisor. “By receiving the RISE Grant, [the Alliance] can continue to feed the entrepreneurial spirit in this county.”