Because most small business development centers are housed at colleges, you are more likely to find their consultants walking across a quad than into a bank branch. But that's not the case for the Inland Empire Small Business Development Center (IESBDC). Once a week you will find Al Gohary, general business consultant with IESBDC, at the Moreno Valley branch of the California Bank & Trust. This partnership between IESBDC and CB&T has been in existence for about seven years and has helped business owners to develop complete business packages and ease the loan process.
"Someone starting a business gets frustrated of going through the process," says Anthony Fabelo, vice president and manager of the Moreno Valley CB&T branch. "Al covers everything so when they start the business there are no surprises."
IESBDC, based in Riverside, is the largest Small Business Development Center in California. The center provides no cost counseling services and low cost workshops and training programs throughout Riverside and San Bernardino counties and operates satellite offices in Victorville and Palm Springs.
The partnership with CB&T is only one example of how the IESBDC goes above and beyond for clients. Gohary says the IESBDC gets good clients but they have unique challenges. "If they went to anyone else they would have the door shut on them, but we think outside the box."
A client went to the CB&T seeking help in refinancing her building lease for her restaurant. She wasn't able to get an equity line of credit when she was advised to see Gohary. Because the initial funding for the building was seller financing Gohary suggested she go to the seller and negotiate on the contract. Gohary went with her to the seller and helped to refinance the initial deal as well as modify the payments. Thanks to the work of Gohary with the client the restaurant is still in business and very active in the local chamber of commerce.
For their efforts, the U.S. Small Business Administration named the IESBDC the recipient of the California Small Business Development Center of Excellence Award in 2010.