Where to get business counseling?
I had chance to talk to Colleen Seto - the Program Manager of the Asian Pacific Islander Small Business Program (API SPB) after her Train-the-Trainer Web Class at the DISKovery Center. Collen gave me an impression of an energetic development worker: not too formal, listening , quick in picking ideas, and enthusiastic when talking about her work. Her program provides basic entrepreneurial skills and knowledge that small business owners want to know when they start up and maintain their businesses. How to launch a small business? How to file tax? What are the regulations required by the health department? etc. These are just a few among the topics they cover in their training and workshops. Besides the formal courses, clients can contact Business Counselors to have one-to-one business counseling. What I find their services special and truly community-oriented is these services are provided FREE, or next to free, and in clients' languages. Regarding the cost, exception is made for some trainings for which clients are required to pay a small amount to cover course materials. But for low income clients, all of the services are completely FREE of charge. What's more, they provide training and counseling services in five Los Angeles community languages: Japanese, Korean, Thai, Chinese and Tagalog, besides English.
As many of Colleen's clients want to publicize their businesses through websites, Colleen takes courses offered by the DISKovery Center "to get an overview [of web use], to aware of what can be provided to my clients, what questions can be come up", she says. "Clients might approach us and say "I am not a computer savvy, but I want to have a web page of my own restaurant, with the menus, pictures, etc. posted". So we can help". "I want to learn PowerPoint skills and web-page building", Colleen says as I ask her what else she wants to learn from the DISKovery Center.
Good luck with your work, Colleen!