FRESNO, California (KGPE) — For more than 15 years, a local foundation has given small businesses the opportunity to flourish in the Central Valley. Although the pandemic has affected many local businesses, the Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation continues to help those entrepreneurs in need.
“We had a vision we had a dream for small businesses,” said Dora Westerlund, CEO of the Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation.
Since 2004 the Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation has been a one-stop-shop for many small Central Valley business owners.
“We’ve had workshops, webinars via zoom that people are able to access like for example legal how you can make a contract how to get all your documents in place we help them with that business right now in need we help them to access not just grants but other resources,” Westerlund said.
Westerlund said she decided to kick start this infrastructure when she realized the need for many underserved local business owners.
“They are mom and pop businesses wanting to grow and to be successful but the most important part that I see is that this mom and dad want to give better opportunities for their sons and daughters,” Westerlund said.
Although this year the pandemic has caused a major economic impact around the world, Westerlund said they’ve created ways to continue assisting local entrepreneurs.
“Since we went to shelter in place there’s a need for small businesses to access online platforms so we have been essential for small businesses to help them navigate the process because a lot of people don’t understand so we help them out,” Westerlund, said.
Westerlund said that regardless of the uncertainty many face, the Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation is there to help at no cost.
“There’s a lot of small businesses struggling out there and there’s no light they can see at the end of the tunnel so when you call someone there might be an opportunity that you are not seeing and that’s what we’re here for to let you know there’s light at the end of the tunnel,” Westerlund said.