FAME Assistance Corporation has joined forces with the Valley Economic Development Center (VEDC) and Wachovia Bank to create a program that over the next two years will invest $2 million in helping small, minority- and women-owned businesses around the state grow the capacity of their companies.

The three-pronged initiative–Build, Business Growth 100 and Connect–was launched last Thursday at the FAME conference and expo center in South Los Angeles.
Under this new program, which is funded by Charlotte, North Carolina-based Wachovia, each year 1,000 small firms which have been in business at least two years and have less than $5 million in revenue, will receive technical assistance from FAME and VEDC that includes information on marketing, human resources, access to capital, procurement and other relevant topics.
“The 1,000 businesses will choose us, as we make them aware of the program,” explained Denise Hunter about how the 1,000 entrepreneurs will be selected. Hunter is president and chief operating officer of the FAME Assistance Corporation.
To let people know about the Build, Business Growth 100 and Connect initiative, Hunter said a series of seminars will be held around the state, and from there businesses interested in participating will be given an assessment to determine what their needs are.
One thousand small firms will receive technical assistance each year, and out of that 100 will receive in depth consulting services.
“These will be the most high-performing companies that have the ability to move to the next level,” explained Hunter.
Wachovia has granted FAME $1 million to provide the technical assistance for 18 months, and the non-profit business development program, also has its own $1 million loan fund which will help those businesses that don’t meet the qualifications established by traditional bankers.
The idea is to make these firms bankable with traditional lenders.
In addition to the Build and Growth 100 aspects, the partners through the Connect portion will help entrepreneurs gain access to $5 million in loans annually. This effort consists of helping company owners prepare their loans in a way that optimizes their chances of obtain funding.
This will be done through workshops and with individual assistance. The next Loan Package 101 seminar will be held Feb. 19 at 6 p.m. at the FAME Renaissance Center. Another workshop on business basics will follow on Feb. 20 at 6 p.m. in the same location.
The courses are free funded by Wachovia, and food, course materials and promotional items will be distributed to participants. Registration is required and can be done by calling (323) 730-7700 ext. 5026.
To find out about additional workshops planned around the state call, (800) 283-0347 or (323) 730-7726, if you are in Los Angeles and ask for Chuck Bray.