CONTACT: Rosana Galaviz
SAN ANTONIO (March 12, 2021) – Councilwoman Dr. Adriana Rocha Garcia partnered with Southside First Economic Development Council to assemble the first District 4 Small Business Committee made up of residents and small business owners in the area interested in advocating for more resources and opportunities for small business owners. Recognizing that 97% of businesses in the City are classified as small businesses, Councilwoman Dr. Rocha Garcia initiated a series of steps to amplify the voice of small business owners and employees as part of the local policy-making process.
Community outreach to small business owners began last summer with the Personal Protective Equipment distribution event at Trader’s Village and continued throughout the fall and early this year. Southside First has played an integral part in doing direct outreach in communities like the Quintana Community near Port San Antonio in District 4 to create a Community and Business Survey in 2019. The data gathered and the growing interest of small business owners in forming part of this new committee demonstrate a willingness to discuss current and proposed policies affecting businesses in the City.
“Small business owners and employees deserve a dedicated space where they can freely share their ideas and offer feedback about the local policies that affect them,” commented Councilwoman Rocha Garcia, “The District 4 Small Business Committee is one of several targeted committees I plan to launch so that residents feel like they are part of the discussions before policies are proposed and adopted. Their views and opinions should not be an afterthought in our decision-making process.”
Judith Canales, the Executive Director of Southside First, was the moderator at the first meeting and shared highlights of the work conducted by the organization. Attendees included representatives of insurance agencies, restaurants, construction companies, real estate, home services, barber and beauty shops.
In addition to forming the District 4 Small Business Committee, Councilwoman Dr. Adriana Rocha Garcia filed a City Council Consideration Request (CCR) on October 3, 2019 recommending the creation of a Small Business Advisory commission so that small business owners could provide direct feedback regarding proposed policies that may impact small businesses differently that other sectors of the business community. After months of thorough review and discussion, City Council adopted the formation of the Small Business Advisory Commission and renaming the Small Business Advocacy Committee to the Small Business Economic Development Advocacy (SBEDA) Committee on February 18, 2021.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic may have posed new challenges, there have been a series of opportunities to provide resources and support to small business owners including micro-business grants and hospitality grants as part of the City’s Recovery and Resiliency Plan.
The District 4 Small Business Committee will meet quarterly and include a rotating list of moderators and presenters who will lead discussions about a range of topics, programs and resources for small business owners and employees.