This Month's Featured IMPACT Story
Sharing the stories of Saint Xavier University students, alumni, faculty/staff and friends.
Monica Gavino, Ph.D.
Creator of the Pilsen Community Small Business Owner Education Workshop Series
Small businesses are the embodiment of the American dream. Monica C. Gavino, Ph.D. has been doing her part to cultivate small business through an initiative of the Graham School of Management, which supports the University’s commitment to serve our community.
Dr. Gavino, associate professor in the Graham School of Management, developed the
Pilsen Community Small Business Owner Education Workshop Series last year to
provide training and education to Latino and minority business owners in the Pilsen community.
Dr. Gavino has her doctorate in Human Resources Management as well as over 20 years’ experience in the HR field as a human resources executive, consultant and researcher. Her areas of interest and research include small business owners and Latino entrepreneurs, diversity and inclusion in organizations, and the impact of HR practices on organizational performance.
Entrepreneurship research shows there are various factors that influence a business’s performance including the entrepreneur’s demographic, psychological, and behavioral characteristics as well as managerial and technical skills. For example, research finds minority and female owners have little pre-business ownership experience. Dr. Gavino’s own research finds that minority business owners are less likely to have access to resources or to utilize them.
Attending training workshops and seminars is one approach to further developing the skills and competencies necessary to be successful. She designed this program to provide small business owners with tools and resources they need to increase the success of their businesses and the vitality of their community.
Built in conjunction with the Greater Pilsen Economic Development Association, LISC Chicago and the Resurrection Project, and sponsored by First Midwest Bank, Best Buy, St. Aubin Haggerty and Associates, Groupon, Star Diamond and Great Lakes Financial Partners, the first workshop series was held in November 2012. Twenty nine business owners worked with program faculty to conduct needs assessments and received hands-on practice and feedback on writing a business plan. The workshop also covered other critical aspects of sustaining a business, including financing and lender options, compliance, taxes and recordkeeping, use of technology and social media, marketing and promoting their businesses and hiring and getting the most from their employees.“They helped me think about how to focus on what people are interested in at the store, what makes us special,” said Leticia Rodarte, proprietor of Reciclarte Studio in Pilsen. “The economy is bad; it might be hard to pay for a painting. But they like coming in and seeing what we have. So we’ve added bookmarks with my art, and we’re offering classes too, for people who are interested in doing hand arts. My business has done a 180-degree turn for the better.”
Many of the same small business owners returned in November 2013 for a follow-up series of workshops, again in association with the Greater Pilsen Economic Development Association and sponsored by First Midwest Bank, The Private Bank and The Resurrection Project. Because small business owners often times do not have the ability to judge the financial situations of their businesses in order to make the most effective decision for their money management, participants focused on building their financial literacy. Presenters stressed understanding credit scores and offered tips for improving them, explained what lenders look for on balance sheets, cash flow statements and income statements and provided details on managing taxes.
“We’ve gotten such amazingly positive feedback from the businesses,” Dr. Gavino said. “What’s really awesome, though, is that everyone keeps coming back...that’s how we know the workshops are working."
The Pilsen Community Small Business Owner Education Workshop Series is just one of the ways Saint Xavier University impacts the greater community and serves as a resource to help people achieve their dreams.
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