Immigrant Entrepreneurship: CVIIC Celebrates Joining the Build from Within Alliance
CVIIC celebrates joining the Build from Within Alliance (BfWA) in order to strengthen its capacity to promote immigrant entrepreneurship in California’s Central Valley and to establish new collaborative relations with other BfWA member organizations.
CVIIC (Central Valley Immigrant Integration Collaborative) is a Fresno, California-based nonprofit organizations serving immigrant families in eight Central Valley counties (Kern, Kings, Tulare, Fresno, Madera, Merced, Stanislaus, San Joaquin). It was established in 2014. Its work is based on a model of regional coordination and collaboration that has involved community-based organizations, nonprofit agencies, public and private sector entities. In 2020 CVIIC began a pilot immigrant entrepreneurship program targeting Latino immigrants in an effort to help them address the challenges brought about by the pandemic and the accompanying economic crisis. The pilot project was developed in collaboration with local partner agencies, including adult education and vocational institutions, as well as immigrant serving agencies
CVIIC’s successful immigrant entrepreneurship program is now in its second year. Its evolution involves the creation of new resources and learning opportunities that can be offered to program participants, as well as the establishment of additional collaborative relations with other key institutions, such as the BfWA and Santa Clara University’s MOBI program.
The Build from Within Alliance is a coalition of 15 community development groups located throughout the nation, from Delaware to Alaska and now California. Members adopt and adapt an effective and comprehensive approach to entrepreneurship and economic development in low-income neighborhoods. This approach integrates business planning training, high risk lending, one-on-one technical assistance and incubator/real estate resources.
CVIIC’s membership in BfWA is designed to achieve key objectives, including the following:
• Improve CVIIC’s organizational capacity to address immigrant entrepreneurship
• Expand the range of services that can be offered to Central Valley immigrant families
• Learn from the best practices of other BfWA members
• Explore opportunities to create neighborhood-specific entrepreneurial projects
• Share the knowledge and relevant resources with Central Valley partner organizations
Jesus Martinez, CVIIC Executive Director, explains the significance of joining the BfWA:
“CVIIC’s participation in the Build from Within Alliance will help us make a qualitative leap in our organization’s capacity to serve Central Valley immigrants. The BfWA entrepreneurship model, the resources made available to member organizations, and the decades of experience will be of great benefit to us and to the families and communities in this region of California.”
Mihailo Temali, CEO of Build from Within Alliance states the following about CVIIC’s involvement with BfWA:
“The Build from Within Alliance is honored to welcome its 15th member, Central Valley Immigrant Integration Collaborative, into our national network of community economic developers. CVIIC will add their deep and rich experience to the Alliance members and learn from each of their experiences. These members are based in low-income communities of color across the country, supporting their local start up and aspiring entrepreneurs with business plan training, character-based lending, customized business assistance and on-going support to open and grow in affordable commercial spaces. On behalf of our members from Miami to Anchorage, Philadelphia to Denver and Detroit to New Orleans, we welcome CVIIC and look forward to sharing and learning together how best to ‘build community economies from within’. ¡Bienvenido!”
Clarissa Vivian Petrucci, CVIIC Special Projects Coordinator and leader of the organization’s entrepreneurship program, highlights the value of the relationship with BfWA:
“We are very excited to start this collaboration with the Build from Within Alliance, an organization that, for more than 30 years, has trained and empowered entrepreneurs to generate a positive impact in their neighborhoods. This is a great opportunity for us to absorb all that experience and knowledge to implement the four fundamental pillars of BFWA in the Central Valley of California. Thanks to this partnership, CVIIC will have more tools to empower immigrants and contribute to the revitalization of rural areas of our region.”
CVIIC’s Immigrant Entrepreneurship program works with Central Valley partner organizations, including Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation and Valley Small Business Development Center, to offer entrepreneurial trainings to Latino immigrants. A cohort of entrepreneurs was recruited for Fall and Winter sessions. A new cohort of participants will be recruited for Spring and Summer 2022 classes. In a parallel manner, 8 industry specific mini courses are being prepared and offered in Spanish to the population at large. CVIIC is also participating with Immigrants Rising in helping immigrants apply for the SEED Program grants, and collaborates with the California State University, Fresno Office of Community & Economic Development to promote entrepreneurial opportunities among residents in Central Valley rural communities.