The Community Navigator Program

Community Navigator Program

The City of Austin Economic Development Department's Community Navigator Program is a targeted outreach initiative offering support to small businesses, nonprofits, and creative individuals impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic. 

A Community Navigator refers to an organization that has specialized knowledge and can assist small business owners with connecting to a web of support, resources, and information. These connections allow small business owners to grow and thrive. 

The Community Navigator Partners offer one-on-one business coaching, business classes, and application assistance for grants and resources. Some of these Resource partners include BCL of Texas, Mission Capital, EGBI, and On the Money Finance, LLC. Visit the  City of Austin website for a complete list of partners and their offerings.

Resource Partners

Business and Community Lenders (BCL) of Texas - Austin

Business and Community Lenders (BCL) of Texas is a statewide nonprofit committed to creating economic opportunities through job creation and asset-building to help forge strong communities across Texas. BCL is dedicated to assisting clients in accessing the capital, information, and resources they need to achieve their financial goals assisting businesses to grow into strong and stable enterprises that add to the local economy through small business coaching, classes, and lending programs.

Emphasizing diversity, equity, and inclusion, BCL serves communities of color, women, veterans, rural communities, and low and moderate-income individuals, families, and small business owners. Having worked with small businesses since 1990, the BCL staff is excited to build on their work of serving underutilized communities by providing trusted guidance and expertise through the Community Navigator Program. 

BCL service offerings begin with a one-on-one meeting with an expert small business coach to review business strategy, marketing, financing, and business planning through the Community Navigator Program. BCL coaches will talk through any challenges your business is currently facing and provide an actionable plan of next steps. Coaches offer support and ask hard questions to help you think through potential obstacles and identify opportunities. Clients can receive up to 5 hours of no-cost coaching using BCL service through the Community Navigator Program.

Economic Growth Business Incubator (EGBI) 

Economic Growth Business Incubator (EGBI) is a nonprofit organization that equips emerging and existing businesses led by underrepresented individuals in the greater Austin area with the tools to establish and grow their businesses through education and consulting.

EGBI has a unique approach to the business incubation process offering all-inclusive training to individuals at any stage of their business plan, utilizing innovative, high-tech, and bilingual approaches to business --and all of this is done by a small but mighty team of six. This, combined with the organization's vision and mission, EBGI focuses on creating and nurturing enterprises as they become vital assets to the community through job creation and local economic impact. 

The Community Navigator Program is designed to reduce the barriers that underrepresented and underserved entrepreneurs face and aligns with the central focus of EBGI's mission; to provide training, coaching, and support to aspiring and existing business owners who face barriers to growing a successful business.

Through the Community Navigator Program, EGBI offers services that cater to individual needs. From one-on-one coaching sessions to help you build a personalized business plan to hybrid workshops that provide toolsets to grow and manage your business. The workshop series includes an eight-week Build Your Business Plan where experts assist you in developing your strategy for your business, and a six-week Manage Your Busines series that helps you set up the foundations of your business. 

Mission Capital 

For over 20 years, Mission Capital has been serving nonprofits and other mission-driven leaders and organizations with a vision centered on race equity where all have access to opportunity and can thrive. 

With a mission to equip and connect leaders, organizations, and networks serving the Central Texas social sector, Mission Capital aims to be champions of the individuals who make up the nonprofit sector, thought partners and allies to nonprofit organizations, and resilient change-makers within the ecosystem. 

Mission Capital sparks progress from within individuals, cultivates community, fosters organizational resiliency, and maximizes opportunity and impact across the nonprofit sector through collaboration, leadership development, nonprofit board development, customized staff trainings, strategic consulting, and pushing the boundaries of the nonprofit sector's culture. Through these, they aim to achieve three goals: close the racial leadership gap in the social sector, increase organizational resilience & sustainability, and expand & strengthen the capacity of collaborative networks.

Working with the city of Austin's Community Navigator Program, Mission Capital's offerings range from the personal to the collective. Their services include providing individuals with knowledge, skills, and connections through sessions that range from a single 1-hour strategy or coaching session to 6-week peer leadership cohorts. Mission Capital helps teams develop organizational resiliency (including team management, strategic planning, and executive leadership transitions) in offerings that range from a single 3-hour session to a customized consulting project and collaborate with key community stakeholders to create transformative change by providing backbone support through the Good Measure and Child Welfare initiatives.

On the Money Finance, LLC

On the Money Finance, LLC offers finance and accounting consulting for small to mid-size businesses and individuals. With a business philosophy centered around financial growth, On the Money Finance aims to help clients be successful by making knowledge and data-backed decisions to maximize efficiency and reporting.

During the height of the COVID-19 Pandemic, On the Money Finance advised clients seeking financial relief and loan forgiveness through the Small Business Association's programs and assisted business owners with financial planning, budgeting, analysis, and tax coordination. 

Today, through the Community Navigator Program, On the Money Finance provides similar services for small to mid-size companies and business owners. Additional offerings range from business education and financial consulting to event budgeting and production business operations. Initial services begin with a one-on-one meeting to discuss your business goals and options. The number of coaching sessions will vary depending on individual clients' needs to fulfill their goals. 

Health Alliance for Austin Musicians (HAAM)

Health Alliance for Austin Musicians (HAAM) provides access to affordable healthcare for greater Austin's low-income, working musicians, with a focus on prevention and wellness. 

Many Austin musicians are self-employed and have no access to health insurance or basic healthcare. They often work multiple jobs and struggle to pay for basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter, with nothing left for healthcare. That's where HAAM comes in. By resolving challenges such as long-neglected dental work to hearing loss, heart problems and depression, HAAM and partnered healthcare providers like Seton Healthcare Family, St. David's Foundation, and many more, improve and save musicians' lives, enhancing Austin's economy and quality of life. Austin is the "Live Music Capital of the World," and HAAM aims to keep it that way.

Through the Community Navigator Program HAAM offers Healthcare enrollment services via their Open Enrollment Program. Services include routine dental work, doctor visits and prescriptions, psychiatric counseling sessions, eye exams, outpatient procedures, specialist referrals, hearing screenings, basic needs assistance, and more. Requesting services via HAAM's Open Enrollment is quite easy, and will be virtual this year. HAAM Open Enrollment is a one-stop shop for musicians to apply for or renew HAAM membership and get ACA Marketplace insurance for 2023. Enrolling or renewing during Open Enrollment (Nov 1 - Dec 15) ensures that you can:

    • Enroll in health insurance coverage through the ACA Marketplace (a.k.a. or “Obamacare”)
    • Get help paying for your Marketplace insurance premiums each month through HAAM’s Premium Assistance Program, if you are eligible and funds are available.
    • Access HAAM’s Dental, Hearing, Vision, and Wellness programs in 2023

HAAM members must renew their membership each year to have continued access to HAAM programs, even those with health coverage through an employer, spouse, or parent or who are enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid, or are receiving VA benefits. Learn more here. 

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