Travelers is now offering a Small Business Risk Education (SBRE) program to promote insurance and risk literacy to female and minority entrepreneurs. One participant has already described the offering as “game changing” for her retail store.
“The SBRE program taught me about risks I had never even considered,” said Jacqueline Sharp, whose L.A.-based business, Fort, makes furniture from recycled and reclaimed materials.
She continued, “Through training with a Travelers safety professional, I developed a clear sense of potential issues that could impact my ability to staff, grow and manage my company. I now have a risk management plan to prepare from unexpected interruptions and can focus my time on building my business.”
SBRE is a joint venture between Travelers and the Valley Economic Development Center (VEDC), the largest non-profit business development corporation in the Los Angeles Area.
So far, the $150,000 Travelers grant has allowed SBRE to train participants (77 percent of whom are women and 70 percent of whom are minorities) about the safety risks associated with small business ownership, risk management and business continuity planning, and offered microloans to support capital investments related to risk management, sustainability and growth.
Said Roberto Barragan, president and CEO of VEDC, “Our mission is to create and sustain jobs in our communities, so the SBRE program is a natural fit for us. By leveraging Traveler’s risk control expertise and providing the necessary access to capital, we’ve been able to provide some of our region’s job creators and innovators with tools that will contribute to a stronger local economy and a better quality of life.”
SBRE was launched in Los Angeles in early 2012, and Travelers plans to extend the program into Chicago in 2013.
Some of the VEDC’s projects besides SBRE are the SBA Women’s Business Center, the San Fernando Valley Financial Development Corporation, the Los Angeles Business Source Center and the Pacoima Development Federal Credit Union.