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Your Small Business Fairy Godmother: Pacific Coast Regional Small Business Development Corporation

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At Grandpoint Bank, we’re proud to have many interesting people on our team, and interesting people like to get involved with interesting organizations. David Ross’ chairmanship of Pacific Coast Regional Small Business Development Center (PCR) is a great example.

David is executive vice president and chief credit officer of the Bank. In that role, he’s provided services to many Southern California businesses, which was part of the appeal for him with PCR.

“It’s important that people get the assistance they need to know how to run a business and everything that goes with it,” said David. Remarkably, the lion’s share of that assistance is available for free from PCR.

Knowing PCR’s good work was “worthy of support,” David first joined the board in 2012. During his tenure, the board and staff have reflected the same diversity of the predominantly minority business owners served by the organization, including women.

“Our board is a mixture of many backgrounds, which provides important perspectives,” said David.

Business owners, whether new to the game or serial entrepreneurs, can access training and consulting sessions focused on QuickBooks, social media, web design, business plan development, record keeping, legal matters and more.

PCR can also assist with business loans. If a business doesn’t qualify outright for a loan with its bank, that bank can obtain a government guarantee on that loan from PCR. PCR can also direct business owners to banks where they have working relationships, like Grandpoint Bank, if the owner is seeking a loan, with or without the government guaranteed loan assistance. PCR only loans directly through the Small Business Administration (SBA) loan program. More information about the loan assistance services provided by PCR can be found on its website.

Many small business assistance centers handle California guaranteed loan programs, but PCR is one of the few that has expanded its offerings to serve local business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs in the multiple ways they need support the most. For 40 years, PCR has been a tremendous resource for people throughout Southern California, and even statewide.

One remarkable business assistance program that PCR pioneered is the Business Interruption Fund. As most Los Angelenos know, LA Metro has been building an extensive light rail system. During the red line construction, many businesses were adversely impacted and lost significant revenue.

Subsequently, Metro put several million dollars into its budget to fund grants and selected PCR to manage the grant process. Small businesses demonstrating disruption impact are eligible for a grant to cover lost funds.

The Business Interruption Fund has become a model for the state and nation. The program’s manager was hosted by LA Metro at the national transportation conference in Detroit, and PCR was contacted by Israel, whose leaders are looking to start a similar program. PCR also sends people out through disruption areas to let business owners know about the fund and the educational programs offered through PCR.

We salute PCR’s and David’s work to reinvest in our communities and in people who are bringing their entrepreneurial dreams to life.

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Pacific Coast Regional – Help for Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs

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If you haven’t heard of Pacific Coast Regional Small Business Development Corporation (PCR), today may be your lucky day. The organization’s dedicated staff, led by CEO Mark Robertson, want to help you and your business. They do this primarily by offering classes for small business owners and entrepreneurs and by helping small businesses get the loans they need to accomplish their goals.

PCR, located in the Koreatown neighborhood of downtown Los Angeles, offers each of their small business development center (SBDC) classes every one to two months throughout the year. Want expert instruction about business development or management? Legal or financing issues? Marketing? Accounting? Quickbooks? Check out the PCR website↗ to see the latest training schedule for these classes and more. The sessions are very reasonably priced and are taught by experts.

Perhaps you want a one-on-one consultation with an expert about your business plan or your social media strategy? Believe it or not, PCR offers business consulting services for free. All you need to do is set up an appointment, which you can do online.↗

PCR is also an invaluable resource if you’re thinking of applying for a business loan. If you can’t quite meet all of your bank’s lending requirements, PCR will work with one of its network banks, including Grandpoint Bank, to co-sign with the borrower. This is possible by virtue of the California Small Business Loan Guarantee program↗ (SPLGP)

As one of nine state certified Financial Development Corporations, and a U.S. Treasury-certified community development financial institution (CDFI), PCR can provide up to an 80% loan guarantee (or a maximum of $2.5 million) to the bank to help you get the loan you need.  Any small business has the chance to qualify as long as it meets the standard SBA definition of a small business. “PCR not only facilitates loans, but sometimes a loan will be contingent on the business owner taking classes offered at PCR,” said David Ross, PCR chairman and Executive Vice President and Chief Credit Officer at Grandpoint Bank. “While the loan may provide the boost, the classes provide instruction for long-term success.”

In addition to its federal CDFI designation, PCR is one of less than 100 State of California-certified CDFIs and the only SBDC in Los Angeles County with internal lending capacity.

As such, and thanks to a generous $500,000 grant made by Comerica Bank in 2006, PCR can make micro-loans valued at $25,000 or less on its own.

PCR can also access a revolving loan fund of $3 million from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration, which allows Mark and his team to provide loans of up to $650,000 to qualified applicants.

“We hope our customers will graduate into a regular banking relationship, but the services and small loans we can provide in the interim help them to do that,” said Mark. Truly a one-stop-shop for Los Angeles County small businesses, PCR’s newest program helps businesses located along transportation corridors experiencing construction disruptions. While the public transportation upgrades driving the construction will eventually be a boon to these area businesses, Los Angeles County Metro realized that small businesses in particular may suffer during construction, so they teamed up with PCR to find a solution.

As a result, Metro’s Business Interruption Fund↗ is a $10 million grant fund that can provide grants up to $50,000 for revenue lost due to construction. During the 10 months the program has been operational so far, 104 grants were made for just under $2 million total.  In addition, PCR reports that they’ve received calls from several other transit and utility authorities from around the state and beyond contemplating similar programs and seeking advice.

With so many valuable programs, Mark estimates that PCR helps approximately 1,300 small businesses each year. As you might expect, he’s gotten a good sense of what it takes to succeed in business.

“Having expertise in the field you’re pursuing and gathering the right team of necessary experts, is the most essential component,” he said. “Also important is a desire to work extremely hard, a willingness to sacrifice and adequate capitalization.”

If you’ve already found success in business but want to help others do the same, PCR offers two ways to volunteer. Bankers and financiers are always needed to participate on PCR’s loan committee to help review and approve transactions. Or, you may be able to serve on the advisory board to provide advice and support for PCR’s small business development center.

The Small Business Administration funds part of the small business development center, and additional funds come through class fees and corporate sponsorships.

“We’ve been a sponsor of PCR since Grandpoint Bank was founded,” said David. “I’ve also served on the PCR board of directors since 2011 and on one of their loan committees before that. I find it very fulfilling working with this organization and seeing the companies they helped launch that are still going strong.”

In fact, David is fortunate to have a great frozen dessert shop in his neighborhood that received a loan and coaching from PCR 15 years ago. It’s still operated by the same owner, and like so many other PCR clients, that owner is creating jobs and contributing to the Southern California economy.

We’re proud to be affiliated with PCR, and we encourage you to take advantage of their programs and share this information with others.

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