EDASC's new bilingual business advisor offers help for small businesses

Friday, August 12, 2022

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With the arrival of Jorge Estefan to the EDASC team as its bilingual business advisor, Skagit County’s smallest businesses have a new resource to help with growth.

EDASC's Bilingual Business Advisory Program supports opportunities for small business owners in Skagit County with a particular focus on those experiencing barriers to success because of gender, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation or identity, ability, geographic remoteness, previous incarceration, or other issues. The program develops new avenues for success for entrepreneurs by providing individualized business counseling and technical assistance, assisting entrepreneurs in developing business strategies, identifying resources, and creating classes or workshops in Spanish or English as needed.

Estefan takes on these tasks with his trademark energy and optimism. Many solopreneurs and small business owners just need someone to see their potential, someone to encourage them, he said, especially if they aren’t native English speakers.

He knows this well as he is originally from Mexico City and moved to the United States 12 years ago.

“Your confidence really gets beat up when you come to a new country,” he said, which is why he knows it’s so important to have the encouragement of someone who has shared the experience.

Estefan has a background in retail and marketing, and most recently worked as a real estate broker before joining EDASC. Those experiences, especially working for himself in real estate, gave him a ground-level understanding of the perseverance it takes to be an entrepreneur. 

He says a lot of what he does for his advising clients is to connect them with resources that will help take their business to the next level, whether that be getting a permit from the health department or creating a business plan to use in accessing funding.

Estefan has found his work at EDASC to be meaningful and rewarding, and it allows him to do what he does best.

“I’m good at connecting with people,” he said. “I help them get to where they want to be.”

While Estefan has only been on the job two months, he’s already seeing wins for his clients, including helping one business owner apply and get pre-approved for a flex fund loan through the state Department of Commerce, and helping a local roofing business create a marketing plan to attract more business.

As a resource and connector for local entrepreneurs, Estefan’s work directly ties to EDASC’s goals of creating a more prosperous, sustainable, and equitable community.

“When our community members improve,” he said, “our community improves.”

To reach Estefan, contact him at jorge@skagit.org or 360-336-6114, ext. 100.

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