West Texas

Business Navigator Program

What is the West Texas Business Navigator Program?

The West Texas Business Navigator Program partners with the Small Business Administration (SBA) and six area business organizations to provide education and mentorship opportunities to business owners and entrepreneurs from marginalized, underserved communities.
 
This program is designed to reduce barriers to accessing critical resources for small businesses—with a focus on microenterprises, cooperatives, and businesses in the early stages of development—owned by women, socially and economically disadvantaged, and underserved entrepreneurs. Through the Hub & Spoke Model, the Abilene Chamber serves as the program “hub” connecting businesses to “spokes”— who help connect to specific sectors of the entrepreneurial community.

The spokes are Abilene Black Chamber of Commerce, HERU (HAY – Roo) Community Development Corporation, West Central Texas Council of Governments, Cisco College, and the Chamber’s own Abilene Industrial Foundation. Additionally, the City of Abilene, America’s Small Business Development Center at Texas Tech-Abilene, and Northwest Texas Procurement Technical Assistance Center are joining as partners.

What does the program offer?

The Business Navigator program is built to increase equity in marginalized business & entrepreneur communities.

The West Texas Business Navigator Program will target small business owners who are women, minorities, disabled, veterans, or people in the Big Country's rural counties. If you are an entrepreneur, think about your challenges and contact us so that we can direct you or assist you with the great resources this program offers.

Networking

Mentorship

You will be partnered with other successful business owners and entrepreneurs.

Training

We will provide training for business owners and staff to increase their knowledge and performance.

Networking

You will be introduced to peers so you can develop connections and discover mutual interests.

Its Purpose

In May of 2021, the  U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) authorized a $1 million grant through the American Rescue Plan to pilot a new program targeting increased equity among minority business owners in underserved areas called the Community Navigator Pilot Program.

The Abilene Chamber of Commerce has been selected as one of 51 grantees to receive funding through this program. It will be working with organizations like the Abilene Black Chamber of Commerce to execute these programs.

West Texas Business Navigator Program Logo

"As a black small business owner, the (ABCC) chamber has provided stability and a powerful network for my enterprises."

-Dennis McCullough

Business Navigator Interest Form

Please fill in the form below.
On submission, you will be forwarded to complete the application process.

Selected Value: 0
Abilene Black Chamber
Funded (in part) through a grant with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.
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Program FAQ

The target demographic for this program includes people from marginalized communities in the nineteen counties of the Big Country.

No. Unfortunately, this program does not currently provide financial assistance for businesses. 

With the help of the West Central Texas Council of Governments, we are able to serve people and businesses in Brown, Callahan, Coleman, Comanche, Eastland, Fisher, Haskell, Jones, Kent, Knox, Mitchell, Nolan, Runnels, Scurry, Shackelford, Stephens, Stonewall, Taylor and Throckmorton County.

Training and mentoring will be provided on a rolling basis and the choices of class times and mentoring appointments are entirely up to you and your business. 

You do not have to be a member of the Abilene Black Chamber of Commerce to take advantage of the opportunities provided under this grant. However, we would love to have you as a member. 

Take a moment after you have applied to check us out and see if you believe we are a good fit for you!

Fill out the form on this page, and you will be directed to an application process to determine if you qualify. Afterward, you will be provided with a variety of learning opportunities that match your priorities and needs!

This program will provide training and mentoring for business owners and employees who are members of marginalized, underserved communities. 

The funding was provided through an SBA grant for two years and will sunset in November 2023.

To learn more about the SBA program, click here.

Yes! We will be looking for business leaders in our community to serve as partners and mentors. If you’re interested in connecting with any of the spoke organizations to serve in this way, reach out to us.