SAN ANTONIO – The building housing the Maestro Entrepreneur Center is also where Teresa Garcia and Jacob Hurrell-Zitelma run their respective small businesses.
"They have been instrumental in me surviving this pandemic," said Garcia, CEO of Food Safety Direct, a company that conducts the certification classes required for restaurant workers and managers.
Hurrell-Zitelman said the South Side nonprofit in the 1800 block of South Laredo was “a real blessing” to Quick Sip Cold Brew Coffee that he started producing in his dorm room at Trinity University.
He now uses Maestro's large on-site kitchen facility.
"It gave us the opportunity to actually produce like a real manufacturer, to be a real brand," he said.
Mariangela Zavala, Maestro's executive director, said, "We provide an incubator space at a really affordable rate with all the amenities including water bills, electricity, Wi-Fi, all utilities included."
She said Maestro can even be used as their business address.
To cover the costs involved, Zavala said the nonprofit relies on grants and sponsorships.
She said the resources it provides small business owners are needed “now more than ever” in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Maestro offers a 12-week intensive training course that covers a wide range of topics such as succession planning, business insurance, marketing and technology.
Zavala said she urges owners to register their small business profile for potential customers to find.
She also pointed out that much of the information Maestro provides is in English and Spanish.
“We have taken the lead and we’re the only business organization to provide those trainings in Spanish,” Zavala said. “It’s completely free. There are many resources. Use it to your advantage.”