SAN ANTONIO – The news that professional photographer Yee Yan Segovia had won $500 came via Zoom.
"I almost never win anything, so I was really surprised," Segovia said.
The U.S. Navy veteran became the first of eight small business owners who will be randomly selected by the Maestro Entrepreneur Center every week through Sep. 23.
“Even if you don’t win the $500, I really recommend you register because you can win so much more than that,” said Mariangela Zavala, Maestro Center’s executive director.
She said Segovia had increased her chances of winning because she had registered on its Buy Local, Grow SA membership website.
Zavala said not only does a small business increase its visibility through its directory, they also can access invaluable resources critical to its survival during the pandemic.
"We're providing as much information and as much research as we can, so these businesses can pivot and don't have to close their doors," Zavala said.
Segovia said she's already taken advantage of what the Maestro Center can provide.
"It's a hub. It's a place where we can meet people, network, get to know each other and listen to other people that have been successful as business owners," Segovia said.
Familiar with the findings by U.S. Chamber of Commerce regarding the pandemic and its impact on small businesses, Zavala said she agrees many are “cautiously optimistic” about their survival. She said sadly, many will not.
The Maestro Center's executive director said in addition to any government funds, "Please tie them to some type of building resilience and building capacity."
Zavala said any programs to help do that should be similar to what the Maestro Center is doing.
“That’s the only way they’re going to be able to survive,” Zavala said.