The entrepreneurial spirit is strong in this community. “There are lots of informal businesses that are now looking to get formalized and access more opportunities,” said Navarro. “But there are many barriers, starting with cultural barriers. Things are done differently in their countries. Everything is regulated here. There are tax implications in everything they do. We have to start by educating them on what they need to become official.”
El Centro starts by helping business owners with the basics: registering with the Secretary of State, getting a federal tax ID number, getting occupational licenses and other necessary permits, opening bank accounts. But the organization’s services go beyond that into broader areas of financial literacy and building wealth.
“We help them build credit, buy homes, access business loans, and generally understand the American financial system,” explained Nararro. “We also talk about business strategies and marketing. We help them organize their taxes. Ultimately, the goal is to build wealth and community.”
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