April 16, 2024


Obey Your Finance

Connecticut nonprofit helps small businesses succeed

Minority small business owners and entrepreneurs may face barriers for various reasons, but SAMA helps combat these obstacles.

HARTFORD, Conn. — Clodomiro Falcon has been a small business specialist at Spanish American Merchant Association since 2014. Falcon previously had his own business where he created “La Guia Hispana,” what he calls “the Latino yellow pages.”

After Flacon was forced out of a job due to the digital era emergence in 2013, he began working at SAMA. That is when he realized his true passion was helping other business owners succeed.

 “When I call my executive director or when he calls me, we will ask each other, ‘how are you doing’ and he will say, ‘aqui, luchando por la patria,” which means ‘fighting for my country,'” Falcon said. “That answer has a really big meaning because what we are doing in SAMA is contributing to the well-being of this beautiful country.” 

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Minority small business owners and entrepreneurs may face barriers for various reasons, but SAMA helps combat these obstacles to help small business owners succeed throughout the state.

“The businesses that we serve, are businesses that normally would not get the same business somewhere else, for different reasons, for different disparities that are going on in the state,” Falcon said. 

In 2021, racial minorities owned 12.1% of businesses in the state, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2021 Small Business Profile. 

SAMA has been helping aspiring entrepreneurs and established business owners since 1982. From creating a vision for a future business to assisting with marketing, and business plans the non-profit organization has got it all covered.

While SAMA’s main goal is to have its clients run a successful business, workshops and training are available at no cost to business owners. SAMA makes sure business owners can run a successful enterprise from accounting to finance entry-level courses. Training courses are available including computer training and QuickBooks. They also provide ServSafe, webinars and legal assistance. 

Loan programs and loan resources are also available through SAMA. 

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“This is what I was made for, so I am happy to do this,” Falcon said.

SAMA has been able to help small businesses in the face of adversity. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many local businesses struggled to stay afloat. But since the start of the pandemic, business at SAMA has been great, Falcon said.

“We’re busier than ever before,” Falcon said. 

They have been able to get small businesses to receive PPE equipment. Apply for programs from the federal government and the state government that help ease small business owners’ troubles due to the pandemic.

SAMA has offices in New Haven and Hartford but helps businesses all over the state. There are no limits as to what kind of business can receive services. 

“We made a goal to keep business operating (in the recent years) and we have met those goals in most of the businesses,” Falcon said.

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Falcon recalled helping a local food truck a few years ago known as Tacos Santa Fe in New Haven, he remembered helping the business owner fill out permits and licenses in order to get his food truck business started. He recalled how far the business has come since. 

“SAMA really impacts the community we serve. We create value, we create wealth and we help people,” Falcon said.

For more information, visit SAMA or contact the Hartford office at 860-278-5825 or the New Haven office at 203-865-0522. 

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