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New Small Business Risk Education Program Empowers Women And Minority Entrepreneurs To Pursue The American Opportunity

“Game changing.” That’s how entrepreneur Jacqueline Sharp describes the impact of the Small Business Risk Education (SBRE) program on her Los Angeles-based business, Fort, which makes furniture from recycled and reclaimed materials, as well as curated vintage pieces. Along with Sharp, more than 60 Los Angeles area small business owners will celebrate completion of the SBRE program tonight at a gathering with keynote speaker and small business advocate Vivica A. Fox.

Designed by the Travelers Companies, Inc. (NYSE: TRV), one of the nation’s largest insurers of small businesses, and VEDC (Valley Economic Development Center), the largest non-profit small business lender in California, SBRE leverages the unique expertise of both organizations and provides insurance literacy and risk management training to women and minority entrepreneurs.

“The Small Business Risk Education program taught me about risks I had never even considered,” said Sharp, an ambitious small business owner who launched Fort in 2011. “Through training with a Travelers safety professional, I developed a clear sense of potential issues that could impact my ability to staff, grow and manage my company. I now have a risk management plan to prepare for unexpected interruptions and can focus my time on building my business.”

Empowering Women and Minorities for Small Business SuccessThrough the training, made possible by a $150,000 grant from Travelers, SBRE provided participants, 77 percent of whom are women, and 70 percent minorities, with:

  • Increased awareness of safety risks associated with small business ownership;
  • Training and education focused on risk management and business continuity planning; and
  • Microloans to support capital investments related to risk management, sustainability and growth for those who qualify.

“Travelers understands the crucial role small businesses play in our local communities and in sustaining economic vitality,” said Tara N. Spain, Director of Community Relations for Travelers. “Through our partnership with VEDC, Travelers aims to provide the skills and resources to establish, grow and maintain the successful small businesses that fuel the American Opportunity.”

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