Thanks to a program designed by the Traveler’s Companies, Inc., one of the nation’s largest insurers of small businesses, women and minority entrepreneurs have an opportunity to establish, grow and maintain the successful small businesses that fuel the American opportunity.
“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.
With that thought in mind, entrepreneur Jacqueline Sharp had only two words to say about how Traveler’s has impacted her business, “game changing.”
Sharp owns Fort, a Los Angeles small business that makes furniture from recycled and reclaimed materials as well as curried vintage pieces. The Small Business Risk Education (SBRE) program has changed the way Sharp operates her business along with more than 60 other LA area small business owners.
SBRE leverages the unique expertise of both organizations and provides insurance literacy and risk management training to women and minority employers.
“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.”
SBRE provided participants, 77 percent who are women and 70 percent minorities, with training and a $150,000 grant from Travelers for:
- Increased awareness of safety risks associated with small business ownership
- Training and education focused on risk management and business continuity planning
- Microloans to support capital investments related to risk management, sustainability and growth for those who qualify
Working in conjunction with the SBRE, the Valley Economic Development Center (VEDC) is the largest non–profit small business lenders in California has made it their mission to create and sustain jobs in our communities.
“The SBRE program is a natural fit for us,” said Roberto Barragan, President & CEO of VEDC. “By leveraging Travelers’ risk control expertise and providing the necessary access to capital, we’ve been able to provide some of our region’s job creators and innovators with tools that will contribute to a stronger local economy and a better quality of life.”
The Travelers SBRE program is just one of the many ways in which the company advocates for small business owners. The company leverages organizational support and deep knowledge and understanding of risk control, claim response, and underwriting to develop customized initiatives to help protect entrepreneurs. Through the Travelers Institute, Travelers is also committed to working toward public policy solutions for small business owners.
The SBRE program began in Los Angeles in early 2012 and Travelers plans to launch the program in Chicago in 2013.
The Travelers Companies, Inc. is a leading provider of property casualty insurance for auto, home and business. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Travelers has more than 30,000 employees and generated revenues of approximately $25 billion in 2011. The company provides support for charitable organizations in the community through the Travelers Foundation and with corporate funding. The company’s community giving is focused on education, community development and the arts.
VEDC is the largest non–profit small business lender in California offering direct micro and small business loans through programs including SBA Community Advantage and SBA 504 loans. As a national small business lender, VEDC lends $25 million annually, while providing direct business assistance services to more than 4,000 businesses. With seven offices nationwide VEDC has supported the small business owner for 36 years with the goal of creating and sustaining jobs and businesses in under-served communities