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FAQ

Who are we?

A: BiGAUSTIN is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing comprehensive training services, one-on-one assistance, and loans to individuals who want to achieve self-sufficiency by starting their own small business. BiGAUSTIN’s education program includes classes designed for those interested in starting a new business or improving their existing business, and covers a vast array of important topics such as credit management and effective marketing techniques. BiG also provides a range of loan services specifically designed for people looking for an alternative to traditional bank loan programs. These loans offer a more flexible payment structure, competitive interest rates, and a wider lending range than is usually available for an aspiring entrepreneur.

BiGAUSTIN was founded in 1992 as a city-funded organization designed to help break down the barriers for people to start their own small business, particularly low to moderate income minorities. In 1995, BiGAUSTIN obtained its 501(c)(3) non-profit status, and by 1996 had begun independent operations. Today, BiG obtains its funding from a variety of public and private sources, and is governed by a fully independent Board of Directors.

BiGAUSTIN is the first and only combined source for effective entrepreneurial education and access to capital in Central Texas. Since its inception, BiGAUSTIN has served entrepreneurs in the Austin metropolitan area, focusing primarily on economically disadvantaged communities. BiG is also the only organization authorized by the U.S. Small Business Administration to provide lending services (SBA Micro-Loans) in 14 counties across Central Texas. There are several other micro-enterprise development organizations in Austin, but only BiGAUSTIN provides the type of ongoing, personalized training that have made our programs such a success.

Our training program and loan services are helping roughly 1,300 small business entrepreneurs annually, a number that continues to grow. BiGAUSTIN has dispersed loan packages in excess of 6.5 million dollars and granted loans to thousands of individuals. Our greatest impact to the community comes in the form of the economic development we provide. Through BiG, more small business owners gain access to markets, financial literacy, entrepreneurial and management skill development, as well as greater access to funding. As a result, their businesses succeed in creating jobs and increasing the tax base, as well as helping to keep money in Central Texas.

What services do we offer?

We offer three main services- comprehensive entrepreneurship training, one-on-one specialized business counseling, and access to capital in the form of flexible loans. Our staff is here to guide you every step of the way for each service(s) you need.

What kind of training do we offer?

BiGAUSTIN provides training courses and workshops to new or established entrepreneurs. We will take you through a step-by-step process to help you develop the business management skills necessary to grow. All classes are hands-on and highly interactive. If you are interested in starting a business, come to our Do You Have What it Takes? session (check calendar for scheduled class time). If you have a business idea, and are looking for comprehensive education to learn how to get your idea off the ground, we offer Start Smart Micro Entrepreneur course, which will give you the tools you need to build a solid foundation for success. Additionally, our Business Plan 101 session will help you understand how to create a responsible and successful business model. For those already involved with an established business, there is Taking Financial Control of Your Business. We also offer a variety of one-time workshops for people in every stage of starting and running a business. These deal with important and relevant issues such as Marketing, HR Management, Legal issues, Bookkeeping, Credit Repair, and Supplier Management. For more information on any of the courses or workshops we offer, please call our office at (512) 928-8010 or email melissa@bigaustin.org for more details.  A schedule of all current classes is also available online.

How do I sign up for workshops and classes?

You can sign up online Training Classes & Events, call us at (512) 928-8010, or send an email to melissa@bigaustin.org.

What is Start Smart?

Start Smart Micro Entrepreneur course is a 14-session series that covers all the basics of starting your own business. From writing a business plan to making your first sales pitch, this course lays the foundation for a successful start.  Learn more here.

How do I sign up for one-on-one counseling?

You can make an appointment online, call us at (512) 928-8010, or send an email to info@bigaustin.org.

What kind of loans do we offer?

BiGAUSTIN provides small businesses with microloans of up to $50,000. With BiG loans, you not only get capital- but also the one-on-one support and continuous counseling from our expert staff that will help your business grow. New businesses or businesses in operation less than a year may obtain up to $15,000. Those without a business plan, but with a business concept statement, are eligible to apply for up to $5,000 (business concept statement can be provided by BiG staff).  See Funding Your Business for more information.

Each BiG loan works uniquely for your business. That means we will never under-fund or over-fund your business. If your business needs $15,000 minimum, then we will not approve a loan of less than that amount. On the other hand, if our mutual evaluation finds that the business needs an injection of $5,000 now, and you initially requested $8,000 with future planning in mind, then we do not want to burden you with higher than necessary payments.

Why should you get a loan from us?

BiGAUSTIN’s loan program is more flexible and attainable than conventional bank financing because BiGAUSTIN looks at more than just numbers. Also, because we are a local non-profit organization, our loans traditionally come with a quicker turnaround time, streamlined loan application process, competitive rates, as well as a more flexible repayment program. Most importantly, when you get a loan from BiGAUSTIN, you get so much more than just funding. BiG loan clients seek our expertise long after their loans are paid back because of the strong connections we form with them. When you get a loan from BiGAUSTIN, you are getting guaranteed consulting services for life. To determine if you pre-qualify, you can apply online or download a pre-qualification application and fax it to us at (512) 926-2997, attention: Michael Moctezuma.

How long does it take to close a loan?

We try to get back to applicants within 24 hours of receiving your loan pre-qualification application. If pre-qualified, we will guide you through the actual loan application process. A loan decision is typically made within 3 weeks of receipt of a completed loan application package. If granted a loan from BiGAUSTIN, you will receive a check 3-5 days after the decision is made.

How can I contact BiGAUSTIN?

By phone, (512) 928-8010 on Monday-Friday from 8:30 am – 5:30 pm, or email at info@bigaustin.org.

Where are we located?

The BiGAUSTIN office which houses our staff and training facilities is located at 5407 N. IH-35, Suite 200. We are located on the 2nd floor of the Chase building in Capital Plaza strip mall.

What can I do to help BiGAUSTIN?

BiGAUSTIN’s many endeavors would not be possible without the generous support of individuals, foundations, and corporations. Financial contributions play a significant part in helping us meet the needs of the communities we serve and enable us to further our economic impact throughout Central Texas. If you would like to support our mission of assisting small businesses by making a contribution, please do so here. We are also constantly on the lookout for individuals with expertise in marketing, accounting, lending, business law, MIS, and management to serve as volunteer instructors. If you think you have what it takes to teach a seminar or serve as a business counselor/mentor, please contact Daniel Frunza at (512) 928-8010 ext 106 or via email daniel@bigaustin.org.