December 4, 2022
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Roanoke Regional Small Business Development Center helped bring Mexican street corn to the Star City

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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) – At the end of March 2022, Julia Rigney lost her job. The next day she was trying to find a new career in a room full of business owners.

“Surrounded by all of these amazing women and hearing their stories everyone was coming up saying “what’s your business? What’s your business?” said Rigney. “And I never really thought about it before. And I was like I want to sell elote.”

But she didn’t exactly know where to start.

“Both my mother and father didn’t graduate high school,” explained Rigney. “So, I was the first person in my family to graduate high school, the first person to graduate college, and also the first person to become a business owner.”

And although she had her family’s full support. Getting paired with Kat Pascal as her advisor through Roanoke Regional Small Business Development helped her launch Elote Alebrije.

“She was able to guide me through filling out paperwork,” added Rigney. “Making sure my tax document were correct. Coming up with ideas on how to sell.”

Pascal was one of 4 contract employees hired with federal funding through the CARES act. She oversaw helping Hispanic business owners.

“What I envision my Roanoke being and the surroundings that I have is that we’re all helping and lending a hand to one another,” said Pascal.

She says the advisory is free, confidential, and safe.

“and it’s at any stage of your business. So, if you’re really looking to kind of get to that next level or you just need like I said that second opinion reach out to us,” added Pascal.

With the help of advisors like Pascal, Rigney has been selling her elotes at festivals and events.



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