SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF.—The Enterprise Foundation, host of Silicon Valley Small Business Development Center (SBDC), has signed a contract to accept a grant of $200,000 a year for up to two years from The Health Trust to help corner store operators undergo a “healthy makeover.” This grant, along with seed money provided by the County of Santa Clara and Citi Community Development last year, will make it possible to expand the capacity and expertise of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
“Small businesses are the heart of our economy and they make up 99.7 percent of all U.S. employers,” said Supervisor Mike Wasserman, President of the County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors. “As a major funder of the Silicon Valley Small Business Development Center, the County is helping small businesses to thrive and serve the community better.”
In 2013, the County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors approved total funding in the amount of $290,000 for the Enterprise Foundation to operate the Silicon Valley Small Business Development Center and the Satellite Hispanic SBDC to provide economic development assistance to small businesses throughout the county. The Small Business Development Center provides free services such as one-on-one business advising, education and workshops, and sales and marketing assistance. The services are offered to all Santa Clara County communities through certified business advisors.
“We see the effects of unhealthy eating in our hospital and clinics," said Supervisor Dave Cortese, who brought the proposed partnership with Enterprise Foundation to the Board of Supervisors for consideration last March. “This partnership is an excellent example of how the community benefits when we leverage resources to help County residents.”
Frederick J. Ferrer, CEO of The Health Trust, welcomed the opportunity to partner with the Enterprise Foundation and the County to improve the health and economics of local neighborhoods.
“At The Health Trust, we understand the link between economics and health,” Ferrer said. “Research shows that many people on limited budgets shop for food at corner stores. So in order to increase access and consumption of healthy foods, we need to make it economically viable for corner store owners to offer those healthy choices to our communities.”
Poor access to and insufficient consumption of healthy foods are tied to health conditions including obesity, hunger and malnourishment. There are a total of 201 corner stores in Santa Clara County, of which approximately 30% are located in high-poverty areas. Areas with higher percentages of corner stores and fast food outlets also have little healthy food retail options such as full service supermarkets that are easy to get to and affordable.
In a recent survey of the San Jose area, funded by The Health Trust, 75 percent of the corner store owners indicated that they would be interested in carrying additional fresh foods but have not been able to do so due to the lack of refrigeration equipment, fear of having food spoil, and not knowing how to source healthy food.
The Health Trust has designed a strategy to address these issues in Santa Clara County, drawing on lessons learned from a successful program in Philadelphia.
With the grant from The Health Trust, the Silicon Valley Small Business Development Center will help a total of 40 corner stores in San Jose by Spring 2015. The “healthy makeover” of corner stores can involve offering new healthy products, changing product placement, employing new retail marketing strategies, changing equipment, and converting the physical space to increase the purchasing of more affordable healthy food.
Working Partnerships USA also will be involved to encourage community support of the program and to foster loyalty for the participating stores.
“We’ve been fortunate to have the confidence and financial support of the County and Citi Community Development,” said Dennis King, Executive Director of the Enterprise Foundation. “We now have more than 40 multi-lingual SBDC business advisors and are ready to team with The Health Trust to work with any owner of a small corner store in San Jose.
For more information about services available at the Silicon Valley Small Business Development Center or the Satellite Hispanic Small Business Development Center, go to: http://svsbdc.org or http://sbdchc.org, or call (408)248-4800.
Media Contact: Gwendolyn Mitchell/Lingxia Meng, Office of Public Affairs (408) 299-5119; Patty Fisher, The Health Trust (408) 513-8705; Bruce Knopf , Office of Asset and Economic Development (408) 299-5155; Dennis King, Enterprise Foundation (408)351-3613
Posted: January 31, 2014