Roanoke Regional Small Business Development Center helped bring Mexican street corn to Star City

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) — In late 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 these amazing women and listening to their stories, everyone was coming in saying ‘what are you doing? What’s your business? Rigney said. “And I had never really thought about it before. And I was like I wanted to sell elot.

But she didn’t know exactly where to start.

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

And even though she had the full support of her family. Her association with Kat Pascal as an advisor through Roanoke Regional Small Business Development helped her launch Elote Alebrije.

“She was able to walk me through the paperwork,” Rigney added. “Making sure my tax document was correct. Find ideas on how to sell.

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

“What I envision from my being in Roanoke and the environment that I have is that we all help each other and lend a hand to each other,” Pascal said.

She says the advice is free, confidential and safe.

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

With the help of advisors like Pascal, Rigney sold his elotes at festivals and events.

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