- Real Estate
By Mark Archer Eastlake Times Writer
On a chilly day in late December 2011, four business professionals gathered at an Eastlake restaurant to pass referrals and learn how to scale and improve their respective businesses. The first meeting was unscripted but alliances were formed and partnerships were molded.
As we turned the corner to 2012, the American economy slowly stumbled to recovery, but the Eastlake business owners reported immediate success from the information being shared at the weekly meetings. More introductions were made, alliances were formed and business flourished as the small, loosely-affiliated group began to grow.
Solely, by word of mouth, the small business group soared to over 25 active members; a website was launched and formal partnerships with the San Diego South Chamber of Commerce was realized.
With so much initial success, the group recently organized a Board of Directors and has partnered with local Eastlake non-profits to “give back” to the local Eastlake Community.
Recently, Eastlake Times sat with the Eastlake Business Association President, Jorge Balvaneda to discuss the group’s recent success.
ELT: Tell our readers a little about the Eastlake Business Association.
EBA: The Eastlake Business Association was founded with a primary focus of sharing knowledge with local business owners and business professionals, helping local businesses succeed while improving our city through community partnership programs.
Our regular meetings are held every Monday from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm at Tacos & Tarros in the Otay Ranch Mall. We start off with a 20-minute networking session followed with brief introductions. During the introductions, those in attendance are provided with the opportunity to address the group, state their name, state their businesses name, and make a specific referral request. Simultaneously, their websites are displayed on on a minimum of three screens.
Educational presentations are a core focus of all our meeting with topics ranging from economic development, social media marketing, search engine optimization, press release strategies, copywriting, business operations, and much more. Our meetings are then wrapped up with an open session for our members to strengthen relations. And that’s where the magic begins.
ELT: What magic?
EBA: This is when you will find our Board of Directors seeking out people they can assist immediately. It may be as simple as making a referral or as complex as assisting them with an unbearable problem. We have a great group of people leading this organization that are truly committed to our members and the community.
ELT: You mentioned the community again. Tell us a bit about your community involvement.
EBA: Eastlake Business Association is all about giving and that includes our community. Our vision is to not only make an impact on local business, but we are also passionate about community partnerships. Along those lines we ask that you join us as we support Eastlake Education Foundation at their upcoming Cycle Eastlake 2012. Make sure to stop by and say hi to our members. You can identify them by their Eastlake Businesses Association name badges.
We are also in discussions with other organizations and further developing our community outreach programs. Anyone interested in joining and helping out are encouraged to contact us.
ELT: What makes this group different?
EBA: Eastlake Business Association was formed by local business owners who wanted to fill a gap. There really isn’t a group in the Eastlake or the Chula Vista area for that matter to compare us too. Truly it wouldn’t be fair to make such a comparison.
ELT: What about local networking groups or chambers?
EBA: We believe these groups are doing a great job at what they do. Our focus is simply different. Where opportunity arises, we would love to work with them to create a synergistic business environment in the Eastlake and Chula Vista area. In fact, we recently forged a partnership with San Diego South Chamber of Commerce.
ELT: Are there any fees involved?
EBA: We like to say that membership with Eastlake Business Association is free, but it does come with a high and sincere commitment to fellow members and the community.
ELT: Is your group setup with social media?
EBA: Definitely. You can follow us on twitter under the alias of @BizEastlake. You can also join us on Facebook.com/EastlakeBusinessAssociation. Our website, EastlakeBusinessAssoc.com, was recently published and continues to evolve. We will soon have a blogging section where people can follow and interact with us.
ELT: What type of business are you personally in?
EBA: Celebrating successes! Much of my time is spent at Bravado Awards where we offer a comprehensive line of corporate awards, sports trophies, bronze plaques and donor walls. When I’m not spending time with Bravado Awards I can be found working on ChulaVistaSport.net, a free community website were we cover all sports and outdoor activities in and around the City of Chula Vista. And of course I enjoy working with the wonderful people at Eastlake Business Association.
ELT: How did you get started with that business?
EBA: That’s a whole different story that I would love to share with you over coffee some day. But as with most other entrepreneurs I enjoy the flexibility and time I get to share with my beautiful wife and kids.
ELT: If our readers wanted some additional information, where can they get more info. About you and your business?
EBA: I love meeting and talking with new people; I especially love helping people out. If you are a human resource manager at a business or corporation looking to celebrate your organization’s successes you can reach me at (619) 752-4151, visit our website at BravadoAwards.com, or e-mail us at info@BravadoAwards.com. Schools and sports leagues are also encouraged to contact us and inquire about our community discount rates. Local churches, schools and hospitals may inquire about our custom bronze plaques and donor walls.