El Pájaro Community Development Corporation’s mission is to promote equal access to economic opportunity and to transform people’s lives through entrepreneurship. To fulfill this important mission, El Pájaro CDC helps entrepreneurs by taking the confusion, guesswork and complexity out of starting their own small businesses.
Founded 40 years ago, El Pájaro CDC has successfully helped thousands of people start, maintain and expand their small business by offering technical assistance, help in acquiring loans, developing business plans and crafting marketing and promotion campaigns, managing employees, navigating the legal system, and more.
El Pájaro CDC has helped people from the Santa Cruz/Watsonville area to King City (the charter was expanded to Monterey and San Benito counties in 2007) and is open to anybody who wants to open a small business. And, while many businesses helped by El Pajaro CDC are food and produce-related businesses, all business concepts are being helped, including lawyers, mechanics, contractors, small farmers, landscapers, hair salons, fashions, even musicians and magicians.
As part of its mission, in 1997, El Pajaro CDC created a retail business incubator at 23 Beach St. in downtown Watsonville to assist low- to moderate-income, Spanish-speaking entrepreneurs with starting and operating a successful business. Named Plaza Vigil, there are now dozens of businesses operating there, with another 33 food purveyors using the separate Commercial Kitchen Incubator Program (CKI).
The Commercial Kitchen Incubator Program is a food business incubator in a fully equipped, shared-use commercial kitchen facility located in 412 Riverside. By using the commercial kitchen services, local food entrepreneurs can save the costs of commercial-grade equipment and kitchens that now restrict their ability to start or expand their food businesses.