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Living Inside the Box

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By Lisa Harrison Rivas

Local entrepreneur aims to bring more shipping container homes to S.A.

It’s no secret that in San Antonio and much of the nation home prices are on the rise. Affordability is an issue in many communities, and this has led to thinking outside of the box when it comes to creating housing that is both affordable and appealing. The tiny house option is one way some are downsizing their living space as well as their debt. Shipping container homes are another unique dwelling option.

Though not a new concept, these homes are not common in the San Antonio area, but master designer Anya K. Bartay wants to change that. She has designed a house on the East Side using two shipping containers, and she also can incorporate several of the 40′ x 8′ containers to build a multi-level home that’s as big as a traditional house. The base price for a 2,000 square-foot home is around $220,000.

Her love of design and architecture began when she was a child. She spent part of her childhood in Panama and said that experience helped her appreciate the value of what we have in the United States.

She also credits her life in Panama with spurring the creation of Project N.O.A.H which stands for Net Zero Affordable Housing. Bartay stresses she is not designing government housing but housing that is affordable.

One of the homes she designed sits on the East Side and will become an Airbnb rental so that people can see what a shipping container home is like before they buy one. And soon, Bartay and her family will move into a container home she is building in Northeast San Antonio. It will be a model home she and her family will be living in for a year to provide data on how the house impacts the environment.

“We’re going to work with UTSA, CPS, Eco Central on monitoring all of the systems that are going to be implemented in that house. The solar, the rainwater collection to see how much is real, how much we use. To see how less of an impact we create with that house.”

Bartay recently discussed her plans to bring more shipping container homes to San Antonio.

Q: What are you working on right now?

A: I’m working on a partnership with a factory that is already building shipping container homes to facilitate my need for the construction and to help them with their need for sales. We do have a subdivision that we have in mind. The owners of that property (on the Southside) said they will give us the land and we will create a neighborhood.

Q: Why would someone choose to buy a shipping container home?

A:  The first thing is safety. The container is resistant to tornados, hurricanes, torrential winds. Lots of construction won’t withstand those different disasters.

Q: How do people react to your project?

A: When I give them a proper understanding of what container homes could look like, their reaction is wonderful.

Q:  How did you become interested in building shipping container homes?

A: What I did was start doing searches and finding out what would be acceptable to present to people I worked with who needed a little bit of financial assistance getting their architectural needs met. So, shipping containers came up.

Q: Have you talked to city officials?

A:  I have presented this to Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Calvert Jr., Senator Jose Menéndez, Neighborhood Housing Services of America and SAHA. And they’ve all agreed to using it.

Q: So how did you get training to build these homes?

A:  Once I had a nonprofit ask me about my designs, and then I got an investor. I looked up the details on YouTube and I put them into practice and started doing the work myself. I’ve been drawing it for years, so it’s just doing it now.

Q: Describe your style

A: I have 75 percent masonry on the outside and all the different means that everyone has for permanent housing. We are embedded into the foundation. And one of the biggest things is that we provide a thermal insulation coating and a rust-o proof coating for the container so that we avoid mold or any kind of disease.

Q: How much would a basic container home cost?

A: $110 a square foot (40-foot long containers are used). We have closing costs and money down assistance for an FHA or conventional loan.

Q: What type of foundation do the homes have?

A: We can do piers if you have elasticity in the soil. And you can do a regular slab on grade if you have nice solid bedrock.

Q: How long does it take to complete?

A: It should take no more than three months, but we’re going to be striving for one and a half. Most of the construction happens in one day. If it’s a custom, we’ll say three to six months.

Q: What are some of the things you can do to customize a container home?

A: Instead of sheetrock, you may want to use wood paneling, or put brick on the outside, or have an accent wall. You can do a lot of different variations of finishes.

Q: Do you help clients come up with a design?

A:  We try to help get the psychology behind the client’s needs and implement it into the design.


Lisa Harrison Rivas is a Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Don Johnson Realtors. If you are planning to buy or sell, feel free to contact her at 210-380-9006 or 
lhrivas@realsa.com

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Black Woman-Owned Courier Company Expands Services to San Antonio

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Express Errands & Courier is one of the fastest-growing female lead companies in 2021, and their growth is not slowing down. The company currently has 11 locations and plans to expand in four metropolitan markets to include San Antonio, Nashville, Los Angeles, and Charlotte by the end of 2021.

Express Errands & Courier offers same-day delivery solutions to other 3PL’s, Auto, legal and medical industries, specializing in expedited deliveries, the “EXPRESSWAY.” Trusted by Ferrari of Atlanta, Kimberly Clark, Duke University, and MTV, to name a few – it’s clear that founder and owner Roslyn Ellerbee knows how to meet courier and delivery needs large and small. With a focus on reliable and affordable logistics solutions, Express Errands & Courier is quickly becoming one of the leading companies in the logistics industry.

Ellerbee is a professional with experience in digital marketing, business development, and entrepreneurship. Through Express Errands & Courier, she is building partnerships with businesses that propel them to the next level. Ellerbee says, “2020 has taught us that change is the seed of growth with the right strategic partnerships, your company can thrive in an uncertain economy.”

She is well known for her business sense and relatable way of communicating with her clients and partners. Express Errands & Courier consistently receives positive feedback from customers and employees throughout their service areas.

About Express Errands & Courier
Express Errands & Courier offers safe and reliable delivery and courier services in 11 convenient locations. Their friendly and well-trained staff is available to help with logistics needs and questions via their website at ExpressErrandsofJAX.com. Visit their contact page to find phone numbers for each service area, as well as an online quote form.

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Black Female Lawyer Launches Legal Fund

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Black Female Lawyer Launches Legal Fund to Support Black-Owned Businesses Using Crowdfunding to Raise Capital

Meet Elizabeth L. Carter, Esq., founder and owner of a Black woman-owned securities law firm that has launched a legal fund to support Black businesses that plan to raise capital through crowdfunding campaigns and other means. The Chicago-based firm is seeking corporate and individual contributions to the #BlackCapitalMatters Gift Legal Fund, which will help subsidize securities legal services for Black-owned businesses.

Black-owned entities, including businesses, nonprofits, cooperatives, and investment funds, that are looking to raise capital in 2021-2022, and need affordable securities legal services, can apply for the fund at ELCESQ.com/legalfund (Fund contributors who wish to receive a tax deduction can donate directly to the firm’s fiscal sponsor, the Oakland-based Sustainable Economies Law Center, at TheSELC.org/blackcapitalmatters)

There are a series of legal documents, filings, and other requirements that business owners must complete to ensure they are legally compliant before they launch their campaign. Yet many business owners may not be aware of the legal requirements and therefore put themselves at risk for penalties and costly delays.

Led by Elizabeth L. Carter, the boutique law firm is the only securities firm in the country with a mission to help Black-owned businesses navigate the legal requirements that come with raising capital. The firm often provides its services at discounted rates and has built an ecosystem of comprehensive professional support services to make it more feasible for Black businesses to raise capital. Securities law is a complex area of business law that ensures the legal compliance of raising capital from investors. Unfortunately, this complex law carries a hefty cost and is often out of the budget for the average entrepreneur.

The #BlackCapitalGift Legal Fund will allow the firm to provide legal support at below-market-rate so that more Black-owned businesses may combat the disparities in investing that they often face. Since 2015, Black and Latinx founders have received only 2.4 percent of the total venture capital raised, according to the 2020 Crunchbase Diversity Report. Due to these disparities, more and more Black-owned businesses are turning to crowdfunding to raise the capital that they need to fully launch or expand their business.

“The racial bias in financing from banks and private investors, including angel investors and venture capital firms, has caused many Black-owned businesses to turn to the general public to get the capital that they need for their businesses,” Carter said. “Oftentimes, these businesses don’t have adequate funding to pay for legal support as they launch crowdfunding campaigns. This puts them at risk of criminal and civil penalties at disproportionate rates.”

The economic hardships caused by the recent pandemic and recession have only exacerbated the need for funding among minority-owned businesses. During the first few months of 2020, 41 percent of Black businesses and 32 percent of Latinx-owned businesses permanently closed.

“Our mission is to find creative and innovative ways to counter the unfortunate reality of insufficient business capital that plague so many of our underserved businesses,” Carter said.

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Supplier Success Leads Expansion of Facebook’s Invoice Fast Track Program

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Supplier Success Leads Expansion of Facebook’s Invoice Fast Track Program, Providing Up to $100 Million for Diverse-Owned Businesses

 Supplier Success, a black-owned supplier finance consultancy, recently celebrated the expansion of the Facebook Invoice Fast Track program to financially support diverse-owned businesses across the United States.

The program, set to relaunch on October 1, 2021, will now provide tens of thousands diverse -owned companies with immediate payment for the goods and services they’ve invoiced their customers for — but would otherwise have waited months to get paid.

The announced expansion follows the completion of a successful pilot program with Supplier Success and its technology partner, Crowdz. The program was previously only available to Facebook’s own diverse suppliers.

Under the new terms of the program, Facebook has pledged up to $100 million in funding on an ongoing basis for a low, fixed fee of 1% of total invoice value. This provides diverse-owned SMBs with the affordable capital they need to invest in the recovery and growth of their companies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Supplier Success played a key role in scaling the financing, technology, and risk management models of the pilot program, so that the expanded offering could be made available to the broader universe of diverse business member organizations. These partner organizations include the National Minority Supplier Development Council, Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, National Veterans Business Development Council, Disability:IN and US Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce.

“Facebook is going above and beyond to support as many diverse SMBs as possible during this critical time of need,” said Louis Green, CEO of Supplier Success. “We’re proud to work with them to address the urgent access to capital needs of diverse businesses nationwide.”

Diverse-owned businesses are encouraged to visit the Facebook Invoice Fast Track program to check their eligibility and get started on October 1.

About Supplier Success, LLC:
Supplier Success is a supplier finance and corporate diversity consultancy based in Detroit, MI. Supplier Success focuses on solving access to capital issues facing diverse-owned businesses, strengthening the corporate supply chain, and improving corporate diversity and procurement efforts. Founded in 2014 by Louis Green, Supplier Success, LLC is a certified minority business enterprise. For more information, please visit www.suppliersuccess.com.

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