Our team provides no cost business consulting and low-cost business training programs in operations and management, marketing, financing, business planning and more. From pitching your idea to potential investors, introducing you to community lending programs, connecting you with trusted suppliers or vendors or helping you make your next sale – you can harness the power of the team of business consultants at the Coachella Valley Small Business Development Center and our extensive network to help your business thrive.

To learn more about our staff and consultants, check out our team bios below.

Meet Our Team:

Joaquin Tijerina

Coachella Valley Small Business Development Center Director and Economic Development Regional Manager for Riverside County Economic Development Agency

Joaquin has over 23 years of experience working in Economic Development, Project Management, Program Management, Construction Management, Case Management and Fast Tracking entitlements with the County of Riverside. He is responsible for facilitating community and economic development planning and initiatives; identifying and fostering community economic development opportunities; securing funding for economic development activities and programs; assisting local organizations, businesses and individuals with establishing economic development plans and projects; and promoting the county in order to expand economic development opportunities and implementing economic development strategy and related activities throughout unincorporated county areas.

Joaquin earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Redlands. He extended his education at University of California, Riverside and has attended numerous seminars, conferences and tradeshows to advance his knowledge in the field of economic development.

Elaine Holmes

Mayor Pro Tem of Indio and Business Consultant

I have been a small business owner for the last 12 years and have spent the first part of my life working in a family owned small business. While involved with the local Chambers of Commerce for my entire career, I have been close with various departments at City Hall as well.  Prior to being a small business owner in the desert, I spent 25 years in a corporate environment with expertise in the areas of marketing, training and human resources. I like working with people to develop their vision of owning a small business and working to develop their business plan to ensure success. I like spending time with others involved with business development in our communities. After spending the day at my award and trophy store, I like visiting old town areas, eating at mom & pop restaurants and reading.

Businesses Owned and Managed:

I have owned two award, trophy and embroidery stores for the past 12 years.  What I find most enjoyable is working with organizations to develop sales, brand and logo development, and safety and recognition programs. Because we make most of our awards in-house,  every day is deadline driven. Cash flow is key to the success of the business. I have also managed a training and development organization, and an HR office with a large corporation. I have also spent many years as the Director of Marketing & Business Development for a large telecommunications company.

Business Expertise:

I can assist your business with business plan development, SWOT analysis, financial analysis, branding and marketing, payroll set-up, location identification and acquiring a business license.  I also have a background in human resources and business management,  thus I  can assist you with the development of an HR manual, policies, compliance and more – all important aspects in helping employees understand company processes and procedures and managing legal issues.

Mike Pagani

Business Consultant

I have owned and managed six successful businesses over my 35 year career. I’ve also worked as a volunteer SCORE Certified Mentor for the past six years, and had the privilege of helping more than 300 startup and small business owners solve problems. I’m excited to be a part of this talented team of consultants and look forward to helping as many entrepreneurs as I can. I live for this stuff. In my spare time, I struggle to improve my tennis skills and I spend time with my grandkids.

Businesses Owned:

I started, built, purchased and sold businesses in various industries including: industrial services, light manufacturing, wholesale distribution, franchising and commercial finance.

Business Expertise:

As a business problem solver, serial business starter. builder, buyer and seller, I can probably help with most of the challenges you face, whether it’s your first startup or an expansion, profit pressures from competition, or finding better ways to attract new clients while making sure your current or previous clients are happy. I’ve set up the legal entities for all of my businesses without an attorney, sold three of my businesses without the use of a broker, consolidated business debt, negotiated leases, created successful bonus systems for production workers, and found new ways to reach prospects, just to name a few. The daily work of starting or building a business is about identifying and solving problems. Running a small business is lonely, and making every decision in a vacuum can be stressful. Call me. Let’s talk about your challenges and see if I might be able to help you find the right solution. I’m here to help!

James Thomas

Business Consultant

I have worked in consumer and business loan underwriting and client advising for over 30 years, helping small business owners grow successful organizations. I am proud to be a consultant for the Coachella Valley SBDC and I look forward to helping all local business owners and entrepreneurs achieve their dreams. I love cooking, wine tasting and listening to music of all kinds from my extensive vinyl collection!

Business Expertise:

I can help your business with loan packaging, commercial banking, purchasing buildings and working capital. As a former business development officer I understand what lenders look for in all loan requests. I can also advise about all types of business banking services such as remote deposit, merchant bankcard services and choosing the right type of bank accounts for your business.