Featured E-Suite Partner: Bethel LA CDC

We are pleased to feature one of our first partner organizations: Bethel Los Angeles Community Development Corporation (Bethel). Frank Stokes is the co-founder of the Business Entrepreneurial Stewardship Training Mobile Accelerator (BEST Mobile Accelerator); in partnership with Bethel LA CDC, a non-profit corporation, whose mission is to revitalize South Los Angeles through social, economic, physical, mental, educational, and vocational support services and programs. 

They do this by developing and nurturing youth, providing assistance to senior citizens, supporting the family structure, fostering the creation of businesses, promoting computer literacy, bridging the education gap between generations and connecting life purposes with career choices in the community of South Los Angeles.


Centro launched the Business Planning App in 2015 and made it available to other non-profit organizations in California that served entrepreneurs. Thanks to CAMEO, Bethel LA CDC was introduced to Centro as part of a cohort of organizations in Southern California that were the first to receive the Train-the-Trainer program and use the app to help entrepreneurs as new E-Suite Partners

“We were really excited about the Centro Business Planning App. We have used other tools before, but what we really like about this one is that it was portable on mobile devices and it was introspective, meaning that if you’re answering responsively to the questions you’re building your content. It took a lot of mystery out of the word sniffing, and you know how to get started.” – Frank Stokes


Bethel LA CDC goal is to revitalize South Los Angeles by improving facilities and promoting opportunities through career and entrepreneurship training in the community.

With this goal in mind, Bethel LA CDC BEST Mobile Accelerator provides an entrepreneurship program to their community where they use the Centro Business Planning App. This program facilitates access to business development resources that enhance growth and self-sufficiency. It also provides information and seminars to retain, attract, and expand new and existing businesses. Assistance is provided to minority, women and disadvantaged business enterprises.

“We serve as a network for small businesses and an ecosystem for entrepreneurs that are seeking to realize their vision. We do that with a variety of resources. We start with the training and technical assistance and then we offer assistance with the implementation of the business plan and access to capital. In many cases, we can make those handshakes for mentorship or some particular resources unique to the entrepreneurs’ business.” – Frank Stokes


Since the Covid-19 pandemic, the Bethel LA CDC BEST Mobile Accelerator’s outreach has expanded. They started facilitating their programs virtually and discovered that removed the transportation barriers. People who couldn’t attend in-person programs were able to attend now.

The Bethel LA CDC BEST Mobile Accelerator serves a wide spectrum of people, from the underserved entrepreneurs to the disenfranchised, including people who were employed and decided to leave their employment.

“Today people are embracing the idea of running your own business like never before. This was a real challenge for people. They were more focused on finding employment that takes care of bills, and so there’s a lot of uncertainty in the marketplace right now.” – Frank Stokes


Since then, the Bethel LA CDC BEST Mobile Accelerator has implemented Centro’s curriculum in their entrepreneurship programs. In their first year as E-Suite Partners their goal was to impact 25 businesses. Now, 7 years after becoming partners, they have served over 500 entrepreneurs using the Centro Entrepreneurship Suite (E-Suite).

In the last two-and-a-half years, they’ve served 250 businesses. Of those served, 40 are in cohorts, and the rest of them are businesses in the community or they are previous graduates of their program that are in the network, and they receive continuous support and new information.

“The partnership with Centro has been rich and has provided us with a tool that is user-friendly to the community we serve. This tool, the Centro Business Planning App, is the most user-friendly we’ve had. It has eliminated some of the mystery to get a basic business plan once they’ve gotten to that stage. The technical support we have received from Centro has been great. Growing together and serving our community over the years has been a very valuable collaboration and partnership.” Frank Stokes

If you want to learn more about how we can also help your organization, please contact us at esuite@centrocommunity.org. We are also happy to answer any questions about our current curriculum, learning and teaching tools, and the support we provide to organizations!