AFN Helps Empower Local Small Business Owner


In 2009, Pete Rivera didn’t know how to use a computer. But now, thanks to the friendly trainers at Austin Free-Net, not only has Pete bridged the digital divide, he’s using technology to advance his career.

Photo of Pete RiveraWith minimal work opportunities available, four years ago Pete decided to take a risk in starting a business venture, which he called ATX Drywall and Painting.

Pete learned that gaining an online certification in weatherization would be necessary in order for his business to succeed. This is what brought Pete to Austin Free-Net’s free computer lab at the Rosewood Zaragosa Neighborhood Community center. He came to the location with a goal to complete the certification online.  But since he had limited computer skills, the staff had to first help him learn the basics—set up an email account, write emails, and learn how to navigate the Internet. He especially valued the friendly one-on-one attention from AFN staff to help him reach his goals.

Eventually, Pete built on his solid foundation in computer skills to reach and exceed his goals. Not only has he found and completed an online certification course for weatherization, but he’s also learned to use Facebook to publicize his business. Plus, with assistance in revising his resume and applying for jobs, he’s gained additional employment doing security for the recent Formula 1 race at the Circuit of the Americas racetrack.

Now that Pete realizes how essential technology is to expanding his business and job opportunities, he comes to an AFN lab every day! Watch for him in Austin Free-Net’s newest public service announcement and consider helping more people like Pete by volunteering or donating today.

By: Vickie Valadez, Austin Free-Net Volunteer