Signing on the dotted line yesterday afternoon, a local catering business had its small-business loan officially funded … and their bigger entrepreneurial dreams made a reality. All courtesy of a $100,000 loan from MEDA’s innovative Adelante Fund.
One story to showcase community need
When Alicia Villanueva (photo, center) came to this country from Mexico a decade and a half ago, she wanted to introduce her favorite food: tamales. During holidays back home, the family would converge in the kitchen to share some laughs while they made plenty of this traditional dish.
Once in California, the business model of Alicia’s Tamales Los Mayas was selling door to door. This translated to about 100 sales per week—a good start, but not enough to sustain her family.
Things picked up under the auspices of MEDA’s free Business Development program and La Cocina, a San Francisco incubator kitchen with the goal of cultivating food entrepreneurs. This led to an ever-increasing amount of tamales being sold each week, with employees later hired.
Today, 17,000 tamales a month are sold via a catering and packaged-foods model.
Things are about to be taken up a notch.
States Alicia of how she plans to expand her business model: “This money will allow me to lease a 6,000-square-foot factory. This space has existing equipment, which is very expensive. Plus, I am looking to make it U.S.D.A. approved, meaning I can make meat-based tamales. My plan is to expand from a catering business to also being a wholesaler. I expect to double my output of tamales by one year from now, and hire more employees.”
Adelante Fund summary
Seeing a need in the community, the goal of Adelante Fund is to provide loans to small-business owners who cannot access affordable loans from traditional banks. MEDA’s loans can be used for business purposes running the gamut from raising capital for a startup and purchasing inventory to commercial lease improvements and garnering working capital. Loans will range from $5,000 all the way up to $100,000.
There are a number of ways that Adelante Fund sets itself apart from traditional bank loans for microbusinesses:
- There is zero cost to apply.
- Loan products are always provided in combination with MEDA’s free one-on-one business coaching, offered in the client’s preference of English or Spanish.
- Interest rates are in the seven to nine percent range—far lower than credit card rates and other non-bank lenders—and are competitive with many banks.
- Three-year and five-year terms are available, with no prepayment penalty.
- Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) holders may apply.
- As all loans are reported to credit bureaus, clients can build their credit.
- There is no minimum credit score required (although credit history is considered).
“It is exciting for the community, and MEDA’s Adelante Fund, to see hardworking immigrant entrepreneurs like Alicia be able to grow their small businesses. This is just the start of Adelante Fund assisting many other small-business owners in the Mission, and beyond. Providing this kind of financing translates into generational wealth-building for low- to moderate-income entrepreneurs and jobs for our community, too,” explains Nathanial Owen (photo, left), who oversaw Adelante Fund’s implementation at MEDA.