Alicia, Community Loan Fund

Alicia, Community Loan Fund

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.”

This Alicia’s Tamales Los Mayas loan was made possible by funding and investment from the Community Economic Development Program, Sam’s Club, NALCAB, the Surdna Foundation and VEDC.

Learn more about MEDA’s Adelante Fund.