Winter 2012 Newsletter

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Access to capital is vital for entrepreneurs to open or expand a small business and succeed in tough times.
Small businesses rely on loans, grants, and other investments to start their business, invest in growth, and meet unexpected challenges. Unfortunately, accessing these forms of capital is a major problem for many small businesses, especially those owned by minorities. Minority businesses are seven percent less likely to receive loans than non-minority businesses, and minority-owned businesses are less likely to apply for loans due to rejection fears*. Furthermore, Small Business Administration (SBA) lending to California’s Latino small business owners has decreased by almost 50 percent in recent years**.

MEDA understands how important minority-owned businesses are to San Francisco and is committed to helping minority entrepreneurs prosper.

[EXPAND Read More]We offer a variety of creative financing options and services, including:

Loan Packaging: MEDA guides small business owners through the loan application process, and helps entrepreneurs complete loan applications. Since 2008, MEDA has helped our clients apply for and receive loans totaling close to $1 Million.

Microloans: In partnership with the Opportunity Fund, MEDA approves loans of up to $1,000 to help microenterprises open and expand. Our business clients can access loans from $1,000 to $100,000 through Opportunity Fund referrals.

Business Grants: MEDA offers small grants of $1,500 to help entrepreneurs with limited resources launch their business ideas. Since 2010, MEDA has provided 32 clients with $48,000 in small grants.

Kiva Zip: Our partnership with Kiva provides 0% interest loans of up to $5,000 to promising businesses.

Secured Credit Builder Loans: Through a partnership with Citi and the Aspen Institute, our secured credit card helps business clients build credit and positive financial practices for future lending opportunities. MEDA will provide the card to over 70 qualifying small businesses this year.

These financing options are coupled with one-on-one coaching to help entrepreneurs develop their business plans and acquire the skills needed to strengthen their business. Small businesses help create and sustain jobs in the community and preserve opportunities for hardworking Latino families to call San Francisco their permanent home. Through MEDA, Latino microenterprises and minority-owned small businesses can access the funds needed to thrive. For more information on how you can benefit from these services, please contact MEDA today!




MEDA Tax Program Report

Simmi came to the United States when she was 21 years old, with no knowledge of English or any familiarity with the American way of life. Over time, she started to notice that people took interest in her traditional handmade outfits from her native India.  She soon started selling her outfits from her home and outside her church.  Confident that her hobby could grow into a business, Simmi came to MEDA and Plaza Adelante looking for a space to lease for her new venture.

[EXPAND Read More] MEDA also provided Simmi with a $1,500 startup grant and in the Fall of 2011 she opened a retail shop in El Mercadito, MEDA’s business incubator at Plaza Adelante.   Now making up to $400 a day, she’s been able to quit her part time job and now devotes all of her time to her business.

We are extremely proud of Simmi’s success, and we wish her the best of luck in achieving her family’s business and financial goals! [/EXPAND]



The Mission to Become a Promise Neighborhood

We are proud to announce that in December 2011, MEDA was awarded a planning grant from the Department of Education to create the Mission Promise Neighborhood.  In the coming months, MEDA will develop a plan to create a community of opportunity in the Mission to make sure that children learn, grow and succeed from cradle to college to career, while also ensuring that their families become economically prosperous. MEDA is partnering with the San Francisco Unified School District, the United Way of the Bay Area, the University of California at Berkeley’s Center for Latino Policy Research, the Glen Price Group, and numerous community based organizations, government entities, and private sector partners to complete this major neighborhood planning initiative. We will initially target four schools – César Chávez Elementary, Bryant Elementary, Everett Middle School, and John O’Connell High School – to carry out this work.

To learn more about the project and participate, please contact Victor Corral at and 415.282.3334 ext. 134.

SparkPoint Launches in Plaza Adelante


SparkPoint clients who use 2 or more services are 3 times as likely to reach their goals than clients who use only 1 service.

MEDA is proud to announce that this January saw the successful launch of SparkPoint San Francisco at Plaza Adelante, the ninth SparkPoint Center in the Bay Area.  An initiative of United Way of the Bay Area, SparkPoint Centers are one-stop, financial-education centers that offer a full range of services to help families and individuals achieve long-term financial stability and reach their financial goals.

[EXPAND Read more]

Agencies that have joined forces as SparkPoint partners to provide services that support the financial self-sufficiency of our clients include: MEDA, CAMINOS Pathways Learning Center, Causa Justa::Just Cause, Good Samaritan Family Resource Center, Wages, Jewish Vocational Services and Mission Hiring Hall. Some examples of services provided include: savings/debt/credit coaching; job training and placement; tax preparation; computer skills training; micro-enterprise development; housing counseling (for renters and homeowners); and child development services.

To learn more about SparkPoint San Francisco – call 415.282.3334 x129 or [/EXPAND]



Program Highlight: Plaza Adelante Sparkpoint

To improve economic and social conditions in communities across the country, MEDA opened the Latino Tech-Net, a network of 18 public computer centers in 13 cities with a focus on helping entrepreneurs establish and grow small businesses. These centers provide free access to broadband, digital literacy classes, and technology workshops that help local residents take their ideas and expand them into productive, profitable entities.

Recovery Act funds have allowed the project to deploy more than 348 new public computer workstations. Along with these computers, residents gain access in MEDA’s business development program. The program offers workshops and one-on-one consultations on a variety of topics including capital assessment, business planning, budgeting, and marketing.

In addition to small business owners, MEDA’s computer centers also offer resources to help community residents develop the skills needed to find and retain a job. Residents can participate in digital literacy classes such as computer basics, Internet fundamentals, financial education, and online banking. Individuals can also receive assistance with resume creation, job searches, and interview preparation.

To learn more about Latino Tech-Net visit [/EXPAND]


MEDA Welcomes Leigh Phillips as New Board Chair

MEDA is proud to announce the election of Leigh Phillips as our new Board Chair. Leigh Phillips has served on MEDA’s board for one year and is taking over for Orson Aguilar as he steps down after four years of service as Board Chair.

Leigh Phillips is the Director of the San Francisco Office of Financial Empowerment (SF OFE). She has worked for Treasurer José Cisneros since December 2004, launching the country’s second “Office of Financial Empowerment” in 2009. Leigh has successfully managed the creation and implementation of several key initiatives including: The “Bank On” program,, The “Kindergarten to College” program, The San Francisco Smart Money Network and the successful two-year pilot of the City’s “Working Families Credit” program.

We would also like to welcome our new Board members: Jenny Flores, Citi; Paul Correa, CorLand Consulting; Myrna Melgar, Affordable Housing Consultant; and Susan Harper, Bank of America.

We look forward to the contributions they will bring from their many years of asset development experience. Please join us in a big thank you to Orson Aguilar for his service, and a welcome to Leigh Phillips and our new Board members!