In 2005, a dream of business ownership became a reality when Mr. Juan Gonzalez opened Tamales House, a restaurant specializing in Mexican tamales and serving authentic Hispanic food in North Hills, California. Read More
Hello fellow VEDC board members,
Last week I had an opportunity to visit the Watts Entrepreneur Business Accelerator (WEBA) as a guest of Adrian Veliz, who is the project manager for this community program and the South Los Angeles area. As a board member, this visit was an opportunity to see VEDC’s operations from its most impactful vantage point: through the eyes of our clients and a community that can greatly benefit from our economic development programs.
Adrian and I briefly visited a local food stand owner who is bringing healthy foods to the community. This particular entrepreneur had a previous loan from a predatory lender who charged him extremely high interest, and the VEDC was able to step in and fix the problem with a better loan and much more reasonable terms. Our second visit was to a woman-owned business focused on tire recycling. Two months ago, she was in a very difficult position with her business, and Adrian was able to help her though an intense regulatory process so that she could keep her business afloat with renewed energy. She is now a client of VEDC. I met a third entrepreneur over the phone, who owns an interesting baby blanket manufacturing company. Her story was truly inspirational, and it was obvious that both Adrian and VEDC are playing an important role in her personal life and in the life of her business. I also received an informative tour of Watts and some local history from Adrian.
In my opinion, the importance of this visit was significant. As board members, we spend most of our time supporting management with the running of the organization. While this continues to be our focus (and it is an extremely important focus), I have to share that my enthusiasm has been renewed– I could see, first hand, the impact we make on the community and the people and businesses who need us. I suggested to my fellow board members that we may wish, from time to time, to schedule board meetings in some of our clients’ communities. WEBA is a good example, located at the Macedonia Baptist Church, with ample meeting space and good parking availability. We may also wish to invite clients to our board meetings for brief updates on their businesses and to learn more about the direct impact we make. The long-term sustainability of VEDC in communities who desperately need us is a top priority, and one for which we are all proud and excited.
Looking ahead to the success of even more small businesses and for the continuing opportunity to work and to meet such interesting community and business leaders.
Grant to provide assistance to minority and female entrepreneurs
VEDC, a leading nonprofit lender in San Fernando Valley, announced that Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) has awarded them with a $125,000 grant. The contribution will positively impact minority and women-owned small businesses based in low income communities in a number of important ways, including the availability of small business loans.
The Wells Fargo grant will further enable VEDC to offer a host of professional services at no charge to the entrepreneurial community, including start-to-finish loan application support, one-on-one consulting, highly specialized training, and various workshops and classes available through the Pacoima Entrepreneur Center and the Watts Entrepreneur Business Accelerator.
“Helping small business owners fulfill their dreams is one of the most important things we do at Wells Fargo. We are proud to support VEDC’s mission of providing local jobs and assistance to small business owners,” said Patrick Nygren, Wells Fargo San Fernando Valley region bank president.
How nonprofit makes a difference: Whimsical Charm – Rosie Arias started Whimsical Charm in 2013 after spending more than a decade in the fashion industry, and her products— high-quality baby blankets and clothing— were soon featured in retail stores across the country. When she needed support growing her business, Rosie heard about VEDC, which operates the Watts Entrepreneur Business Accelerator (WEBA) to assist fledgling, female-owned businesses in the community. “From day one, everybody at VEDC and WEBA was extremely nice and supportive, and the loan application process was structured and stress-free. When they had a question, somebody actually picked up the phone to speak with me. Best of all, VEDC understood where I was coming from as an entrepreneur. They took the time to understand my business and vision, and take note of my experience in the fashion industry. They also offered free expert advice and counseling in various business areas, which I happily took advantage of. I believe you can never learn enough.”
“This generous $125,000 grant will be used to further bolster our extensive lineup of services designed to help minority and women entrepreneurs in low-to-moderate income communities, such as Pacoima and Watts,” said Alex Guerrero, chief development officer at VEDC. “We couldn’t be more appreciative of Wells Fargo Bank’s continued support of VEDC and its mission which provides resources to help these very talented people striving not only to achieve their own entrepreneurial dreams, but committed to making a difference in their communities.”
VEDC works to create and sustain jobs and businesses in California and the New York Tri-State area by providing high-quality small business development services, making them more available, sustainable and impactful. A leading non-profit small business lender, with community-based loan funds and unique microloan products, VEDC supports minority and low-to-moderate income entrepreneurs with educational resources, 1-on-1 consulting, and access to capital.
About Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.9 trillion in assets. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 8,400 locations, 13,000 ATMs, the internet (wellsfargo.com) and mobile banking, and has offices in 42 countries and territories to support customers who conduct business in the global economy. With approximately 268,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 25 on Fortune’s 2017 rankings of America’s largest corporations. News, insights and perspectives from Wells Fargo are also available at Wells Fargo Stories.
Hundreds of entrepreneurs in South Los Angeles will have free access to online tools and services through VEDC and Macedonia CDC partnership.Read More