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SF Small Business Week. Celebrate Small Business.

Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA): Plan your future. Plan your success.

#SFSBW2019 asked some of our resources to share insights, best practices, and examples of how they help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from Edwin Rodriguez, Business Development Program Manager of the Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA).

Mission Economic Development Agency MEDA San Francisco Small Business Week

What is your Organization’s Mission?

Rooted in the Mission and focused on San Francisco, the Mission Economic Development Agency’s mission is to strengthen low-and moderate-income Latino families by promoting economic equity and social justice through asset building and community development.

What are MEDA’s recent accomplishments that demonstrate how you have helped the small business community?

As a result of MEDA’s free business services, in 2018 there were 93 small businesses created or expanded by our clients, who are primarily Latino immigrants. This translated to the creation of 73 jobs in the community.

MEDA’s Fondo Adelante CDFI disbursed 21 loans, totaling $675,000 in capital for small businesses who could not access capital at traditional lenders.

Over 100,000 square feet of commercial space has been preserved or produced for Mission-based nonprofits, small businesses and arts & cultural institutions, all threatened with displacement in a neighborhood of escalating commercial rents. We have housed at least 23 family-serving businesses via the City’s Small Sites Program, which allows nonprofits, such as MEDA, to buy four- to 25-unit buildings with tenants vulnerable to no-fault eviction. Additionally, there are nine Mission-based nonprofits and arts & cultural organizations slated to move into our five new affordable-housing developments in the pipeline.

To foster business stability, MEDA is implementing the San Francisco Women’s Entrepreneurship Fund in partnership with the City of San Francisco, thereby providing small grants of up to $5,000. From its launch in April 2018 through the year’s end, 18 female-owned, local businesses were funded, totaling $90,000.

What tools and resources has your organization created to help small businesses tap into new opportunities to reach new customers, increase their revenue, and grow their business?

MEDA provides customized technical assistance to small businesses seeking new opportunities. We help microentrepreneurs write their business plan and determine financial projections for their new venture.

To create greater visibility, in 2018 the Mission Economic Development Agency reimagined the first floor of its neighborhood center, Plaza Adelante, which features a microbusiness incubator. Five spaces were moved to have window access. Additionally, three 100-square-foot food stalls were constructed, anchoring a new community room.

What is MEDA doing to attract and support new and younger small business owners? What resources do you offer to entrepreneurs and small businesses to get started?

As part of MEDA’s model, our business services include assistance in writing a business and marketing plan. We help businesses with loan packages that later may be submitted to MEDA’s loan program, Fondo Adelante. MEDA is offering the opportunity to some business owners to apply for a commercial space through the City’s Small Sites Program, which allows our nonprofit to buy properties.

San Francisco is known for its diverse culture. How does your organization ensure that the small businesses that make this city unique are able to stay in San Francisco?

MEDA continues providing culturally relevant assistance to navigate the system. MEDA provides business services in English and Spanish, the latter the language of choice for more than 70 percent of our microentrepreneur clients. MEDA’s services include assisting business owners to apply for capital through our community loan arm, Fondo Adelante and to access to commercial spaces in the Mission District through our Small Sites Program, which is part of MEDA’s Community Real Estate program.

What words of advice or wisdom would you like to share with small business owners?

Plan your future; plan your success. If you are passionate about what you do, plan your business and take advantage of resources available for microentrepreneurs — no doubt you can succeed. MEDA is proud to leverage the Latino and immigrant communities’ entrepreneurial spirit and drive.

Please share with us some real-life examples of how you’ve supported small businesses

Transportes David is a business that was started by Edith Amaya Garcia in August 2012. This business originally came about as a direct response to the unemployment of her husband, who was the sole provider for their family. Using his knowledge of the shipping industry and Edith’s organizational and leadership role, they leveraged their life savings of $25,000 to start their business.

Transportes David is a shipping/transportation business that will transport clients’ goods — and even their entire apartment’s contents — to Mexico and Central America. They are a full-service provider, meaning they do not rely on courier services or third-party services to deliver these goods. Transportes David will pick up your freight and deliver it through their business locations in Central America and Mexico.

This business, alongside their second business named Mission Soccer, currently provides the family’s entire livelihood. Edith is a savvy entrepreneur, and we have been happy here at MEDA to push forward her business via our Business Development Program and with a grant from the San Francisco Women’s Entrepreneurship Fund, which they won earlier this year. Through this much-appreciated grant, Edith was able to purchase a larger vehicle to continue to expand her services and capacity in the San Francisco Bay Area.


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