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SF Small Business Week. Celebrate Small Business.

Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA): Success is in Your Hands.

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

#SFSBW2018 sat down with some of the top small business resources in the city to find out what they are doing for the community. Today we hear from Edwin Rodriguez, Business Development Program Manager at the Mission Economic Development Agency, or MEDA.

Mission Economic Development Agency

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

As a result of our free business services, 48 small businesses were created or expanded by our clients, primarily Latino immigrants, in 2017. This translated to the creation of 60 jobs in the community. MEDA’s Adelante Fund CDFI disbursed 21 loans, totaling $656,000 in capital for small businesses who could not access capital at traditional lenders. Of those 21 loans, 76 percent were immigrant-owned ventures.

Over 100,000 square feet of commercial space has been preserved or produced for Mission-based nonprofits, small businesses and arts institutions. We have housed at least 18 small businesses.

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. In 2015, we launched our own business-loan program, Adelante Fund, with an accessible product for business owners looking to start or expand business.

San Francisco has been experiencing quite the transformation. What is the Mission Economic Development Agency 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, Adelante Fund. 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 MEDA ensure that the small businesses that make this city unique are able to stay in San Francisco?

MEDA provides culturally relevant assistance to navigate the system. MEDA provides business services in Spanish, with more than 70 percent of microentrepreneurs receiving our services being Spanish speakers (we also provide business services to English speakers.) Our services include assisting business owners to apply for business loans through our Adelante Fund 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?

Success is in your hands. Take advantage of resources available. Learn something new every day. You can achieve your goals, as long as you have the passion, motivation and support.

Can you share a real-life success story of how you’ve supported small business?

D’Maize Restaurant is a local business started in San Francisco in 2013. The owners, Luis Estrada and Zenaida Merlin, have received business services from MEDA’s business-development program since the budding entrepreneurs were in the planning phase. With our assistance, the couple launched D’Maize catering service, while continuing to receive business services from our program. In addition, Luis and Zenaida also accessed a business loan in 2016 from MEDA’s loan program, Adelante Fund, to open their first brick-and-mortar restaurant, D’Maize Restaurant located on the Calle 24 Latino Cultural District. Their business growth now includes two food trucks and D’Maize Café, the latter located at San Francisco City College’s main campus. D’Maize has created15, employing local residents. The couple continues to receive support from MEDA and other local partners.

MEDA - Small business San Francisco

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