Business giants are making big headlines voicing their support for the LGBTQ community. Why? Read to find out and learn how you can help with your small business.

Business giants are making big headlines voicing their support for the LGBTQ community. Why? Read to find out and learn how you can help with your small business.

 

Business giants are making big headlines voicing their support for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) community. From American Express to IKEA, the business world seems to be opening its doors to inclusivity and equality. Why? Because being inclusive is better for your business. In fact, 64% of Americans would be more likely to buy from a company who supports LGBTQ individuals.

Not only will supporting this demographic benefit your bottom line, but it will boost productivity of your employees and attract top talent who cares about their employer’s mission. Employees who leave positive reviews about working for your business may mention your inclusion to others who will spread the word. Organic, word-of-mouth advertising is still the best way to grow your small business.

Easy Ideas To Support The LGBTQ Community

As a small business, you don’t have millions of extra capital on fancy awareness campaigns. Here are a few realistic ways you can celebrate diversity and support the LGBTQ community:

  1. Have a conversation with your employees. You shouldn’t expect anyone to come forward with their sexuality, but make sure you foster an open workplace where employees feel safe. Invest in tolerance training and check your bias when hiring.
  2. Do your research. It’s easier to stereotype, but it is more important to spend a little time learning about this demographic. Read about their experiences, discrimination, struggles, and passions. People are unique no matter what their sexual orientation, and you can best support them when you do your research.
  3. Hire and train managers who reflect your commitment. Having bad managers on your team will cost your business in reputation, employee satisfaction, worker productivity, and profits.
  4. Consider hanging up a small sign of your support. You can find lots of stickers, decals, and signs that you can post in your business – customers won’t think it is out of place next to your Yelp and Trip Advisor stickers.
  5. Check the diversity of your ads and marketing materials. Do you only show photos of heterosexual couples? Consider showing different types of families and couples for your promotional materials.
  6. Offer health insurance to your full time employees that covers gender reassignment surgery. As a small business, you may not have employees take advantage of this like big businesses do, but that you do will be noticed and appreciated.
  7. Support other LGBTQ businesses. Whether you’re looking for a new supplier or wholesaler, a community partner for a local event, or have personal shopping to do, consider looking specifically for LGBTQ-owned businesses.
  8. Donate profits to organizations that help the LGBTQ community. Your business doesn’t need to lose a large portion of revenue, but even choosing to donate a small percentage during Pride Month will go a long way towards showing your local community that you care.
  9. Sponsor an event. Check with local LGBTQ youth centers, non-profits, civil rights groups, and clubs for small events your business could sponsor.
  10. If your business has a single-stall restroom, make it gender neutral. Everyone just uses the “wrong” restroom when there’s a line anyways.

 

For information about Opportunity Fund’s small business loans, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or loans@opportunityfund.org.  For questions about your existing loan or other customer service questions, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or sbhelp@opportunityfund.org.

Loans are subject to credit review. Additional documentation may be required for credit approval. We are an Equal Opportunity Lender. Loans will be made or arranged pursuant to California Department of Corporations Finance Lenders License #6050609.


Opportunity Fund is tackling economic inequality so that hard work and perseverance means a shot at getting ahead, not just struggling to get by. Our programs are supported by a community of donors and investors whose contributions help to fund small businesses, support college students, and build stronger families and vibrant neighborhoods. Since 1994, the team has deployed $600 million and helped 20,000 families earn, save and invest in their own futures. Opportunity Fund has earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator, for our commitment to accountability and transparency.

Visit us online at http://opportunityfundloan.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter

This is your bi-weekly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events from August 1 through 15.

Every two weeks, we’re sharing and promoting free or affordable events that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your bi-weekly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events from August 1 through 15.

Northern California/Sacramento

Women Mean Business: Getting Ready for Holiday Sales
Date: August 8, 2018 | 6:00 pm PDT – 8:00 pm PDT
Location: 275 5th St. San Francisco, CA 94103 (map it)
Contact: Erin Morris | emorris@rencenter.org | (415) 348-6227
Organization: Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center
Fee: $15

It’s never too early to prepare your business for a busy holiday season! Join us for an evening of networking, panel discussion, and light dinner with experienced business owners and experts on:

  • Digital marketing
  • Inventory
  • Finance
  • E-commerce

You don’t have to be a business owner to attend this event! Anyone who is interested in hearing from experts on these topics is welcome. Speakers include Jennie Lennick of Jenny Lemons, Laurie Kanes of 12 Small Things and Laurie O’Hara of Working Solutions.

Click here to register for this event.

Marketing your business
Date: August 9, 2018 | 6:00 pm PDT – 8:00 pm PDT
Location: 1887 Monterey Rd. 2nd Floor San Jose, CA, 95112 (map it)
Contact: Mimi Hernandez | mimihndz@sbdchc.org | (408) 385-9151
Organization: Silicon Valley SBDC
Fee: Free

This free workshop will help business owners develop tools to find clients and extend your client base to increase sales.

Click here to register for this event.

Women’s Empowerment Night
Date: August 13, 2018 | 6:00 pm PDT – 8:00 pm PDT
Location: Moseley’s Hilltop Tasting Room
2158 Hilltop Dr. Redding, CA 96002 (map it)
Contact: info@e-jedi.org | (530) 926-6670
Organization: Jefferson Economic Development Institute
Fee: Free

AWE Redding California, WE Thrive Women’s Business Center at JEDI Group, and Women of Vision Movement invite you to an evening of networking, wine, and fun at Escape Redding.

When women support each other, incredible things happen. Come and witness magic unfold as we embrace our individual uniqueness, make new connections, strengthen bonds. and share creative approaches to career, business, and life!

Agenda:

  • 6pm – 7pm: Networking and Introductions
  • 7pm – 8pm: Optional fun at Escape Redding or stay in the Moseley’s Tasting Room to make new connections. Purchase your own wine at Moseley’s Tasting Room.

Click here to register for this event.

Southern California/San Diego

Cash Flow Management
Date: August 8, 2018 | 10:00 am PDT – 12:00 pm PDT
Location: 1055 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 900B Los Angeles, CA 90017 (map it)
Contact: Daniel Ing | ding@pacela.org |(213) 353-9400
Organization: PACE Finance Corporation
Fee: Free

Understanding cash flow is crucial for every business to ensure healthy growth and business expansion. Join this workshop to learn:

  • What is cash flow
  • How to manage cash flow effectively
  • How to create a sound financial plan
  • How to calculate a break-even point

Click here to register for this event.

Getting Started with Social Media – Using Social Media to Drive Leads
Date: August 8, 2018 | 1:00 pm PDT – 3:00 pm PDT
Location: Chaffey College—Info Tech Center 3rd Floor Room 310
13170 7th Street Chino, CA 91710 (map it)
Contact: Diana Cescolini | diana.cescolini@scorevolunteer.org | (951) 652-4390
Organization: Inland Empire SCORE
Fee: $20

Learn the difference between Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google+ for your business in this seminar on social media.

Topics include:

  • How to choose the right social media platforms for your business
  • How to get started with each platform
  • How to use each social media platform to drive business

Click here to register for this event.

Empowering Mompreneurs: 3 Simple Steps to Avoid Burnout
Date: August 15, 2018 | 6:00 pm PDT – 8:00 pm PDT
Location: 1003 East Cooley Dr. Suite 109 Colton, CA 92324 (map it)
Contact: (909) 890-1242
Organization: Inland Empire Women’s Business Center
Fee: $20

Being a mompreneur is about more than just work-life balance. It takes organization, management, and a serious commitment. Join scientist and mompreneur facilitator Tonya Moore and learn simple, proven strategies on how to have both a happy family and a thriving business.

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

Google Tools to Start or Manage Your Business – Part 1 of 2
Date: August 2, 2018 | 4:00 pm PDT – 5:00 pm PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Sarah Espinosa | sespinos@uncfsu.edu | (910) 672-2683
Organization: Fayetteville State University Veterans Business Outreach Center
Fee: Free

Learn about no-cost software options from Google that can help you start or manage your business without adding extra costs to your bottom line.

Click here to register for this event and find information about Part 2 here.

After Lunch Webinar Series: A Small Business Guide to Intellectual Property
Date: August 9, 2018 | 1:00 pm PDT – 2:30 pm PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: rnsbdc@business.rutgers.edu | (973) 353-5950
Organization: Rutgers Newark (N.J.) SBDC
Fee: Free

If you have an idea, product, or service you believe in, you want to protect it. The Intellectual Property (IP) Basics Webinar is designed to give entrepreneurs, small business owners, and independent inventors the knowledge and tools to protect their assets and integrity of their business.

This workshop will help you to better understand the different types of IP and how to protect them. At the end of this workshop, you will be able to:

  • Obtain a clear understanding of what intellectual property is
  • Differentiate between patents, trade secrets, copyright protection, and trademarks
  • Identify issues generally found in patents, trade secrets, copyrights, and trademarks
  • Obtain helpful resources for guidance

Click here to register for this event.

4 Easy Steps to Setting Up your Business Website
Date: August 15, 2018 | 9:00 am PDT – 10:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: (678) 335-5600 ext. 120
Organization: Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs
Fee: Free

This webinar will cover four easy steps to set up a website that will drive business and increase sales:

  • Selecting a web domain and hosting service
  • Setting up a customized business email address
  • Choosing the best website for your brand
  • Including the right content for your website

Click here to register for this event.

We’re looking for upcoming events to promote to small business owners like you. If you have an event you’d like to share with fellow business owners, contact us at sblending@opportunityfund.org.


For information about Opportunity Fund’s small business loans, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or loans@opportunityfund.org.  For questions about your existing loan or other customer service questions, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or sbhelp@opportunityfund.org.

Loans are subject to credit review. Additional documentation may be required for credit approval. We are an Equal Opportunity Lender. Loans will be made or arranged pursuant to California Department of Corporations Finance Lenders License #6050609.


Opportunity Fund is tackling economic inequality so that hard work and perseverance means a shot at getting ahead, not just struggling to get by. Our programs are supported by a community of donors and investors whose contributions help to fund small businesses, support college students, and build stronger families and vibrant neighborhoods. Since 1994, the team has deployed $600 million and helped 20,000 families earn, save and invest in their own futures. Opportunity Fund has earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator, for our commitment to accountability and transparency.

Visit us online at opportunityfundloan.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Kei found almost instant success when she launched her scones at Los Angeles farmers markets. As she grew Sugarbird Sweets, she needed working capital to keep up with demand. Two small business loans with Opportunity Fund have helped Kei keep Sugarbird on track for scalable growth.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too.

Kei found almost instant success when she launched her scones at Los Angeles farmers markets. As she grew Sugarbird Sweets, she needed working capital to keep up with demand. Two small business loans with Opportunity Fund have helped Kei keep Sugarbird on track for scalable growth.

Recipe for Success

Kei Okumura started her small business selling batch-blended organic teas at Los Angeles area farmers markets. Sugarbird Sweets grew when she decided to add fresh baked scones to her offerings at the farmers markets. Her brand grew organically into wholesale to cafes and restaurants across Los Angeles.

“I studied pastry making in Paris at culinary school two years prior,” Kei said. “I applied my pastry background to figure out what would go well with tea. Scones were the perfect combination.”

Kei had to create something new and fresh to make her products stand out. She had a presence at some of the biggest and most competitive farmers markets for vendors, which allowed her to establish her new business.

Her built in customer base helped get the word out about Sugarbird’s new scone offerings. The initial two flavors, Mixed Berry and Dark Chocolate Chip, grew into over 18 different unique herb, tea, and seasonal fruit inspired combinations.

“People came every week to get the scones,” Kei said. “I started out with two dozen, then twenty dozen, then thirty dozen. We’d always sell out.”

Kei’s signature creation, the white chocolate matcha scone, helped propel her business to even bigger success. The increased demand put a strain on Sugarbird’s production capacity and resources.

“For five years, I was renting kitchen spaces to keep up with the farmers market and our wholesale clients,” Kei said. “As the markets and wholesale accounts got busier, I would get inquiries for catering tea parties. That became a huge part of Sugarbird and helped us grow organically.”

Kei was able to find her own space for Sugarbird in downtown Los Angeles, thanks to the immense growth of her business. Almost every step up to bigger sales meant a roadblock for Kei to overcome. The next phase came from selling her products wholesale to vendors like Mendocino Farms and opening an Amazon.com storefront.

“I needed additional funds to keep my business going,” Kei said. “It was difficult trying to manage all the  30 plus accounts. I was running into cash flow problems.”

Rising to the Challenge

Kei reached out to Opportunity Fund. She connected with loan consultant Robert Zapata, who helped close a $10,000 loan for Sugarbird Sweets in April 2016. The working capital helped Kei finance the necessary production increase and provided her with the right funding solution for her small business.

“I tried other lenders and banks,” she said. “I had a hard time with the SBA. It took over eight months.”

Robert took the time to understand Kei’s business and work with what she needed to grow. Kei applied for a second loan in May 2017 for $20,000 to help her continue Sugarbird’s scalable growth.

Sugarbird Sweets - Scones

Sugarbird’s freshly made scones are a huge hit around Los Angeles (photo courtesy of Michael Microulis)


“We’re looking for new ventures in the retail market,” Kei said. “We’re launching a product of frozen, ready to bake scones for the supermarket in 2019. I’m looking to grow marketing, budget, and production for that.”

We’re happy to support hardworking moms like Kei and we’re proud to watch her grow from a great idea at the farmer’s market to an up-and-coming retail brand.


We hope this story has inspired you, too.  At Opportunity Fund, we offer easy-to-get, fast, and affordable small business loans to help small business owners succeed.  Visit our home page to find out more.

Opportunity Fund is tackling economic inequality so that hard work and perseverance means a shot at getting ahead, not just struggling to get by. Our programs are supported by a community of donors and investors whose contributions help to fund small businesses, support college students, and build stronger families and vibrant neighborhoods. Since 1994, the team has deployed $600 million and helped 20,000 families earn, save and invest in their own futures. Opportunity Fund has earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator, for our commitment to accountability and transparency.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Opportunity Fund featured on Mt. Shasta News 

A Program Created to Make More Loans Available for Small Business Owners

Coupling credit needs with some strategic assistance while developing a business is “the secret sauce to sustainability and prosperity,” according to Jefferson Economic Development Institute Executive Director Nancy Swift.

That recipe is at the foundation of Opportunity Fund Empowering Women, a pilot program in which Women’s Business Center at JEDI is participating with the goal of making more loans available to small business owners.

The program offers working capital loans that reward borrowers with 2% off the annual interest rate when they apply for free mentoring through the Women’s Business Center at JEDI.

Such mentoring has been shown to have a significant long-term impact on business revenue, according to research and surveys.

Loan amounts range from $5,000 up to $100,000.

A loan review will consider aspects of the borrower’s personal experience and business knowledge. Once approved, small women-owned businesses and entrepreneurs with as little as one year in business can receive funding in two to five days, according to a press release.

While the program is geared toward women, JEDI Program & Marketing Coordinator Jenny Payton said funds are available to men as well.

Opportunity Fund, described in a press release as the largest nonprofit lender to small businesses in California and a national leader for the microfinance movement, announced the Empowering Women program last week.

It describes the pilot program with Women’s Business Center at JEDI as an effort “to educate, mentor, and provide access to affordable, responsible capital for women-owned small businesses.”

“We are so thrilled to be part of this innovative approach to getting more women the credit they deserve and need to grow their businesses,” Swift states in the release. “We applaud the discount that the Opportunity Fund is giving to those women who couple their credit need with some strategic assistance to develop their business. This is the secret sauce to sustainability and prosperity. We know more women in the CA North State need capital for their businesses and we are pleased to be partners with the Opportunity Fund in providing that capital and assistance to truly thrive.”

“By ensuring that women have equal opportunity to succeed as business founders and owners we help strengthen communities, families and local economies,” said Luz Urrutia, CEO, Opportunity Fund. “When I was an entrepreneur, I remember being denied credit and the long path to growing and scaling businesses. Our mission is to address inequities in access to transparent, affordable credit that limit opportunities for hardworking women.”

The press release points to this “Women-owned Small Business Snapshot:”

‒ One in three small businesses is woman-owned and 99 percent of women-owned businesses are small businesses.

‒ Women-owned businesses account for 39% of all U.S. firms, but receive only 16% of all traditional business loans.

‒ Women of color lead four out of ten small businesses.

‒ Latina owned businesses have grown 137% since 2006.

“Access to responsible capital is the lifeblood of a business, and the systematic barriers to affordable credit for women must be honestly addressed and confronted,” added Gwendy Donaker Brown, Vice President of Research and Policy. “Opportunity Fund has a long history of seeking policy change that supports equity and economic opportunity. This campaign puts that effort into practice on a deeper level.”

OFEW is part of a broad initiative by Opportunity Fund to build a community and develop resources to support women’s economic empowerment, according to the press release. “Currently in development, Opportunity Fund’s CEO Luz Urrutia is building a group of advisors to assess the landscape on what Opportunity Fund can do to deepen its support for women entrepreneurs by developing our own financial products and services and identifying partners in the community to provide complimentary support services.”

For more information or to apply for a loan through Opportunity Fund Empowering Women, contact Women’s Business Center at JEDI at info@e-jedi.org call (530) 926-6670, or visitwww.e-jedi.org.

Opportunity Fund featured on Siskiyou Daily  News

JEDI Partners with Opportunity Fund

Opportunity Fund, the largest nonprofit lender to small businesses in California and national leader for the microfinance movement, announced recently the Opportunity Fund Empowering Women, a pilot program with Women’s Business Center at Jefferson Economic Development Institute to educate, mentor and provide access to affordable, responsible capital for women-owned small businesses.

Opportunity Fund, the largest nonprofit lender to small businesses in California and national leader for the microfinance movement, announced recently the Opportunity Fund Empowering Women, a pilot program with Women’s Business Center at Jefferson Economic Development Institute to educate, mentor and provide access to affordable, responsible capital for women-owned small businesses.

The program offers working capital loans that rewards borrowers with 2 percent off the annual interest rate when they apply for free mentoring through JEDI, which is shown to have a significant long-term impact on business revenue, stated a recent press release from JEDI.

An OFEW loan review considers certain aspects of the borrower’s personal experience and business knowledge. Small women-owned businesses and entrepreneurs with as little as one year in business can receive funding in two to five days, once approved, the release said. Loan amounts range from $5,000 up to $100,000.

Opportunity Fund has partnered with LURN, and several like-minded partners throughout the state including Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation and Leadership for Urban Renewal in Southern California to pilot Opportunity Fund Empowering Women by providing mentoring and technical assistance to borrowers.

“We are so thrilled to be part of this innovative approach to getting more women the credit they deserve and need to grow their businesses,” states Nancy Swift, JEDI executive director and host to the Women’s Business Center. “We applaud the discount that the Opportunity Fund is giving to those women who couple their credit need with some strategic assistance to develop their business. This is the secret sauce to sustainability and prosperity. We know more women in the CA North State need capital for their businesses and we are pleased to be partners with the Opportunity Fund in providing that capital and assistance to truly thrive.”

“By ensuring that women have equal opportunity to succeed as business founders and owners we help strengthen communities, families and local economies,” said Luz Urrutia, CEO, Opportunity Fund. “When I was an entrepreneur, I remember being denied credit and the long path to growing and scaling businesses. Our mission is to address inequities in access to transparent, affordable credit that limit opportunities for hardworking women.”

Women-owned Small Business Snapshot:

‒ One in three small businesses is woman-owned and 99 percent of women-owned businesses are small businesses.

‒ Women-owned businesses account for 39 percent of all U.S. firms, but receive only 16 percent of all traditional business loans.

‒ Women of color lead four out of ten small businesses.

‒ Latina owned businesses have grown 137 percent since 2006.

“Access to responsible capital is the lifeblood of a business, and the systematic barriers to affordable credit for women must be honestly addressed and confronted,” added Gwendy Donaker Brown, vice president of Research and Policy. “Opportunity Fund has a long history of seeking policy change that supports equity and economic opportunity. This campaign puts that effort into practice on a deeper level.”

OFEW is part of a broad initiative by Opportunity Fund to build a community and develop resources to support women’s economic empowerment. Currently in development, Opportunity Fund’s CEO Luz Urrutia is building a group of advisors to assess the landscape on what Opportunity Fund can do to deepen its support for women entrepreneurs by developing our own financial products and services and identifying partners in the community to provide complimentary support services.

For more information or to apply for a loan through Opportunity Fund Empowering Women, contact Women’s Business Center at JEDI at info@e-jedi.org, call (530) 926-6670 or visit www.e-jedi.org.

All loan applications are subject to credit review; 2 percent discount applies when applicants sign up for JEDI’s program. Opportunity Fund is an Equal Opportunity Lender and is a California licensed lender #6050609.

JEDI is committed to increasing the economic well-being of people and communities through business development and local wealth creation. Operating in the far northern regions of California for the past 21 years, JEDI has assisted thousands of women and men start and grow business and get the capital they need. JEDI celebrates the growth of small businesses as an economic revival tool for people, families and the communities they live and operate in.

Opportunity Fund believes that small amounts of money and financial advice can help people make permanent and lasting change in their own lives, driving economic mobility and building stronger communities. Since 1994, Opportunity Fund has helped thousands of families earn, save and invest in their own futures. As the nation’s largest nonprofit CDFI supporting small businesses, Opportunity Fund provided more than 2,000 loans to underserved small businesses owners last year, totaling $65 million in investments that created and sustained 6,300 jobs. www.OpportunityFundLoan.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

OPPORTUNITY FUND, THE NATION’S LEADING NONPROFIT SMALL BUSINESS LENDER, AND WOMEN’S BUSINESS CENTER AT JEDI ANNOUNCE PARTNERSHIP TO INCREASE ACCESS TO CAPITAL FOR NORTHERN CALIFORNIA WOMEN SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS 

Mt. Shasta, CA – Opportunity Fund, the largest nonprofit lender to small businesses in California and national leader for the microfinance movement, today announced Opportunity Fund Empowering Women (OFEW), a pilot program with Women’s Business Center at Jefferson Economic Development Institute (JEDI) to educate, mentor, and provide access to affordable, responsible capital for women-owned small businesses. 

The program offers working capital loans that rewards borrowers with 2%*off the annual interest rate when they apply for free mentoring through JEDI, which is shown to have a significant long-term impact on business revenue. 

An OFEW loan review considers certain aspects of the borrower’s personal experience and business knowledge. Small women-owned businesses and entrepreneurs with as little as one year in business can receive funding in two to five days, once approved. Loan amounts range from $5,000 up to $100,000. 

Opportunity Fund has partnered with JEDI, and several like-minded community partners throughout the state including Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation and Leadership for Urban Renewal in Southern California to pilot Opportunity Fund Empowering Women by providing mentoring and technical assistance to borrowers. 

“We are so thrilled to be part of this innovative approach to getting more women the credit they deserve and need to grow their businesses” states Nancy Swift, JEDI Executive Director and host to the Women’s Business Center.  “We applaud the discount that the Opportunity Fund is giving to those women who couple their credit need with some strategic assistance to develop their business.  This is the secret sauce to sustainability and prosperity.  We know more women in the CA North State need capital for their businesses and we are pleased to be partners with the Opportunity Fund in providing that capital and assistance to truly thrive.”

 “By ensuring that women have equal opportunity to succeed as business founders and owners we help strengthen communities, families and local economies,” said Luz Urrutia, CEO, Opportunity Fund. “When I was an entrepreneur, I remember being denied credit and the long path to growing and scaling businesses. Our mission is to address inequities in access to transparent, affordable credit that limit opportunities for hardworking women.” 

Women-owned Small Business Snapshot: 

  • One in three small businesses is woman-owned and ninety-nine percent of women-owned businesses are small businesses. 
  • Women-owned businesses account for 39% of all U.S. firms, but receive only 16% of all traditional business loans.
  • Women of color lead four out of ten small businesses. 
  • Latina owned businesses have grown 137% since 2006. 

“Access to responsible capital is the lifeblood of a business, and the systematic barriers to affordable credit for women must be honestly addressed and confronted,” added Gwendy Donaker Brown, Vice President of Research and Policy.  “Opportunity Fund has a long history of seeking policy change that supports equity and economic opportunity. This campaign puts that effort into practice on a deeper level.”

OFEW is part of a broad initiative by Opportunity Fund to build a community and develop resources to support women’s economic empowerment. Currently in development, Opportunity Fund’s CEO Luz Urrutia is building a group of advisors to assess what Opportunity Fund can do to deepen its support for women entrepreneurs by developing financial products and services and identifying partners in the community to provide complimentary support services.

For more information or to apply for a loan through Opportunity Fund Empowering Women, contact Women’s Business Center at JEDI at info@e-jedi.org call (530) 926-6670, or visit www.e-jedi.org. 

*All loan applications are subject to credit review.  2% discount applies when applicants sign up for JEDI’s program. Opportunity Fund is an Equal Opportunity Lender and is a California licensed lender #6050609.

JEDI is committed to increasing the economic well-being of people and communities through business development and local wealth creation.  Operating in the far northern regions of CA for the past 21 years, JEDI has assisted thousands of women and men start and grow business and get the capital they need.  We celebrate the growth of small businesses as an economic revival tool for people, families and the communities they live and operate in. www.e-jedi.org. 

Opportunity Fund believes that small amounts of money and financial advice can help people make permanent and lasting change in their own lives, driving economic mobility and building stronger communities. Since 1994, Opportunity Fund has helped thousands of families earn, save and invest in their own futures. As the nation’s largest nonprofit CDFI supporting small businesses, Opportunity Fund provided more than 2,000 loans to underserved small businesses owners last year, totaling $65 million in investments that created and sustained 6,300 jobs. www.OpportunityFundLoan.org.

Download the Press Release PDF

For Immediate Release

Contact: Marika Rose, marikarose@surewest.net 916-601-9737

OPPORTUNITY FUND, THE NATION’S LEADING NONPROFIT SMALL BUSINESS LENDER, AND FRESNO AREA HISPANIC FOUNDATION ANNOUNCE PARTNERSHIP TO INCREASE ACCESS TO CAPITAL FOR CENTRAL VALLEY WOMEN SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS 

Fresno, CA – Opportunity Fund, the largest nonprofit lender to small businesses in California and national leader for the microfinance movement, today announced Opportunity Fund Empowering Women (OFEW), a pilot program with Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation (FAHF) to educate, mentor, and provide access to affordable, responsible capital for women-owned small businesses. 

The program offers working capital loans that rewards borrowers with 2%* off the annual interest rate when they apply for free mentoring through FAHF, which is shown to have a significant long-term impact on business revenue.

An OFEW loan review considers certain aspects of the borrower’s personal experience and business knowledge. Small women-owned businesses and entrepreneurs with as little as one year in business can receive funding in two to five days, once approved. Loan amounts range from $5,000 up to $100,000. 

 “Building on our existing and successful partnership to provide micro-loans through Opportunity Fund, this initiative helps us ramp up our efforts to help women small business owners access affordable and responsible credit to grow their businesses,” said Dora Westerlund, CEO, Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation and Downtown Business Hub. “Coupled with our robust women’s business mentoring programs, like Mujeres Hablando de Business, this loan program allows women entrepreneurs to realize their dreams of achieving economic growth and mobility.” 

“By ensuring that women have equal opportunity to succeed as business founders and owners we help strengthen communities, families and local economies,” said Luz Urrutia, CEO, Opportunity Fund. “When I was an entrepreneur, I remember being denied credit and the long path to growing and scaling businesses. Our mission is to address inequities in access to transparent, affordable credit that limit opportunities for hardworking women.”

Women-owned Small Business Snapshot: 

  • One in three small businesses is woman-owned and ninety-nine percent of women-owned businesses are small businesses. 
  • Women-owned businesses account for 39% of all U.S. firms, but receive only 16% of all traditional business loans.
  • Women of color lead four out of ten small businesses. 
  • Latina owned businesses have grown 137% since 2006. 

“Access to responsible capital is the lifeblood of a business, and the systematic barriers to affordable credit for women must be honestly addressed and confronted,” added Gwendy Donaker Brown, Vice President of Research and Policy.  “Opportunity Fund has a long history of seeking policy change that supports equity and economic opportunity. This campaign puts that effort into practice on a deeper level.”

OFEW is part of a broad initiative by Opportunity Fund to build a community and develop resources to support women’s economic empowerment. Currently in development, Opportunity Fund’s CEO Luz Urrutia is building a group of advisors to assess what Opportunity Fund can do to deepen its support for women entrepreneurs by developing financial products and services and identifying partners in the community to provide complimentary support services.

For more information or to apply for a loan through Opportunity Fund Empowering Women, contact Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation at hola@fresnoahf.org, call (559) 222-8705 or visit www.fresnoahf.org. 

*All loan applications are subject to credit review.  2% discount applies when applicants sign up for FAHF’s program. Opportunity Fund is an Equal Opportunity Lender and is a California licensed lender #6050609.

Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation was founded in 2004 to meet the needs of the growing Fresno area Hispanic business community. Through its Downtown Business Hub incubator, FAHF provides mentoring and technical assistance, micro loan programs, and a one-stop service center for small businesses. www.fresnoahf.org.

Opportunity Fund believes that small amounts of money and financial advice can help people make permanent and lasting change in their own lives, driving economic mobility and building stronger communities. Since 1994, Opportunity Fund has helped thousands of families earn, save and invest in their own futures. As the nation’s largest nonprofit CDFI supporting small businesses, Opportunity Fund provided more than 2,000 loans to underserved small businesses owners last year, totaling $65 million in investments that created and sustained 6,300 jobs. www.OpportunityFundLoan.org.

 

Download the Press Release PDF

For Immediate Release

OPPORTUNITY FUND, THE NATION’S LEADING NONPROFIT SMALL BUSINESS LENDER, AND LEADERSHIP FOR URBAN RENEWAL NETWORK ANNOUNCE PARTNERSHIP TO INCREASE ACCESS TO CAPITAL FOR WOMEN SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS IN CALIFORNIA

Los Angeles, CA – Opportunity Fund, the largest nonprofit lender to small businesses in California and national leader for the microfinance movement, today announced Opportunity Fund Empowering Women (OFEW), a pilot program with Leadership for Urban Renewal Network (LURN) to educate, mentor, and provide access to affordable, responsible capital for women-owned small businesses. 

The program offers working capital loans that rewards borrowers with 2%* off the annual interest rate when they apply for free business coaching through LURN, which is shown to have a significant long-term impact on business revenue. 

An OFEW loan review considers certain aspects of the borrower’s personal experience and business knowledge. Small women-owned businesses and entrepreneurs with as little as one year in business can receive funding in two to five days, once approved. Loan amounts range from $5,000 up to $100,000. 

Opportunity Fund has partnered with LURN, and several like-minded community partners throughout the state including Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation and Women’s Business Center at Jefferson Economic Development Institute to pilot Opportunity Fund Empowering Women by providing mentoring and technical assistance to borrowers. 

“We are excited to support Opportunity Fund’s OFEW campaign. LURN is committed to supporting the State’s most vulnerable entrepreneurs to ensure they have equitable access to resources to flourish their businesses, said Azusena Favela, Director of Programs, LURN.  

“By ensuring that women have equal opportunity to succeed as business founders and owners we strengthen communities, families and local economies,” said Luz Urrutia, CEO, Opportunity Fund. “When I was an entrepreneur, I remember being denied credit and the long path to growing and scaling businesses. Our mission is to address inequities in access to transparent, affordable credit that limit opportunities for hardworking women business owners and entrepreneurs.”

 Women-owned Small Business Snapshot: 

  • One in three small businesses is woman-owned and ninety-nine percent of women-owned businesses are small businesses. 
  • Women-owned businesses account for 39% of all U.S. firms, but receive only 16% of all traditional business loans.
  • Women of color lead four out of ten small businesses. 
  • Latina owned businesses have grown 137% since 2006. 

“Access to responsible capital is the lifeblood of a business, and the systematic barriers to affordable credit for women must be honestly addressed and confronted,” added Gwendy Donaker Brown, Vice President of Research and Policy.  “Opportunity Fund has a long history of seeking policy change that supports equity and economic opportunity. This campaign puts that effort into practice on a deeper level.”

OFEW is part of a broad initiative by Opportunity Fund to build a community and develop resources to support women’s economic empowerment. Currently in development, Opportunity Fund’s CEO Luz Urrutia is building a group of advisors to assess what Opportunity Fund can do to deepen its support for women entrepreneurs by developing financial products and services and identifying partners in the community to provide complimentary support services.

For more information or to apply for a loan through Opportunity Fund Empowering Women, contact LURN at SemiaFund@lurnetwork.org or call (323) 604-9765.

*All loan applications are subject to credit review.  2% discount applies when applicants sign up for LURN’s program. Opportunity Fund is an Equal Opportunity Lender and is a California licensed lender #6050609.

Leadership for Urban Renewal Network (LURN) is a non-profit organization focused on policy, advocacy, and economic development initiatives in undervalued communities. Our loan fund and technical assistance program was shaped by the needs of micro-entrepreneurs in the City of Los Angeles. We believe that micro-entrepreneurs are the critical to any thriving community and should have equitable access to resources. www.lurnetwork.org.

Opportunity Fund believes that small amounts of money and financial advice can help people make permanent and lasting change in their own lives, driving economic mobility and building stronger communities. Since 1994, Opportunity Fund has helped thousands of families earn, save and invest in their own futures. As the nation’s largest nonprofit CDFI supporting small businesses, Opportunity Fund provided more than 2,000 loans to underserved small businesses owners last year, totaling $65 million in investments that created and sustained 6,300 jobs. www.OpportunityFundLoan.org.

 

Download the Press Release PDF

This is your bi-weekly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events from July 16 through 31.

Every two weeks, we’re sharing and promoting free or affordable events that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your bi-weekly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events from July 16 through 31.

Northern California/Sacramento

Before You Sign that Lease
Date: July 18, 2018 | 6:00 pm PDT – 8:30 pm PDT
Location: 1500 MacDonald Ave. Richmond, CA 94801 (map it)
Contact: Lucero De Leon | ldeleon@rencenter.org | (510) 221-2003
Organization: Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center
Fee: Free

The pre-printed lease form looks daunting and the broker is pressuring you to sign right now – but wait! There are many parts of office, retail, or other commercial leases that you can and should negotiate with the landlord to increase the odds of success for your business.

An experienced business and real estate attorney from the San Francisco Community Business Law Center will help you learn how to make well-informed commercial tenant decisions and prepare for landlord negotiations.

Although taught by an experienced business attorney, this class does not constitute legal advice.

Click here to register for this event.

Explore Your Psychology of Money – Build Financial Strength and Ease
Date: Starts July 19, 2018 | 5:30 pm PDT – 8:00 pm PDT
Location: 205 Chestnut St. Mt. Shasta, CA 96067 (map it)
Contact: info@e-jedi.org | (530) 926-6670
Organization: Jefferson Economic Development Institute
Fee: $15

Building Financial Strength and Ease offers an overview of key psychology of money issues that either support your goals or hold you back. As our money cycles through four phases of activity—income, spending, saving, and investing—we need to manage each phase to make our daily financial habits support our goals. This seminar will help you get all your resources powered up and on track for more prosperous living.

Join us for two sessions July 19 and 26 to get answers to your questions about your business financial goals.

Topics include:

  • Realizing the amazing power of an income goal—and what stops us
  • Enhancing squirrel intelligence for better quality of life
  • Balancing today’s enjoyment with tomorrow’s plans
  • Positioning your money to grow
  • Implementing Aha! skills from Tapping into Wealth

Click here to register for this event.

Small Business Taxes
Date: July 24, 2018 | 3:00 pm PDT – 5:00 pm PDT
Location: 455 Market St. Suite 600 San Francisco, CA 94105 (map it)
Contact: sfscore@sfscore.org | (415) 764-4964
Organization: San Francisco SCORE
Fee: $35

Tax laws are changing. Learn the IRS regulations that apply to small business owners and get answers to your tax questions in this informative and interactive live seminar. Topics covered include tax deductions and commonly used tax strategies for individuals, corporations, and LLCs.

Click here to register for this event.

Southern California/San Diego

Start-Up Workshop
Date: July 17, 2018 | 10:00 am PDT – 12:00 pm PDT
Location: 2900 S. Crenshaw Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90016 (map it)
Contact: Cathleen Hy | chy@pacela.org | (323) 293-6284
Organization: PACE Finance Corporation
Fee: Free

If you are planning to start your business and you want to start on the right track, please join us at our next Small Business Start-Up workshop. We’ll cover the nuts and bolts of starting a small business:

  • Start up cost of your business
  • Your target audience
  • Finding and retaining clients
  • 5 Cs of the loan application process
  • Business plan writing
  • Credit counseling and loan packaging
  • Basic licenses and permits: Business license, DBA. Seller’s permit. EIN
  • Types of business entities

Alternately, you can schedule an appointment to sit down with our counselors to see what steps you can begin to take towards setting up your business and giving it the best chance for success.

Click here to register for this event.

Social Media for the Busy Entrepreneur
Date: July 27, 2018 | 1:00 pm PDT – 4:00 pm PDT
Location: 8825 Aero Dr. Suite 102 San Diego, CA 92123 (map it)
Contact:  workshop0140@scorevolunteer.org | (858) 283-1100
Organization: San Diego SCORE
Fee: $20

Social media is a necessary component of business marketing. The most successful businesses on social media have developed a smart marketing strategy that includes setting goals and objectives, utilizing the best tools to engage with their target audience, and consistently analyzing their return on investment.

As a busy entrepreneur, you can do all these things above and still manage the other stresses of your job with the skills you’ll learn during this hands-on workshop. Learn how to make the most of your time and resources and unleash the power of social media to take your social engagement to the next level. You will learn the most relevant, proven tactics for social media success that will save you time and money.

Click here to register for this event.

Stress-Free Business Taxes
Date: July 28, 2018 | 9:00 am PDT – 12:00 pm PDT
Location: 1003 East Cooley Dr. Suite 109 Colton, CA 92324 (map it)
Contact: (909) 890-1242
Organization: Inland Empire Women’s Business Center
Fee: $20

Take the stress out of preparing for your business taxes with this workshop. We’ll cover the basics, from business tax requirements through working from home to deductions, credits, and record keeping to get you ready for a stress-free tax day.

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

Outdo Your Competition by Optimizing Your Online Search Listing
Date: July 19, 2018 | 10:00 am PDT – 11:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: monmouthscore@gmail.com | (732) 224-2573
Organization: Monmouth (N.J.) SCORE
Fee: Free

Consumers use search engines to find information about local businesses. As local online marketing gets more competitive, the first page of Google search results gets smaller and smaller. You can make your business stand out with the tips from this free webinar. We’ll demonstrate how to optimize your Google My Business listing and other local search strategies.

Topics include:

  • Listings: The top online directories and citation sites to host your business listing
  • Name, Address, Phone Number (NAP): What is it and why it’s so important
  • Pictures: The right images to add to your listing and how to do it
  • The new Google My Business: How the Q&A feature can backfire if you’re not prepared
  • Maintaining your listing: Why frequently logging into your listing is crucial and how you can say ahead of your competition
  • Videos: Length, content, formats, and more
  • Local SEO strategies: How to find the gaps and beat your competitors to the punch

Please claim and verify your Google My Business listing before attending this webinar to get the most out of the material.

Click here to register for this event.

Discovering What Works in Social Media
Date: July 27, 2018 | 9:00 am PDT – 10:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: John Merlino | jmerl018@live.kutztown.edu | (973) 879-3549
Organization: Kutztown (Penn.) SBDC
Fee: Free

Join John Merlino, Kutztown SBDC social media guru, for this 45-minute webinar about discovering what works in social media.

Learn how to attract customers via social media by developing best practices for your business through integrating your goals with designing and tracking the performance of content relevant in your industry.

Click here to register for this event.

Low Cost Marketing Ideas
Date: July 30, 2018 | 9:00 am PDT – 10:30 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: info@TheInstituteNC.org | (919) 956-8889
Organization: The Women’s Business Center of North Carolina
Fee: Free

Learn how to create a marketing strategy that supports your business goals. This seminar will cover some of the best free and low-cost marketing tools and explore creative ways to promote your business without breaking the bank or your budget.

Click here to register for this event.

We’re looking for upcoming events to promote to small business owners like you. If you have an event you’d like to share with fellow business owners, contact us at sblending@opportunityfund.org.


For information about Opportunity Fund’s small business loans, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or loans@opportunityfund.org.  For questions about your existing loan or other customer service questions, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or sbhelp@opportunityfund.org.

Loans are subject to credit review. Additional documentation may be required for credit approval. We are an Equal Opportunity Lender. Loans will be made or arranged pursuant to California Department of Corporations Finance Lenders License #6050609.


Opportunity Fund is tackling economic inequality so that hard work and perseverance means a shot at getting ahead, not just struggling to get by. Our programs are supported by a community of donors and investors whose contributions help to fund small businesses, support college students, and build stronger families and vibrant neighborhoods. Since 1994, the team has deployed $600 million and helped 20,000 families earn, save and invest in their own futures. Opportunity Fund has earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator, for our commitment to accountability and transparency.

Visit us online at opportunityfundloan.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Opportunity Fund. Working Capital for Working People. opportunityfund.org