Roan wanted to grow her art studio into a hub for local artists. Thanks to three small business loans from Opportunity Fund, The Arsenal is opening a new studio and gallery in San Jose’s Japantown.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too. Get to know Roan Victor of The Arsenal in San Jose. Roan wanted to grow her art studio into a hub for local artists. Thanks to three small business loans from Opportunity Fund, The Arsenal is opening a new studio and gallery in San Jose’s Japantown.

Creating Connections in the San Jose Art Community

Roan Victor started The Arsenal in the summer of 2011. Roan and her husband Sean Boyles, both artists based in San Jose, chose to open an art studio and gallery in their hometown.

The Arsenal offers art classes and workshops to artists in the community of all ages and skill levels. “We work with all kinds of people,” Roan said. “Seniors would come in to buy oil paints, and at the same time, younger guys would come in to buy spray paint. They would all interact with each other. It was fun to bring different cultures and ages together.”

Roan’s vision for her business included a move to their dream location in San Jose’s Japantown, for the community art connections, walkable neighborhood, and strong small business network. First, she needed a small business loan to help The Arsenal grow.

Her business banker at Bank of America was focused more on the financial success of The Arsenal, which didn’t meet her needs as a small business owner. “Our goal is to have a significant contribution to the art community in San Jose,” she said.

Opportunity Fund Helps The Arsenal Stay in the Picture

Bank of America connected Roan to Opportunity Fund loan consultant Laly Velazquez, who was able to close a $4,000 loan in September 2014 for The Arsenal. The funds helped Roan set up a new classroom space with proper lighting. Roan paid off the loan in less than a year and applied for a second loan of $8,000 in June 2015, which helped replace and maintain equipment like their silk screen machine.

Roan came back for a third loan this January for $8,000 to help move The Arsenal to Japantown. Roan and Sean are working with Roan’s sister Regine to prepare their new space for a grand re-opening this summer. With their new space, The Arsenal can offer studio space to local artists, plus more classes and workshops featuring artists from the area and a brand new art gallery.

Roan Victor - The Arsenal

Roan is a teacher, a business leader, and an advocate for her community arts scene (photo courtesy of Heimo Schmidt)

Laly’s help through the loan process made a difference for Roan. “Sean and I both went to school for art so we don’t have a business background,” Roan said. “Working with Laly is like talking to a friend. She shows me what to do and how Opportunity Fund can help.”

Roan sees The Arsenal as a part of Japantown’s thriving arts scene and business community. “Our goal is to have a great studio with everything artists need, like what I had when I was studying painting at San Jose State,” she said. “I want to build a hub where artists with different experiences can work together.”

We’re proud to support Roan’s dreams to build The Arsenal into a community hub for artists and creators.

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 California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. Last year, we made $60M in loans to help more than 2,200 small business owners invest in their businesses.  Opportunity Fund invests in small business owners who do not have access to traditional financing. As a founding member and signatory to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, we believe in the important role small businesses play in our community and the economy, and we aim to help owners financially succeed.

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Deago Williams started his life over by starting his own business. He worked hard to build his business but couldn’t get financing through his bank. Deago is improving his business thanks to two small business loans from Opportunity Fund.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too. Get to know Deago Williams of Williams Auto Detailing in Sacramento. Deago started his life over with hard work but couldn’t get a bank loan to grow his business. Read how we’re helping Deago improve his business and better serve his customers with our small business loans.

A Second Chance for a First Time Business Owner

Deago Williams took an unconventional path to entrepreneurship. After serving 16 years in prison in the Midwest, he came to Sacramento, California looking for a chance to rebuild his life.

Deago has 13 years of auto detailing experience, so he got back into the industry when he landed in California. “I had to teach myself all over again,” he said. “I got tired of working for somebody else. I wanted to see what it was like to have my own business.”

He founded Williams Auto Detailing in 2014 to fulfill those ambitions. Deago and his staff of his wife Denise and a new hire from the shop’s neighborhood work primarily with auto dealers in need of professional cleaning for their car inventories.

Soon Deago found the hard truth for most small business owners: it’s impossible to do everything on your own. He was working in the business every day, plus handling the finances, marketing, and other business functions.

He needed a small business loan to help purchase new equipment. “I go through a lot of money,” he said. “I’ve been able to stay in business this long because I put majority of my money back into my business.”

Deago’s bank couldn’t help, but a connection to Opportunity Fund made a huge difference for Williams Auto Detailing.

A Bright Future with Clean Cars

When I started my business I had no credit,” Deago said. His business banker at Wells Fargo was supportive of Deago’s business goals, but couldn’t get him the loan he needed. They introduced Deago to Opportunity Fund loan consultant Madieu Shyllon.

“Madieu visited me at my business,” Deago said. “He saw where I was coming from. He understood me and gave me confidence.”

Madieu got Deago started with a $3,500 loan in November 2015. Deago was able to pay the loan off and get a second loan of $8,000 in May 2016.

The working capital helps pay for backups for equipment that breaks down, which allows three Williams Auto Detailing employees to keep up with demand from seven auto dealers.

Deago Williams - Williams Auto Detailing

Deago counts on our small business loans to help him buy new equipment (photo courtesy of Heimo Schmidt)

Deago values Opportunity Fund’s commitment to open communication. “If I need to talk to someone, they lead me in the right direction with the right people. It’s taken care of,” he said.

Deago is focused on improving his business every day, with an upcoming move to a bigger workspace in the neighborhood. We’re focused on helping hardworking entrepreneurs like Deago make their dreams come true with our easy-to-get, fast, and affordable small business loans.

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 California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. Last fiscal year, we made $60M in loans to help more than 2,200 small business owners invest in their businesses.  Opportunity Fund invests in small business owners who do not have access to traditional financing. As a founding member and signatory to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, we believe in the important role small businesses play in our community and the economy, and we aim to help owners financially succeed.

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When Eric Torres landed Florida Medical Clinic as a client for his Tampa-based marketing agency Brandiversity, he wanted to add capacity by hiring additional staff to service the large healthcare company. With a loan from Opportunity Fund/Lending Club, Torres quickly ramped up by hiring 2.5 new employees, and opening a two-person office in Orlando.  

It’s all about timing. Helping small businesses gain access capital when it’s time to grow. That’s what our expanding partnership with Lending Club is now doing in states across the U.S.

As the nation’s leading nonprofit small business lender, we partnered with Lending Club, the world’s largest online credit marketplace, to serve many more small business owners looking for a responsible and responsive source of capital when it’s the right time for their businesses to grow. Through this partnership, Lending Club brings its best-in-class platform designed to attract and serve online borrowers and Opportunity Fund brings our expertise serving small business owners and entrepreneurs, offering responsible loans along with advice and support.

Responsive Lending for Business Owners

When Eric Torres, principal at Tampa-based Brandiversity – a full service advertising and marketing agency in Florida’s Tri-Counties area – landed Florida Medical Clinic as a client, he wanted to add capacity by hiring additional staff to service the large healthcare company. With a loan from Opportunity Fund/Lending Club, Torres quickly ramped up by hiring 2.5 new employees, and opening a two-person office in Orlando.

“I launched Brandiversity in 2016 because increasingly I saw that my clients here in Florida needed help reaching diverse populations with their marketing platforms. We help our clients navigate global opportunities and tailor campaigns and outreach with great results,” said Torres, who has years of experience in advertising and marketing.

With clients in the robust service industries that fuel Florida’s economy, business owners like Torres are often faced with proverbial “chicken or egg” decisions. When opportunities arise to grow their business, they need access to capital from lenders who have a track record for responsible, responsive lending.

“Working with entrepreneurs when they have an opportunity to grow their businesses is rewarding,” added Miguel Cerda, the Opportunity Fund Loan Advisor who worked with Eric Torres. “In many cases, borrowers are seeking capital to hire more employees. Our investment has a multiplier effect in local communities.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Florida’s small businesses employed 3.1 million people, or 43.2% of the private workforce in 2013. Those businesses make up 98.9 percent of all employers in the state. Opportunity Fund’s expansion in partnership with Lending Club allows us to respond to the growing needs of entrepreneurs in states like Florida, where economic opportunity directly translates to economic development.

“My experience with Opportunity Fund was very positive,” Torres added. “The application and funding process was simple and I had the capital I needed to respond quickly to a new client opportunity.”

By 2020 Opportunity Fund plans to invest $400 million in over 10,000 small businesses nationwide.

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 California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. In fiscal year ‘16, we made $60M in loans to help more than 2,200 small business owners invest in their businesses.  Opportunity Fund invests in small business owners who do not have access to traditional financing. As a founding member and signatory to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, we believe in the important role small businesses play in our community and the economy, and we aim to help owners financially succeed.

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Jimmy is working to expand his Mexican food franchise in Santa Clara County. Iguana’s is set to open in its fifth location in South San Jose thanks to a small business loan from Opportunity Fund.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too.  Read about Jimmy Orozco of Iguana’s Burritozilla in San Jose. Jimmy is working to expand his Mexican food franchise in Santa Clara County. Thanks to a small business loan from Opportunity Fund, Iguana’s is set to open in its fifth location in South San Jose.

Made in San Jose

Iguana’s Burritozilla has been a part of the San Jose business landscape since 1994. Current CEO Jimmy Orozco started working in his uncle’s restaurant, the flagship location in downtown San Jose, when he was in high school. Since the beginning, Iguana’s has been a family owned and operated business, with Jimmy’s siblings and cousins all working together as co-owners of the franchise with four locations in Santa Clara County.

The Orozco family has built Iguana’s into a famous brand, with appearances on Travel Channel and Food Network programs. They also invest in the community by hiring staff from the neighborhoods where they open new stores and funding deejays for local high school dances.

Iguana’s success has always come from within, with Jimmy and the rest of the family bringing a “do it yourself” spirit to work every day. When Jimmy started thinking about small business financing to help open a new location in South San Jose, he needed a solution that worked for his business.

“We were turned down by a bunch of lenders,” Jimmy said. “None of them really seemed to understand the growth of our business.”

Jimmy found Opportunity Fund through the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative, a research program at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business that explores and expands knowledge of the Latino entrepreneurship segment in California’s economy through research, knowledge dissemination, and facilitated collaboration. Opportunity Fund plus Iguana’s turned out to be the perfect recipe for success.

Big Burritos Equal Big Business

Opportunity Fund business development officer Shanna McClearn started working with Jimmy to get the funding he needed to open the new location. The $250,000 loan we closed in February 2017 made a major difference for Iguana’s.

“Without Opportunity Fund, we would probably be doing the same thing but with a little more strain on the company,” Jimmy said of their expansion. “Now we don’t have to worry so much, because the capital is there.”

Shanna’s guidance throughout the loan process was also a huge help. “Working with Shanna was refreshing and surprising, and unexpected,” Jimmy said. “She took the time to understand our business. She gets the entire picture of what we’re doing. The communication was easy and quick.”

Jimmy and Shanna - Iguana's

Jimmy and Shanna closed their deal with a handshake and an invitation to lunch (photo courtesy of Heimo Schmidt)

The new location is fast tracked for a spring grand opening, with more locations to come. Jimmy is focused on his hometown community as always, but he’s also looking to expand to locations outside Santa Clara County in the future.

“We serve college students, high school kids, local business people, locals, you name it,” Jimmy said. “Anybody who wants good food in a fun environment is welcome here.”

We’re proud to support successful local entrepreneurs like Jimmy and honored to serve family-owned small businesses. We’re especially looking forward to grabbing a taco at Iguana’s new location.

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 California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. Last fiscal year, we made $60M in loans to help more than 2,200 small business owners invest in their businesses.  Opportunity Fund invests in small business owners who do not have access to traditional financing. As a founding member and signatory to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, we believe in the important role small businesses play in our community and the economy, and we aim to help owners financially succeed.

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Maria Villarreal runs Cosmetica Latina, a successful cosmetology school in Downey. She is also a leader in the Latino business community. We helped her refinance a high interest predatory loan so she can focus on expanding her business.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too. This week, read about Maria Villarreal of Cosmetica Latina in Downey. Maria runs a successful cosmetology school and is a leader in the Latino business community. We helped her refinance a high interest predatory loan so she can focus on expanding her business.

A Leader in Education

Maria started Cosmetica Latina in 2002 in Downey. The cosmetology school has strong ties to the Latino community and supports students throughout their studies with hands-on instruction, internships in the field, and real world business skills. The school has 25 employees as instructors and administrators and has graduated over 70 students with skills in barbering, cosmetology, and esthetics.

Maria has a long history as a responsible business borrower. Our non-profit community partner AMPAC Tri-State CDC helped Maria get started with a 504 Small Business Association loan to buy the building she was renting for her school.

She needed another small business loan to help expand her school through advertising, so she took out a merchant cash advance loan. Soon she found her cash flow drained under the weight of high monthly payments.

“When I signed up for that loan, I thought I was getting low interest financing,” Maria said. “I wanted to build my credit with that loan, but they didn’t report on my credit.”

Fighting for Fair Loan Practices

AMPAC connected Maria to us when she needed help refinancing her predatory MCA loan. Opportunity Fund Community Development Officer Robert Zapata helped Maria get the $50,000 loan she needed to pay off the loan. Our commitment to providing easy-to-get, fast, and affordable loans included a fight with Maria’s MCA lender.

“They offered a lower interest rate to keep me,” Maria said. “They wouldn’t release the payoff letter to Opportunity Fund either.”

Cosmetica Latina - Robert and Maria

Maria shakes hands with Opportunity Fund Community Development Officer Robert Zapata at Cosmetica Latina headquarters (photo courtesy of ROF Industries)

By refinancing Maria’s high interest MCA loan, we were able to reduce her monthly payment from $6,000 to  $1,600. The extra cash flow allows her to reinvest in marketing.

Maria is thankful to work with us as she rebuilds her business lending profile. “Opportunity Fund was completely transparent,” she said. “They helped me understand the loan process and showed me I wasn’t the only one who gets stuck with these very high interest loans.”

Maria is taking her negative lending experiences and turning them into positive actions within the community. She shares her story among her network of small business owners so they don’t fall into the traps that target entrepreneurs.

“I want to make the community aware of financing options and help them make good lending decisions,” she said.

Maria is a prime example of the borrowers we help: community leaders and responsible business borrowers. We’re honored to support Cosmetica Latina.

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 California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. Last fiscal year, we made $60M in loans to help more than 2,200 small business owners invest in their businesses.  Opportunity Fund invests in small business owners who do not have access to traditional financing. As a founding member and signatory to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, we believe in the important role small businesses play in our community and the economy, and we aim to help owners financially succeed.

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Nelda and Gammie Vargas had all the right tools to start their own Filipino restaurant, but couldn’t get funding. Opportunity Fund helped GNC Kusina Atbp grow with two small business loans.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too. Get to know Nelda and Gammie Vargas of GNC Kusina Atbp in Sacramento. Nelda and Gammie had all the right tools to start their own Filipino restaurant, but couldn’t get funding. Read how we helped them grow their business with two small business loans.

A Fresh Business Idea

Nelda and Gammie Vargas started their own Filipino restaurant, GNC Kusina Atpb, in 2014. Gammie has over 30 years of experience as a professional chef at restaurants like Morton’s The Steakhouse. Nelda studied accounting in the Philippines. The time was right for them to start a business.

GNC Kusina Atbp is unique in Sacramento: a restaurant/grocery store where you can pop in for a freshly cooked traditional Filipino breakfast or pick up staples like house-made pork rinds for your home pantry.

As a first time business owner, Nelda has worked through challenges to make her restaurant successful. “It was hard at first starting because we had no background with starting a restaurant business,” she said.  “We’re doing better now. We’re focused on introducing our food to new customers.”

Nelda Vargas - GNC Kusina

Nelda proudly serves authentic Filipino food (photo courtesy of Heimo Schmidt)

GNC Kusina Atbp is the only source of income for Nelda and Gammie. “This is our bread and butter,” she said. “Our business helps us pay our bills, our house payments, our utilities, everything. We’re doing well.”

Soon Nelda started looking for small business loans to help secure cash flow for the business. A unique business like GNC Kusina Atbp required a unique funding source. Opportunity Fund was the right fit.

Funding A Family Restaurant

Nelda went to her Wells Fargo business banker, who connected her to Opportunity Fund. Once she talked to loan consultant Madieu Shyllon, she knew we were the right choice for her business.

“Madieu came to my business and approved my first loan,” she said. “My credit wasn’t good when I first applied for loans. It’s hard to get approved for a small business loan without a business profile. I just started my business and couldn’t pay to hire someone to prepare my profile.”

The $10,000 loan helped Nelda purchase a new freezer unit in August 2015. Madieu closed a second loan in January 2017 for $15,000 to help with cash flow.

Nelda values her working relationship with Madieu. “He’s there whenever I call him,” she said. “Sometimes he comes all the way from the Bay Area just to visit us and see how we’re doing, even if he doesn’t have business in the area.”

Nelda is looking to the future of her restaurant. She hopes to call on us again when she needs working capital. We’ll be there to help GNC Kusina Atbp serve up fresh Filipino favorites.

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 California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. Last fiscal year, we made $60M in loans to help more than 2,200 small business owners invest in their businesses.  Opportunity Fund invests in small business owners who do not have access to traditional financing. As a founding member and signatory to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, we believe in the important role small businesses play in our community and the economy, and we aim to help owners financially succeed.

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Sarah Mayer founded Shift Collaborative in Pittsburgh as a mission-oriented creative services firm. She needed a small business loan to help with cash flow. Our partnership with Lending Club allowed us to help Sarah retain her staff and do more impactful work in her community.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too. Get to know Sarah Mayer of Shift Collaborative in Pittsburgh. Shift Collaborative is a mission-oriented creative services firm that needed a small business loan to help with cash flow. Our partnership with Lending Club allowed us to help Sarah retain her staff and do more impactful work in her community.

A Born Entrepreneur

Sarah Mayer grew up around entrepreneurs. Her first jobs were working in the hair salons that her mother and grandmother owned. It was a natural progression for Sarah along with her partners to start Shift Collaborative in Pittsburgh, Penn. in 2013.

Shift Collaborative is a full-service creative firm that works primarily with non-profit clients. “We founded the business on the philosophy of working with change-makers doing amazing things and advocating positive change in their community,” Sarah said.

Their work goes beyond website development and marketing services. Sarah and her fellow partners at Shift Collaborative encourage their staff to volunteer time and services to non-profits and other causes they care about. “Every month we’re trying to do something beyond our work and helping our clients,” she said. “We’re working to bring visibility through social media and other ways that these organizations are doing great things in our community and nationwide.”

Staff retention at Shift Collaborative is key to maintain the company culture. Shift needed a small business loan to secure cash flow and keep her employees in place. She had options to get the funding she needed, but none were the right fit until she found Opportunity Fund.

Low Turnover, High Impact

Like many small business owners, Sarah has a hand in nearly everything the business does. This makes it difficult to take time to work on a long and complex loan application. “There was just a ton of paperwork,” she said of loan options she tried, like through her bank and credit cards. “I wanted to get it done quickly.”

Sarah came to Opportunity Fund through our partnership with Lending Club. She chose us for our easy-to-get and fast small business loans. “The loan process can be extremely time intensive,” she said. “The folks at Opportunity Fund have been easy to work with. Everyone I worked with made it really smooth.”

She worked with business loan advisor Mayra Contreras, who closed a $20,000 loan in March 2017. The loan is making a major difference for Shift Collaborative.

“Without the loan, we might have had to scale back on staffing,” she said. “That would have drastically changed our business and been difficult for us. The loan has allowed us to maintain our staff’s employment.”

Now that Shift Collaborative has the working capital they need, Sarah can focus on the next big thing for her company. With new projects in business development ahead, Sarah is hoping to staff up her current part-time employees to full-time. Long term, she hopes to double her company’s profits in the next year.

We’re honored to work with fellow difference makers and community development organizations like Shift Collaborative. We’ll be there to support Sarah’s future business goals.

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 California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. Last fiscal year, we made $60M in loans to help more than 2,200 small business owners invest in their businesses.  Opportunity Fund invests in small business owners who do not have access to traditional financing. As a founding member and signatory to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, we believe in the important role small businesses play in our community and the economy, and we aim to help owners financially succeed.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

David Anderson is a successful pitch man, working to connect his clients’ products to consumers. Following a cross-country move to Southern California, David needed a small business loan to close the inventory gap. Opportunity Fund helped him get started.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too. This week, read about David Anderson of Sage & Company in Huntington Beach. David is a successful pitch man, working to connect his clients’ products to consumers. Following a cross-country move to Southern California, David needed a small business loan to close the inventory gap. Opportunity Fund helped him get started.

Sold on Financing

David Anderson founded Sage & Company over 15 years ago. Through Sage & Company, David produces live demonstrations at consumer shows and events to help companies bring their products to market and create new ways to sell products. He also helps companies introduce his live demos via different digital media platforms.

He worked as a product pitch man on the East Coast before moving his business to Southern California. The change in markets plus the most recent economic recession presented challenges for David as he looked for ways to finance his business.

David previously had not relied much on financing through a bank for his business. “After the recession, it was hard to approach a bank about financing,” he said. “When I moved my business to Southern California, it took some time to learn my way around the area and find opportunities. I needed funding to balance my need for resources while also managing my business in a responsible way.”

David learned about Opportunity Fund through advertising at an event in Southern California. The connection helped change his business.

Connecting California Entrepreneurs

David reached out to Opportunity Fund loan consultant Osbaldo Velazquez. David immediately saw the impact we could have on his business thanks to Osbaldo’s friendly and helpful interactions over the phone.

“Speaking to Osbaldo was unlike any experience I’ve ever had in dealing with a lender,” David said. “He really invested time in learning who I was and what I was trying to do. He was proactive with actionable solutions.”

Sage & Co - David and Osbaldo

David and Osbaldo work together to help grow Sage & Company (photo courtesy of ROF Industries)

Our easy-to-get, fast, and accessible small business loans have helped David invest in inventory. “I need long lead times to get my products on the ground in Southern California,” David said. “Prior to working with Opportunity Fund, I missed out on several opportunities and revenue because I didn’t have the resources I needed.”

See how we helped David grow his business in this video:

 

David’s next big goal for Sage & Company is expanding his live demos and networking power to serve more small business owners in Southern California over the next five years. We’ll be there to support David as he works toward helping entrepreneurs to connect in a more meaningful way and build community around their products.

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 California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. Last fiscal year, we made $60M in loans to help more than 2,200 small business owners invest in their businesses.  Opportunity Fund invests in small business owners who do not have access to traditional financing. As a founding member and signatory to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, we believe in the important role small businesses play in our community and the economy, and we aim to help owners financially succeed.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Barbara Sullivan started Sullivan International over 30 years ago. Her firm is a leader in workforce development for other businesses in Southern California. Two working capital loans from Opportunity Fund are helping Barbara reach more businesses in need of human resources support.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too.  This week, read about Barbara Sullivan of Sullivan International in Long Beach. Sullivan International is a leader in workforce development for other businesses in Southern California. Two working capital loans from Opportunity Fund are helping Barbara reach more businesses in need of human resources support.

Inspiring Success

Barbara Sullivan loves business. Inspired by the self-made African-American business man A.G. Gaston in her hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, Barbara started her human resources and workforce development firm Sullivan International in Long Beach over 30 years ago.

Sullivan International serves business clients in need of support in human resources, training, and supplier diversity. They work with large companies like Southern California Edison and PG&E as well as vendors for clients who need help with business infrastructure and workforce development.

As a hard working, savvy businesswoman, Barbara has many resources to choose from to grow her business. She found a new resource in business lending while working with a client, MCS California.

“I want to grow my company and take it to the next level,” Barbara said. “I had some new contracts in workforce development coming in and I needed some money to help service those contracts.”

Her contacts at MCS offered her a connection to Opportunity Fund. Once Barbara started talking to us, she knew she was on the right path to grow Sullivan International.

A Passion for Progress

Opportunity Fund loan consultant Armando Cruz got Barbara started with a $7,000 loan in September 2015. The capital helped secure those incoming contracts. The loan also established us an easy-to-use resource for Sullivan International.

“Opportunity Fund is great because of how they handle paperwork and how they handle my business,” Barbara said. “There was no drama. It was simple.”

Sullivan International - staff

Barbara meets with her staff at company headquarters (photo courtesy of ROF Industries)

Barbara came back for a second loan for $15,000 in November 2016. “The terms were always favorable for me,” she said. “Armando always got back to me in a timely manner, and he never said no. He always had options for me. Opportunity Fund has more options and more flexibility than most loan companies.”

Sullivan International allows Barbara to serve fellow business owners and turn her passion into progress for companies. Her firm also provides workforce development. This program helps people seeking entry-level jobs by providing them with training and other resources to support their progress in the workforce.

As she grows her company, she’s also helping us grow by spreading the word about our easy-to-get, fast, and affordable small business loans to other business owners.

We’re happy to support Barbara’s goals for Sullivan International, and we’re proud to serve a key member of California’s African-American business community.

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 California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. Last fiscal year, we made $60M in loans to help more than 2,200 small business owners invest in their businesses.  Opportunity Fund invests in small business owners who do not have access to traditional financing. As a founding member and signatory to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, we believe in the important role small businesses play in our community and the economy, and we aim to help owners financially succeed.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Traditional lenders said no to Aurora when she applied for business loans, but we said yes. Read how we helped transform her business and stay on time with her payments.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too.  This week, read about Aurora Garibay of Bridal & Tuxedo World in Watsonville. Traditional lenders said no to Aurora when she applied for business loans, but we said yes. Read how we helped transform her business and stay on time with her payments.

Formalizing the Business

Aurora Garibay started as an entrepreneur by making and selling flower arrangements in her home in Watsonville. When she heard about a bridal shop for sale through a contact at El Pajaro Community Development Center, she took a chance and purchased her first storefront business in 2010.

Aurora runs that business, Bridal & Tuxedo World on Main Street, with her sister. Aurora handles sales and rentals plus customer service while her sister does alterations for garments. Even with 10 years in the business and a highly visible shop, times were tough for Aurora.

“I needed to stock up on inventory months head of the bridal and first holy communion season,” Aurora said. “I applied at several banks. All of them said I didn’t qualify because of my low credit score.”

The Opportunity Fund micro lending team connected with her was able to provide fast financing for her business.

Opportunity Fund Says “Yes” to Small Business

Loan consultant Miguel Angel Barreras walked into Bridal & Tuxedo World shortly after Opportunity Fund expanded our lending services to Monterey County in March 2013. He was committed to working with Aurora to get the financing she needed.

“I told him I did not have good credit,” she said. “He offered to start an application for me, and then qualified me for my first loan of two thousand dollars.”

Aurora was able to purchase more dresses and materials with the micro loan and soon was making more revenue. The increase in business allowed her to catch up payments on her loans and improve her credit score.

“There were times when I chose to pay Opportunity Fund before I paid another accounts, because you believed in me,” she said. “Now my store is fully stocked and I’m caught up on all my bills.”

Aurora took out a second loan for $4,000 in January 2015 to help expand Bridal & Tuxedo World’s business to offer decorations like linens, place settings, and flower arrangements.

“My customers come in looking for a one stop shop,” Aurora said. “I want to offer that to them.”

Since then, Aurora has taken out two more loans, for $4,000 and $5,000 respectively. The working capital has helped give her business a fighting chance. She’s grateful for Miguel Angel and her current loan consultant Griselda Gil-Solis for believing in her business and for helping her build her credit.

Bridal & Tuxedo World - Aurora Garibay

Aurora shakes hands with her Opportunity Fund loan consultant, Griselda Gil-Solis (photo courtesy of Heimo Schmidt)

“I’m very happy with Opportunity Fund,” she said. “Even if I have a balance on my loan, they’re willing to consider me for another loan when I need it. Griselda is respectful and efficient and made everything go so fast.”

See how we helped Aurora grow her business in this video:

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 California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. Last fiscal year, we made $60M in loans to help more than 2,200 small business owners invest in their businesses.  Opportunity Fund invests in small business owners who do not have access to traditional financing. As a founding member and signatory to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, we believe in the important role small businesses play in our community and the economy, and we aim to help owners financially succeed.

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