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.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Don started a food truck business with nothing but a dream and concept for military-styled food. After winning a Food Network competition, Mess Hall Canteen needed financing to buy their custom built food truck. A loan from Opportunity Fund helped cover the purchase and now Mess Hall Canteen is rolling to bigger success all over Orange County.  

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too.  This week, read about Don McPeck of Mess Hall Canteen in Orange County. Don started a food truck business with nothing but a dream and concept for military-styled food. After winning a Food Network competition, Mess Hall Canteen needed financing to buy their custom built food truck. A loan from Opportunity Fund helped cover the purchase and now Mess Hall Canteen is rolling to bigger success all over Orange County.  

Starting (& Cooking) From Scratch

Don McPeck started his business with only an idea. His gourmet food truck, Mess Hall Canteen, got started thanks to The Food Network. An appearance on the show Food Truck Faceoff gave Mess Hall Canteen a vehicle—in more ways than one.

Don and his son Jake drew on their dreams and goals of starting a business together based on Don’s military service and Jake’s expertise as a chef. They took their idea for mess hall styled munchies to Food Network’s show in 2014 and won the two-day competition against another food truck in Venice Beach.

Their prize was a one-year lease on the custom-built truck provided by the competition. After the lease was up, Don needed financing to purchase the truck. Their truck came from food truck manufacturer Kareem Carts, also one of Opportunity Fund’s food truck manufacturer and vendor partners. Kareem Carts connected Don to us to talk financing.

“Opportunity Fund helped us continue our business,” Don said. “We didn’t have the money to buy the truck outright. Opportunity Fund made it happen for us.”

Fueling Success

Our loan consultant Salvador Lopez started working with Don in June 2016 to secure the $77,000 loan he needed to purchase his truck. Don and Salvador working together was the perfect pairing.

“Salvador made it really easy to get financing,” Don said. “It was almost seamless. The next thing we knew, the loan was approved.”

Mess Hall Canteen’s food speaks for itself, with loaded tater tots and stacked grilled cheese sandwiches that are almost larger than life. Don credits their success not just to Chef Jake’s impeccable palate, but also to a social media blitz that put Mess Hall Canteen on the map.

Mess Hall Canteen - menu

Don shows off the Mess Hall Canteen menu (photo courtesy of ROF Industries)

Don used his Army background to brand his business. He also uses his veteran status to reach out to veterans in Orange County. Mess Hall Canteen hires veterans to work in the business and provides fundraising for veterans organizations like Patriots & Paws through donations from their tip jar and proceeds from T-shirt sales.

Mess Hall Canteen is looking to expand in the next year with at least one new food truck and several exciting opportunities, including a potential spot at Downtown Disney. “I hope Opportunity Fund will help us in the next step of our operation,” Don said.

We’re honored to serve hardworking, mission-oriented veteran entrepreneurs like Don 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.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Natalie couldn’t get a loan as a young entrepreneur. Opportunity Fund said yes to her experience and knowledge in the party supply business. Now as a repeat borrower, Universe Party Supply in Watsonville is set for more success.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too.  This week, read about Natalie Angulo of Universe Party Supply in Watsonville. Natalie couldn’t get a loan as a young entrepreneur. Opportunity Fund said yes to her experience and knowledge in the party supply business. Now as a repeat borrower, Universe Party Supply in Watsonville is set for more success.

Getting the Party Started

Natalie Angulo has been in the party supply business for most of her life. It made sense for her to open her own party supply store in Watsonville when she turned 18. She started Universe Party Supply with her expertise in the business and with support from her family, but she didn’t always have the funding and administrative help she needed.

“I started at a really young age,” Natalie said. “Nobody believed I had my own business, even though I had all my identification and paperwork.”

Now 24, Natalie manages Universe Party Supply with the help of her cousin. Natalie’s two siblings also work in the store.

“It’s a family business,” she said. “My parents helped me build the business. My brothers and sisters go to school during the week and help on the weekends.”

Natalie manages the store and attends classes at Hartnell College in Salinas, working in shifts with her cousin who does the same work/school routine. She’s studying graphic design and business while preparing to transfer to San Jose State University and plans to run her business while finishing her degree.

Funding Small Business Owners

Natalie had trouble finding financing for her business, due to her very young age and no credit history as a new entrepreneur.  “Nobody wanted to lend me money,” she said. “They all assumed I had no chance of paying the loan back.”

Natalie’s father, Carlos, runs Galaxy Party Supply in Salinas. He became an Opportunity Fund small business borrower in 2013. Natalie recalls the day she learned about Opportunity Fund:

“We went to the Opportunity Fund office in San Jose where they offered a loan to my dad,” she said with a smile. “I qualified for my first loan after him.”

Opportunity Fund Loan consultant Laly Velazquez helped Natalie get her first loan of $3,000 in May 2013. She used the capital to expand her product offerings. “We started out making piñatas and selling candy,” she said. “After we made more money, we started renting out linens. Then we added party supplies and balloons.”

Natalie quickly paid off her loan and came back for two more loans: $4,900 in 2014 and $5,000 in 2016. Thanks to loan consultant Griselda Gil-Solis, Natalie got the additional money she needed to make Universe Party Supply a full-service party supply store with custom balloon decorations and jumper rental and set-up.

Natalie Angulo - Universe Party Supply

Natalie shares the fun with her loan consultant, Griselda-Gil Solis (photo courtesy of Heimo Schmidt)

Natalie has big plans as she continues to expand her business. She wants a bigger space for her store and to purchase another delivery van to help with balloon deliveries. She’ll call on Opportunity Fund again to get the capital she needs.

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

Jesus built his e-waste recycling business with 20 years of experience in the field. Thanks to a small business loan from Opportunity Fund, he’s ready to expand his business.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too.  This week, read about Jesus Gonzalez of JFG Electronics Recycling in San Jose. Jesus built his e-waste recycling business with 20 years of experience in the field. Thanks to a small business loan from Opportunity Fund, he’s ready to expand his business.

An Energized Business

Jesus Gonzalez started JFG Electronics Recycling in San Jose in 2010, after nearly 20 years in the e-waste recycling business. He used his expertise in the field and his connections in the recycling industry to get higher payouts, which has helped him build a solid customer base in the South Bay Area.

JFG Electronics Recycling buys and collects old components and electronics parts from residential and commercial customers for recycling and resale. They primarily work with people who pick up e-waste and other materials like scrap metal around residential areas, including undocumented workers. “I prefer to pay cash,” Jesus said. “It’s the best way to pay my clients.”

The business survived ups and downs in the market and a move to a larger facility outside of the downtown area. Jesus saw a need for business financing when his cash flow wasn’t as consistent as he needed, so he applied for a loan. His business banker at Bank of America couldn’t approve Jesus for a loan, but he did have a way to help the business.

He advised Jesus to call Opportunity Fund. Once Jesus had the phone number, he had the key to helping his business grow.

Future Expansion

Jesus started working with Opportunity Fund business development officer Shanna McClearn in January 2016. Shanna was able to get Jesus approved for a $20,000 loan. He cites the fast and easy process from loan application to funding as the main reason why he chose us over other lenders.

“I had the money in my account in about 20 days,” Jesus said. “I tried other lenders, but some said no. Others said to come back in a few months. Opportunity Fund said yes right away.”

JFG Recycling - Jesus Gonzalez

Our fast, easy-to-get, and affordable small business loans put a smile on Jesus’ face (Photo courtesy of Christian Peacock)

Jesus also appreciates the personal touch from Opportunity Fund, with Spanish-speaking loan funding specialists who are there to answer his questions and facilitate easy payments.

Now that Jesus has the working capital he needs, he’s looking toward the future of his company. Right now, he runs the business with his son and one other employee. Jesus wants to give his son more responsibility at JFG Recycling headquarters so he can go into the field and recruit more customers. He’s also looking to buy a truck to help expand his business.

“First I’m going to pay off my loan,” he said. “Then I can think of what to do next. I hope I can get a bigger loan so I can do more with my business.”

We’ll be there to help Jesus with our connection to easy-to-get, fast, and affordable business lending.

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

Cynthia started her first restaurant at age 17. Now at age 24, she owns multiple restaurants around the Bay Area. A working capital loan from Opportunity Fund is helping power her success in a tough industry.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too.  This week, read about Cynthia Vo of Phonomenal in San Jose. Cynthia started her first restaurant at age 17. Now at age 24, she owns multiple restaurants around the Bay Area. A working capital loan from Opportunity Fund is helping power her success in a tough industry.

Against the Odds

Cynthia Vo broke all the rules on her path to entrepreneurship. She started her first restaurant at age 17. She managed multiple eateries and a nightclub while attending college on a tennis scholarship. She went against her parents’ wishes to attend law school in favor of living the small business life. It’s that can-do spirit that fuels Cynthia’s success in a tough industry.

Now 24 years old, Cynthia owns five successful restaurants around the Bay Area. She started her first in San Pedro Square in downtown San Jose: a Vietnamese spot named On a Roll. Two years later, she started a noodle stand in the same downtown market, Phonomenal. Another two years after that, she opened a hamburger stand in the SoFA Market a few blocks away from San Pedro Square called On the Flipside. Add a nightclub and two new spots soon to open in Santa Cruz and Oakland respectively, and you can see how busy Cynthia is.

Cynthia Vo - Phonomenal

Cynthia takes time out for a bite at On the Flipside, one of her San Jose-based restaurants (Photo courtesy of Christian Peacock)

She had no trouble running the business while attending school and playing varsity tennis, but she ran into some issues with financing her growing business dreams. “Funding is so hard to get,” Cynthia said. “Nobody wanted to give me a loan because I was turning 18 at the time and I had no credit. Some lenders told me to come back in a few years.”

Building on Success

Cynthia never backs down from a challenge, so she called Opportunity Fund and got in touch with business development officer, Shanna McClearn. Shanna saw Cynthia’s excellent business acumen right away and was able to get her a $20,000 loan to help with cash flow. Since she started working with us in 2014, Cynthia has become a loyal business borrower.

“When I first reached out to you I didn’t know what to do,” she said. “Shanna took the time to sit down with me and figure out what we could do. She worked with what I had and helped me get the paperwork I needed.”

Cynthia is opening restaurants to build toward her ultimate dream: opening a country club in San Jose, with a golf course, tennis courts, and a banquet hall. She wants to raise her own capital and do it without investors, so she’s investing in the success of her restaurants to make it happen.

Opportunity Fund is happy to support hardworking entrepreneurs like Cynthia and to give them the runway they need to launch their wildest business dreams. We’ll be there to help Cynthia when she needs to boost one of her exciting new Bay Area eateries.

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