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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Every two weeks, we’re sharing and promoting free and 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 September 1 through 17.

Every two weeks, we’re sharing and promoting free and 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 September 1 through 17.

Northern California/Sacramento

IDEAS TO ASSETS—A Practical Guide to Patents, Copyrights, and Trademarks
Date: September 6, 2017 | 1:00 pm PDT – 3:00 pm PDT
Location: 1887 Monterey Rd. 2nd Floor San Jose, CA 95112 (map it)
Contact: Emily Navarra-Refugio | emily.navarra@sba.gov | (415) 744-6805
Organization: SBDC Silicon Valley
Fee: Free

Join SBDC Silicon Valley for this seminar on the legal principles and considerations you’ll likely encounter while converting your business ideas to assets. Get answers to your questions about requirements and procedures associated with protecting assets:

  • Inventions (patent)
  • Works of art (copyrights)
  • Brands (trademark)
  • Intellectual property (transferring, acquiring, or conveying ownership or use rights by assignment or license)
  • Manufacturers and distributors (working with outside parties)
  • Claims of possible infringement (enforcing or defending against)

Please note: this class does not constitute legal advice.

Click here to register for this event. Registration is required to attend. This seminar is also available in San Francisco on Sept. 7. Click here for more information.

Choosing a Retirement Solution for Your Small Business
Date: September 7, 2017 | 1:30 pm PDT – 3:30 pm PDT
Location: 455 Market St. Suite 600 San Francisco, CA 94105 (map it)
Contact: sfomail@sba.gov | (415) 744-6777
Organization: SBA San Francisco District Office
Fee: Free

Join the SBA for this seminar on how to prepare for retirement as a small business owner. A representative from the U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) will present information that can help you choose the right retirement solution for your small business.. The ESBA can help you ensure a financially secure future and make the right choices.

Click here to register for this event.

Running Your Own Food Business—10 Part Series
Date: September 11, 2017 | 6:30 pm PDT – 8:30 pm PDT
Location: San Lorenzo Library—Greenhouse Community Room
395 Paseo Grande San Lorenzo, CA 94580 (map it)
Contact: Lee Lambert | Lee@acsbdc.org | (510) 208-0410
Organizations: Alameda County SBDC and Alameda County Community Development Agency
Fee: Free

The Alameda County SBDC and the Alameda County Community Development Agency are joining forces to offer a free 10-part seminar series: Running Your Own Food Business.

Do you have a great idea and a burning desire to start a food business, but don’t know how? This series will help turn your idea into reality with the basics to start and grow your own food business in Alameda County.

The sessions will run Monday and Thursday evenings from 6:30pm to 8:30pm, from September 11 through October 16. Participants who attend eight of the ten sessions will receive a Certificate of Completion.

Get a preview of curriculum with Session 1: Defining Your Concept. In this session, we will discuss how to begin to take an idea for a new food company, and begin to explore how you can expand an idea into a business plan.

Start with the basic questions to answer:

  • Product (aka the “what”)
  • Target market (aka the “who”)
  • Unique Selling Proposition (aka the “why”)

Expand your knowledge with these concepts:

  • How to define success: your bottom line, triple bottom line, environmental impact, community impact, and more
  • How to identify your distribution channel options
  • How to engage key people: your shareholders and stakeholders

Click here to register for this event.

Southern California/San Diego

Create a Testimonial Video for Your Business Right on Your Smart Phone
Date: September 6, 2017 | 6:00 pm PDT – 9:00 pm PDT
Location: Orange County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
2130 East 4th St. Suite 160, Santa Ana, CA 92705 (map it)
Contact: workshops@score114.org | (714) 550-7369
Organization: Orange County SCORE
Fee: Free

A testimonial video can be gold for your business. This live demo will help you create video right on your smart phone. Use the tips, tricks, and app recommendations to kickstart video production for your business.

This workshop will have you calling “Action!” in no time. Get started with us and get your video seen on social media and in email.

Topics include:

  • How to identify the apps that make editing easy
  • How to shoot better video on your smart phone using focus and exposure techniques
  • How to get better sound and voice overs
  • How to get the most mileage from your testimonial video
  • How to market your video online with email and social media with actionable steps

Click here to register for this event.

Using Facebook and LinkedIn to Drive Business
Date: September 13, 2017 | 9:00 am PDT – 11:00 am PDT
Location: Riverside Chamber of Commerce
3985 University Ave. Riverside, CA 92501 (map it)
Contact: Diana Cescolini| diana.cescolini@scorevolunteer.org | (951) 652-4390
Organization: Inland Empire SCORE
Fee: $15 pre-registration | $25 at the door

You probably know it by now: social media is a smart way to attract business. The mystery of how to use social media to grow your business is harder to figure out. This workshop unlocks the mystery and gives you a step by step process for how to get started.

We will cover:

  • Differences between Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin
  • The right platform for your business
  • Your page, account, and profile: how-to’s for creating and managing your presence
  • Social media works for your business

Click here to register for this event.

2017 Small Business Expo
Date: September 14, 2017 | 9:00 am PDT – 5:00 pm PDT
Location: California Market Center—Penthouse
110 East 9th St. Los Angeles, CA 90079 (map it)
Contact: clientservices@theshowproducers.com | (212) 404-2345
Organization: Los Angeles Latino Chamber of Commerce
Fee: Free (upgraded services are available starting at $20)

Small Business Expo is America’s biggest and most anticipated business-to-business networking event, trade show, and conference for business owners, entrepreneurs, start-ups, and decision-makers.

Why you should attend:

  • Network with thousands of business owners, entrepreneurs and start-ups
  • Access to 25+ Business Critical workshops and seminars to help your business grow
  • Join speed networking sessions to make new contacts quickly
  • Learn about new cutting-edge products and services
  • Establish hundreds of new and valuable contacts
  • Interact with the movers and shakers of your industry
  • Leave the show with hundreds of qualified sales leads

Your free admission badge gives you access to the following areas of the Expo:

  • Exhibitor Hall
  • Workshops and seminars
  • ‘Get Dotted’ Business Networking Areas
  • Speed Networking Sessions
  • Business Card Showcase and Exchange
  • #smallbizselfie Contest
  • eLounge
  • Inspiration2020 Theatre Business Presentations, including Bill Walsh – The 7 Keys to Build a 7-Figure Business Presentation from 4:30 PM-6PM, Google’s Main Stage Presentations, the Free Bonus Small Business Workshop presented by our Titanium Sponsor, Powerteam International

Upgraded services are available for additional fees starting at $20. For more information about these services, click here.

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

Cybersecurity: Protect your Business and your Clients
Date: September 6, 2017 | 8:30 am PDT – 9300 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Carole Harris | carole.harris@sba.gov | (312) 353-4003
Organization: SBA Illinois District Office
Fee: Free

Small businesses are increasingly being targeted by cybercriminals seeking economic gain through the exploitation of cyber systems. About half of small businesses in the U.S. have had their data breached in the last year. As a small business owner, you’re at risk of losing your customer information, your reputation, and  your intellectual property – all of which have real financial consequences.

This webinar discusses best practices devised by experts in the public and private sectors to help you mitigate the risk of a cyber breach and avoid issues that come with cybercrime. Topics include:

  • Sources of threats
  • Types of countermeasures
  • Additional resources

Take the first step to secure your business by participating in this free webinar.

Click here to register for this event.

A Simple Approach to Better Workplace Communication
Date: September 7, 2017 | 10:30 am PDT – 11:30 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Larry Batten| larry.batten@sba.gov | (304) 623-7447
Organization: SBA West Virginia District Office
Fee: Free

Strong communication skills are essential in business. According to research published by the Holmes Report, miscommunication issues in business cost companies $62.4 million per year.

In this webinar, you’ll learn a simple communication framework that will reduce miscommunication in the workplace and put more of your hard earned money back in your pocket.

Click here to register for this event.

Tips for Measuring Your Online Success
Date: September 13, 2017 | 7:30 am PDT – 8:30 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Megan Ernst | megan.ernst@csi.cuny.edu | (718) 982-2560
Organization: Staten Island Small Business Development Center
Fee: Free

You invest time, effort, and resources into your online presence, but do you know how much it’s worth to your bottom line?

This workshop introduces ways to track and measure progress. Learn the top ways to measure your online success with tools from the SBDC and Google.

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.


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.

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

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.

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.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

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