BRAWLEY – Accion, a nonprofit microlender with a regional office in San Diego, has expanded its service area to include Imperial County. Accion will bring its business loan program, which provides term loans from $300 to $75,000, and other business support programs to the area.
“Accion has continued to be approached by government, banking, community and nonprofit partners regarding a need for microlending in Imperial County,” said Accion CEO Elizabeth Schott. “We have been working collaboratively for months with nonprofits, government and other organizations rooted in Imperial County to maximize resources and minimize duplication of services in order to bring this essential capital to start-up and growing businesses.”
In the past week, the organization closed its first three loans in the county. The first loan disbursed was for Josh Maness of Brawley, whose start-up business Imperial Valley Delivery connects local restaurants with customers through a mobile app where customers can request their food to be delivered. His loan will be used to purchase office equipment, vehicle insurance, marketing materials and uniforms.
“I greatly appreciate Accion’s support in helping to get my business up and running,” stated Maness. “I am working on getting more restaurants on board to provide our clients with a wide variety of delivery options from all over the area.”
Maness was referred to Accion by Brawley Mayor George A. Nava and Mayor Pro-Tem Donnie Wharton, who saw Accion offerings as a potential fit for his business.
“It went from introducing Josh to Accion one day, and then seeing his business receive access to funding from Accion within a couple of weeks,” said Mayor Nava.
“It is fantastic to have Accion in the valley with such a streamlined process to help small businesses,” commented Mayor Pro-Tem Wharton.
The second loan closed was for Blanca Carlon of Brawley for her start-up business Sunnyside Day Care, and the third was for Jose Loera’s trucking business, based in Imperial. Carlon will use her loan to purchase toys, furniture and to make improvements to her home for the daycare center, while Loera will use his loan towards the purchase of a trailer for one of his trucks.
Initially, Accion will work to service small business owners using remote technology and staff from its regional office in San Diego, with plans to hire a business development officer to be based in Imperial in the coming months. Currently, the organization is working collaboratively with various community partners on the ground, such as the Imperial Valley Small Business Development Center, chambers of commerce and economic development offices, which provide technical assistance and support services to business owners.
The organization will host its first small business resource event in the area on Tuesday, Sept. 22, at the Fairfield Inn & Suites in El Centro. This event will feature a business resource center, networking time, continental breakfast and two specialized training programs for growing and start-up businesses. Registration to the event is free of charge to participants.
“Our Small Business Boot Camp has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs in San Diego, so we are thrilled to bring this signature event to Imperial County,” stated Chief Business Development and Strategy Officer Valery Belloso. “At this boot camp, entrepreneurs at any stage in business will have the opportunity to meet business experts, gather local resources and gain business knowledge on a variety of topics.”
The event is from 9 a.m. to noon. To register, visit www.accionsandiego.org/bootcamp.html.
Accion, based in San Diego and serving San Diego and Imperial Counties, is a nonprofit microlender dedicated to connecting entrepreneurs with the accessible financing and resources it takes to create or grow healthy businesses. By providing loans ranging from $300 to $75,000, it creates opportunity for increased income, economic stability and employment. Since 1994, Accion has provided more than 3,500 loans totaling more than $25 million in San Diego County. For more information on Accion, visit www.accionsandiego.org.