IMPERIAL COUNTY– Accion, a nonprofit microlender with a regional office in San Diego, lent more than $110,000 to Imperial Valley businesses in 2015. Thirteen loans were disbursed, which included trucking companies, a raspados business, and a dog grooming shop, to name a few. Accion launched its business loan program, which provides term loans from $300 to $75,000, in the region last July.
“We were so pleased with the way we were embraced by the Imperial Valley community these past six months,” stated Accion CEO Elizabeth Schott. “We exceeded our lending goals we set for the year and are looking forward to supporting more businesses in the community with access to capital in 2016.”
Jose Loera from JL Transport was one of the first loans funded in the region. Based in Imperial, Loera came to Accion looking for a loan to purchase a trailer for his trucking business.
“Business has been going great since I received my loan from Accion,” said Loera. “With the revenue I generated from expanding my business, I’ve been able to purchase two additional trailers and hire two more drivers to create jobs in the Valley.”
The organization recently hired El Centro resident Diana Moreno-Inman as business development officer. Moreno-Inman will be based in the Valley and will be responsible for managing business development efforts in the region which includes working directly with entrepreneurs in need of capital to start or expand their business and building strong relationships and partnerships with local agencies and banks to increase Accion’s impact in the area.
“Diana has strong connections to the Valley and brings over 15 years of experience in the business development, marketing and banking industries with a passion for financial literacy,” continued Schott. “We are very excited to have her on our team.”
The Accion local office will be located within the Imperial Valley Economic Development Corporation’s offices at 1405 N. Imperial Ave., Suite 1 in El Centro. To contact Moreno-Inman, call 760-223-9394 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Accion also expanded its other support services to Imperial Valley this year. The organization hosted two educational events, the Small Business Boot Camp and the Where’s the Money event.
On Sept. 22, the Small Business Boot Camp attracted more than 30 business owners to the Fairfield Inn & Suites in El Centro. The workshop offered two specialized programs that catered to owners of start-up ventures and growing businesses. The event also featured a community partner resource center and networking opportunities.
Accion also hosted its popular financing presentation, Where’s The Money, at the Calexico City Hall on Oct. 8. Presented entirely in Spanish, the event attracted more than 25 people and included an on-site loan center where participants were able to meet one-on-one with an Accion loan officer for approval or pre-approval of their loan application. Attendees learned about the steps to obtain a business loan and what loan options are available to them in the Valley.
The organization will continue to host educational events in the Valley. To find a current list of events, visit http://www.accionsandiego.org/events.html.
“We look forward to helping more business owners in 2016,” continued Schott. “With the addition of Diana, we will have the boots on the ground to better serve our clients and the community in the Valley.”
Accion had the highest year of production since its inception with 329 loans disbursed in San Diego and Imperial counties to nearly 400 business owners for a total of more than $3.4 million.
Accion, based in San Diego and serving Imperial, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego, 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 $26 million in San Diego County. For more information on Accion, visit www.accionsandiego.org. To apply for a business loan, visit us.accion.org.