Accessity Where Access and Community Meet

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Mujerbrave

A successful local business creates job opportunities, encourages community investment, and drives economic diversification forward. Access to resources centered around financial and technical support can highly benefit a small business that is on the rise. Local community organization, Accessity, has helped under-resourced entrepreneurs navigate the difficult stages of owning a business for 30 years. As both a nonprofit and Community Development Financial Institution, Accessity provides entrepreneurs with capital and educational resources to help launch, maintain, and grow their small businesses. It manages a $20.7 million active loan portfolio with approximately 900 clients throughout Southern California, including San Diego County.

When a small business owner partners with Accessity, they are also gaining access to Accessity’s community, corporate, and government partners. As part of their Economic Prosperity giving initiative, San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) has supported Accessity for over a decade to build relationships with local business, education, and workforce development sectors. Through shareholder-funded grants, SDG&E has invested in many of Accessity’s key initiatives, including its microlending program. The microlending program includes educational event outreach that supports 650 entrepreneurs and hosts 8-10 free workshops on business essentials annually. This collaboration has helped propel local small businesses closer to their business development goals.

 

“This partnership exemplifies the power of local collaboration in driving positive community impact,” said Angela Zappia, Director of Grants and Impact. “Our decade-long partnership with SDG&E has been vital to Accessity’s work in the San Diego entrepreneurial community.”

 

The program has primarily benefited entrepreneurs of color, low- to moderate-income individuals, women, and immigrants. While some entrepreneurs face challenges like access to sufficient capital or industry knowledge, individuals within these demographics also face cultural and language barriers. Accessity’s mission is to meet these entrepreneurs wherever they are in their business journey, curating resources specific to their business needs.

 

Businesses that participated in the program have enriched our region through their inspiring stories and innovative ideas. MujerBrave and Maya’s Cookies are two women-owned local businesses that built their businesses from the ground up with the help of Accessity. With a loan from Accessity, MujerBrave was able to curate their inventory of one-of-a-kind artisan bags imported from Mexico. Maya’s Cookies went from selling fresh vegan cookies at local farmer’s markets to expanding their reach into two brick-and-mortar locations in San Diego.

 

Guillermo ‘Mo’ Gomez was also able to take his growing independent record shop, Mo Records, to the next level after seeking support from Accessity. Mo’s passion for selling records began in 2020 when he operated a vinyl record kiosk inside Liberty Public Market which is located within Liberty Station. With support from the program, Mo transitioned his business from a kiosk to a storefront while maintaining his location at Liberty Public Market. The improvements allowed his business to thrive in the adequate space needed, attracting more customers and increasing sales.

 

In 2023, Accessity’s microlending program provided small businesses in the county with $2.7 million in capital and supported the creation and maintenance of 225 jobs. This organization continues to be a critical resource for entrepreneurs seeking to build a prosperous business and a brighter future.

To learn more visit, www.accessity.org.

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Esteban Villanueva
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