VEDC is a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide business resources to underserved populations in California, New York and Chicago. They work with both start-ups and existing businesses, providing technical assistance, educational training, and loan capital products with the intent to create jobs and support local communities. Below is our interview with Ray Vadalma, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Credit Officer; and Monica Guevara, Managing Director of Programs at VEDC:
Q: What resources do you offer to small business owners?
A: Programs in 6 locations provide 1-on-1 business consulting, training workshops, business plan guidance, special events, and networking support to entrepreneurs in Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley. Our financing products, ranging from $500 all the way up to $500,000, provide term loans to growing businesses for permanent working capital, equipment, business acquisitions, and other purposes when the owners cannot access traditional bank financing.
Rosie Arias, owner and founder of Whimsical Charm, San Pedro, CA
Q: You’ve recently announced a $150K grant received from the Tory Burch Foundation and Bank of America; could you tell us something more?
A: VEDC and the Tory Burch Foundation, with the support of Bank of America, have worked together over the last 3 years to aid women entrepreneurs with an infusion of capital into their businesses. This capital helps make their businesses bankable, and provides them with less expensive options to borrow money and build their neighborhoods.
Support from the for-profit sector and companies such as Bank of America and the Tory Burch Foundation is instrumental in providing VEDC the bandwidth to sustain more entrepreneurs across the nation. Through the support of banks, foundations, government programs, and individuals, VEDC provides comprehensive technical assistance and loan fund programs to low-income and minority business owners.
Q: Why do you think that helping small businesses is important?
A: Small businesses are the engines of economic growth and of vital importance to communities. Their existence emboldens local investment, increases the local tax base, reduces economic inequality, keeps jobs within their neighborhoods, and combats wage disparity (more data here: https://ilsr.org/key-studies-why-local-matters).
We understand that by providing an entrepreneur enough opportunities to realize their business’s success, the entire area around them succeeds as well. With knowledge, resources, and helpful guidance and support, these entrepreneurs are empowered in their work, generating economic growth and positively impacting their community.
Toni Ricci, owner and founder of Elite Dance & Performing Arts Center, Woodland Hills, CA
Q: What are your plans for the future?
A: VEDC is driven by the success of the entrepreneurs we have served for over 40 years, and we will continue to grow and reach more and more businesses for decades to come. Our technical assistance programs will offer more resources that small businesses need to be successful in the 21st century. Our lending products will encompass a wider market and meet the ever-growing capital needs of entrepreneurs in California and across the U.S. With large growth in the predatory lending space and the steady advancement of another economic recession, we hope to see more CDFIs like us stepping up in the market to support small business in America.