Monica SiasCDC Small Business Finance congratulates the 2014 recipients of the Arthur Goodman Scholarship! These outstanding students demonstrated a commitment to community involvement and desire to pursue a career in the field of economic development.

  • Jamie M. Harrison – UC Santa Cruz
  • Fatimata Sanogo – UC Berkeley
  • Monica Sias (pictured)  - UC Berkeley
  • Justino Eduardo Guerrero - UC Berkeley
  • Rachel Rossi - UC Berkeley
  • Brittany Stearns – University of Arizona

The Arthur H. Goodman Scholarship Endowment Fund provides financial assistance to dynamic, community-minded women and minority students transitioning from a community college in California or Arizona to four-year universities.

Congratulations to the recipients!

Posted on 9/26/2014

As published on August 07, 2014 12:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time

ANAHEIM, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–So you want to start your own business and need cash. What do you do?

“We needed capital for inventory and cash flow and the Community Advantage loan provided the springboard to a successful launch of our restaurant”

Many small businesses are getting lured by alternative lenders who charge exorbitant interest rates. But there’s another, more viable option that carries a government guarantee with it. It’s called the Community Advantage loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA).

“Banks tend to be risk-averse, particularly with new small businesses that want to borrow less than $250,000,” said Stacey Sanchez, senior loan officer with CDC Small Business Finance, the national leader in Community Advantage lending. “But banks also want to be helpful and that’s when many of them will refer their clients to the Community Advantage program.”

Many small businesses struggle to find capital and are thwarted in their attempts for various reasons, including low credit scores, limited industry experience, tight cash flow or being highly leveraged.

The Community Advantage program provides small business owners with $20,000 to $250,000 for working capital, equipment, business acquisitions, start-ups and tenant improvements. At the current time, rates can be as low 6%.

“There are many small businesses with strengths that fit the Community Advantage model very well,” said Sanchez.

One such small business is Georgia’s restaurant in Orange County which recently secured an $82,000 Community Advantage loan to help launch a new eatery in The Anaheim Packing House. The restaurant specializes in Southern-style, creole-inspired comfort food in a fast-casual dining atmosphere.

“We needed capital for inventory and cash flow and the Community Advantage loan provided the springboard to a successful launch of our restaurant,” said Marlon Machado, co-owner of Georgia’s.

Posted on 8/15/2014

Amy Lisewski, owner of Finest City Improv

Amy Lisewski wasn’t the typical person you find at an improvisation comedy class.  She was analytical, worrisome and craved control.  But the Hollywood class turned out to be a fork in her career road.

Armed with a degree in Library and Information Science, Amy worked with organizations to improve their information management and information research methods. Doesn’t sound too funny, does it?

“I was very good at my job,” said Amy. “I had an analytical brain.  I was a perfectionist.  I hated making a mistake.  The degree and career I had made perfect sense.”

”Then the Hollywood improv class jolted her out of her comfort zone and fate intervened with a life lesson.  She boiled it down to three things:  be present, listen and say “yes.”  This 3-ingredient mantra, practiced daily, made the perfect recipe for Amy to start her own business.  Finest City Improv was soon born. Finest City Improv recently partnered with CDC Small Business Finance to harness the power of SBA’s Community Advantage loan program, considered an excellent catalyst for someone with a great idea.  These loans provide $50,000 up to $250,000 in working capital to help entrepreneurs kick-start a small business.

Since the business’ launch, Finest City Improv has been on a roll.  Improv shows are staged every Thursday through Sunday, over 70 students are enrolled in classes and well-known corporate clients include GoPro, Kaiser, Seer Interactive and The Komen Foundation.

“I sometimes look back and think about the person I was before improv changed my life,” said Amy.  I’m still an analytical thinker, a perfectionist and inquisitive, but I’m thankful every day I decided to say “yes” to something outside my comfort zone.”


Posted on 7/24/2014