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Monday, Sep 25, 2023

Starbucks Brews Fund to Help Small Business Thrive

Donate an extra five bucks to that Starbucks barista who’s making your skinny peppermint mocha, hazelnut latte or café mocha. It’ll help business owners in the San Fernando Valley get some financial help. The Create Jobs for USA Fund was started by the national coffee chain and the Opportunity Finance Network provided a $63,000 grant to the Valley Economic Development Center to disperse to Los Angeles area business people to create and retain jobs. It is the first installment the lender will receive, said VEDC President and CEO Roberto Barragan. “It is money that we can lend to a business that is riskier and might not get it another way,” Barragan said. The Create Jobs for USA Fund got off the ground in November, when Starbucks customers and employees began making donations. For a $5 minimum donation either online or at a Starbucks store, the donor receives a red, white, and blue wristband with the message “Indivisible.” The Starbucks Foundation also provided $5 million to get the fund started. A release from the Opportunity Finance Network said that a forecasting model — developed by the organization with input from independent economists — estimated that for every $21,000 a business receives through the program one job is created or retained. While only one business will receive the grant money, the key is that it can put someone back to work or help retain a job, Barragan said. “It will take a greater effort than what the government can do to affect the unemployment rate,” Barragan said. Century Housing in Culver City was the only other Los Angeles area community development financial institution receiving money through the program. It received a $231,000 capital grant in November. To Barragan, the Create Jobs for USA fund is not just about the money. It is also about getting exposure for the VEDC and other community development financial institutions that help small businesses. Barragan said the marketing muscle that Starbucks can put behind the program is just as valuable as the grants. His hope is that San Fernando Valley residents who stop at Starbucks will donate to the fund because the money will come back to help area businesses. Money to Lend Networking group ACG 101 Corridor pulled in a full house Jan. 4 for its monthly meeting in Westlake Village that featured a panel discussion titled “The State of Capital Markets.” And just what is that state? Banks, private equity and mezzanine financing lenders are willing to provide money for businesses in the middle market and it’s not all “doom and gloom” in the words of David Bonrouhi, managing director at Calabasas Capital, who served as moderator. Steve Wiesner, a senior vice president with private equity firm Evergreen Pacific Partners, finds the landscape to be competitive. That, in turn, has made Evergreen more willing to come up with solutions that the shareholders of a company are happy with, he said. Specifically, Evergreen shows more flexibility when older shareholders want to cash in and walk away. “Historically we have been hardliners about shareholders owning some skin going forward,” Wiesner said. When approaching a lender, be it a bank or private financing, a business owner needs to be realistic about the state of their business and should rely on their advisors, lawyers and accountants to have verifiable numbers and other information ready to hand over. “We can handle bad news,” said Jeri Harman, of Avante Mezzanine Partners in Los Angeles. “We cannot handle it as a surprise.” Being upfront is important, said Jason Horstman, who works out of the Woodland Hills branch of Union Bank, but so is having a plan to show lenders and a multi-year budget. “Banks are willing to finance acquisitions, so at some point do your diligence,” Horstman recommended. “Don’t go into an acquisition where you will undermine your core business.” Union Expansion Union Bank announced the hiring of a new executive for the Los Angeles area and the opening of a new branch in Agoura Hills. Mike McCormick joined as a sales manager in the consumer lending group. He will be responsible for growing residential lending in the San Fernando, Santa Clarita and Simi valleys, and in Thousand Oaks. McCormick will also manage a team of mortgage consultants who serve clients in the region. Prior to joining Union Bank, McCormick was a mortgage banking executive at Wachovia. The new branch in Agoura Hills opened on Dec. 19 and is run by branch manager Michelle Mianrood. “We are thrilled to open this new branch in the Agoura Hills area to better serve our existing clients and meet the banking needs of this community,” said Union Bank Executive Vice President Leticia Aguilar, regional executive for the Los Angeles and Central California regions, in a prepared statement. Joining Mianrood are Senior Priority Banking Relationship Manager Yasmeen Fasheh, Customer Service Manager Mabel Herrera and Senior Relationship Banker Andrew Romero. Staff Reporter Mark Madler can be reached at (818) 316-3126 or by e-mail at mmadler@sfvbj.com

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

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