Accion is a non-profit microlending organization that has provided access to capital and support services to local small businesses for over 20 years. We are passionate about empowering entrepreneurs and offering them the tools necessary help them thrive in their communities. See what we have been up to below.

December 29
WHAT DOES A STRONG WOMAN LOOK LIKE? premium

What does a strong woman look like? How do you honor your parents’ legacy? What does it mean to succeed? Watch the video to hear Azra’s story and learn about her business, Plaques by Azra.

It has been a momentous two years for Azra. She’s attended a Tory Burch coaching event and talked with Eric Schmidt, the Executive Chairman of Google, she’s participated in American Express OPEN for Women’s CEO Bootcamp, was selected to be in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program, and participated in Accion’s MicroConsulting Program. All of this started with an Accion microloan to purchase equipment for her awards manufacturing business.

Azra’s business began the day she was born. Her father immigrated to Elmhurst, Queens from Tanzania with the dream of building a better life for his family. Shortly after Azra was born, he launched Plaques by Azra. And when Azra …

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December 18
FROM FASHIONISTA TO FASHION DESIGNER & ENTREPRENEUR premium

JPMC Accion East ATM South FL Promotion Dec 2015(1)

Turning a passion for fashion into a business requires a clear concept, unique designs and a strong brand. Growing up, Debra delighted in reading Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar magazines. While attending college in New York City, she began developing a vision for the kind of clothing she wanted to produce. Her brand identity was unique as it was closely tied to her Cuban roots.
After returning to her hometown of Miami, Debra made the decision to start her business.  Yet she needed capital to kickstart her business. She had come across convenient and quick borrowing options that are commonly found online:

“Sure, the loans were quick and easy to get, but at a large cost. With Accion, the process was clear, fair and simple. I also felt safe,” explains Debra.

Debra received her first loan through Accion, and participated in Accion’s financial literacy courses which helped her transition from designer

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December 16
Food & Beverage Business Tips! premium


When starting your own business, some of the best lessons can be learned from those who’ve already gone through the process. Here are valuable insights from some Accion clients who built their own successful food and beverage businesses from the ground-up:

  1. Dream Big and Just Do it!
  2. Build your “Dream Team”
  3. Accept that Failure and Growth go Hand-in-Hand
  4. Be Clear About Your Intentions
  5. Make Time for Life Outside of Work
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December 16
INVESTING IN THE LONG TERM PROVES TO BE DIFFICULT premium

MLF-LogoOn a daily basis, consumers make in-the-moment decisions that interfere with long-term best interests. These decisions range from choosing an unhealthy meal, to texting and driving, to financial decisions. Dan Ariely, a professor of psychology and behavioral economics who is interested in why consumers choose to act against their own long-term goals, has announced a new research center called the “CommonCents Lab,” funded with a $7.9 million grant from the MetLife Foundation. These studies will be devoted to helping America’s low- and moderate-income families, who are often faced with difficult everyday financial choices.

Ariely stresses the temptation surrounding consumers, such as mall advertisements and apps, which urge consumers to make a commitment of time, money and attention right now. Ariely concludes that the solution is to teach consumers about money and implementing ways for consumers to save in the long term (such as 401Ks).

“For example we did …

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December 10
ACCION CLIENT FEATURED IN FORBES ARTICLE premium

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Accion client Anthony Bellamy of Chicago is featured in a Forbes article today, “Why Online Small Business Loans Are Being Compared to Subprime Mortgages,” which highlights the lack of transparency for borrowers in online small business lending, particularly with regard to APR (annual percentage rate).

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December 9
TORY BURCH FOUNDATION FELLOWS COMPETITION premium

Tory Burch Fellows Competition

The Tory Burch Foundation has launched its inaugural Fellows Competition, which will identify 10 women entrepreneurs to receive access to capital, education, mentorship and networking.  

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December 7
CONGRATS TO THE 2015 PITCH ROOM COMPETITION WINNER CHIC-A-PEAS! premium

CHICK A PEAS

The 3rd Annual Brewing the American Dream Pitch Room Competition was held on Thursday, December 3rd at WeWork in New York City’s Financial District.  The winner of the $10,000 business grant and a year of coaching with Samuel Adams was the New York based company, Chic-a-Peas, owned by David Levi and Darren Shlisky (shown above with Boston Beer Founder and Brewer, Jim Koch).  Chic-a-Peas are a healthy,  baked chic pea snack that come in a range of flavors including Sea Salt, Falafel, Sweet BBQ, and Fresh Salsa.  The runner up of the Pitch Room Competition was Ryan Cahill, owner of Aveyo, an avocado mayo spread.  As runner up, Ryan will receive 10 hours of business coaching with Samuel Adams.  Other Pitch Room contestants included: Katie and Charlie Morgan of Right Bee Cider from Chicago, Liz Gutman of Liddabit Sweets in New York, Ray Berry and Mike Yates of White

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December 7
FAST TRACK FEATURES: STEMS premium

Stems

On any given morning, Suzanna Cameron of Stems finds herself at a local flower market by 6 a.m. selecting the brightest, most unique flowers for the day ahead. Stems, a flower shop located within a bar in Brooklyn, New York has seen sales double in the last year, hired three full time employees and is looking to expand to an additional two locations. Suzanna is an Accion client who was selected to be part of our new leadership and business accelerator program, Fast Track, which is supported by Capital One and the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. Fast Track is providing 27 outstanding loan clients from around the country with coaching and mentoring over several months to help set their businesses on a path to growth. See a video about the program here.…

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December 2
SAMUEL ADAMS AND GOODWIN PROCTER’S FOOD LABELING WORKSHOP COMES TO BOSTON! premium

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On Tuesday, December 1st as part of its Neighborhood Business Initiative, Goodwin Procter teamed up with the Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream program to bring its annual Food Labeling and Packaging Workshop to Boston.  This event was held at the Samuel Adams Brewery in Jamaica Plain and covered topics in Design, Marketing, Intellectual Property and Products Liability for small business food and beverage entrepreneurs.  Attendees heard from Samuel Adams employees and legal experts from Goodwin Procter on business and legal issues affecting the food and beverage industries. The workshop began with an opportunity to network for food and beverage entrepreneurs followed by presentations on:

• Designing your label from shapes to strategy
• Owning your logo & brand – trademark and other intellectual property law
• Beer label basics
• Creating and building a brand
• Bold letters, fine print and product liability

The event ended with a …

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December 1
ACCION BUSINESS TIP OF THE MONTH: DECEMBER premium

How to Increase Sales During the Holidays

To explore our full library of business tips, articles and videos go to us.accion.org

A successful holiday season means attracting new customers, making sales, and building relationships to carry you through the rest of the year. With the holidays fast approaching, now is the time to formulate your plan to attract customers. Here are cost-effective steps to take now to ensure a lucrative holiday season for your small business.

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