Yordanos Asmelash Haile, Asmara Cafe

Asmara Cafe specializes in traditional brewed Eritrean and Ethiopian coffee and food such as chicken kilwa, foule and sambusas. Owner Yordanos Asmelash Haile is a first-generation American having immigrated to the U.S. from Eritrea in East Africa. She aims to highlight her cultural flavors through the menu at her coffee shop.

Charlie Mercado, Gamepoint Basketball

Gamepoint Basketball based out of Oceanside, California is an elite youth basketball club founded by Charlie Mercado in 2004 and serves young men ages 9-17. Charlie founded the business to give back to his community and stay connected to the sport he loved playing growing up and in college. Currently heading into its 18th season with locations in San Diego, Riverside and Orange counties, Charlie credits his amazing staff of 11 coaches and over thousands of players for Gamepoint’s success.

Soichi and Raechel Kadoya, Soichi Sushi

Chef Soichi Kadoya was a highly respected fixture in San Diego’s sushi scene. After 25 years of training in Japanese cuisine, he and his wife Raechel were ready to branch out and start their own restaurant.

Daniel Palacios, Berkeley Pizza

In the fallout of the 2008 Great Recession, Daniel Palacios — then a real estate investor in San Diego — wanted to reinvent himself in another industry. During this phase, Palacios recalled the hearty stuffed pizzas he regularly craved from establishments like Zachary’s when he studied at UC Berkeley. Then it dawned on him: There was nothing quite like it in San Diego.

Rosario Sotelo and Rodnia Attiq, El Borrego

Mother-and-daughter Rosario Sotelo and Rodnia Attiq are the owners of El Borrego, the first restaurant in San Diego to serve lamb barbacoa. While El Borrego is now a full-service restaurant, they started out very small almost fifteen years ago by selling barbacoa under a tent in a driveway on the weekends. By word-of-mouth, Rosario and Rodnia’s customers started telling their friends about “El Borrego,” which means “the lamb.”

James Holtslag, The Heart and Trotter

Civic San Diego provided Accion San Diego, a nonprofit microlender, $400,000 in lending capital from the Civic San Diego Loan Fund in 2017. This capital is supporting small businesses in communities that have a median household income of $60,000 or below. One of the businesses who received funds was The Heart and Trotter Butchery located in the El Cajon Boulevard Business Improvement Association (BIA).  Voted San Diego City Beat’s Best Butcher Shop the last three years, the Heart and Trotter is a whole animal butchery offering the highest quality, hormone and antibiotic free meats and products sourced from local sustainable ranchers and businesses.

Jeremy LeBlanc and Chad Berkey, Tin Play

After four years of development, Jeremy and Chad were ready to launch their line of speciality bartending tools, but needed a small loan to get started. Thankfully, Accion San Diego was there to fill the gap with a $25,000 microloan.

Unita Parnell, Caribbean Day Spa

From a young age, Unita Parnell knew that she wanted to take a different path. “I had no footprints to follow,” Unita shared about her childhood. “Many people around me lacked the motivation to boost their own economic situation, choosing to not further their education nor pursue avenues of self-improvement.”