Tag Archives: United States

My Introduction to Accion, Margarita and the Moreno family

When I signed on to intern with Accion East and Online, they told me that I would get a hands-on view of the inner workings of microlending. Sure enough, just one week after setting foot in Boston, I was in the backseat of a car zipping downtown with two members of the Accion team on the way to personally meet clients. “You know Spanish right?” they asked.



Margarita, owner of Amador Home Improvement

Our first stop was to visit Margarita —proud owner of Amador Home Improvement, a residential remodeling company based out of Chelsea, Massachusetts. Margarita has been working closely with Accion since 2006. She receives contracts from commercial companies and the government to refurbish residences throughout the Greater Boston area, working in all remodeling fields, including interior and exterior painting, masonry, house cleaning, carpentry and tiling. Now with 12 employees, over 60 projects, and only four days to prepare each residence to be move-in ready, Margarita is always on the run. Extremely dedicated to her work and her two children, Margarita hopes to continue to expand her business to provide for her family and her children’s education.


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Simeon, greeting us with his warm smile

Already in the neighborhood, we popped in for a surprise visit to Moreno’s Barber Shop in Egleston Square Commercial District in Roxbury. Co-owners Simeon—who first opened the business 20 years ago under the name Moreno’s Unisex Salon—and his grandson Jonathan have recently renovated their space, and the old school barber shop now has quite the shine. Check out their Facebook page to see the before and after photos from the transformation! Now with a new look, Jonathan is looking to continue to expand the family business to bring in more revenue and clients. Moreno’s Barber Shop claims to offer “affordable, friendly and accommodating” service; and from my brief experience it is obvious that they offer nothing less, greeting every individual who walks through the door with a smile that fills the room.

 Needless to say, the move to Boston is already proving to be exciting and it is clear that Accion is committed to maintaining lasting relationships with clients.

Attention Microfinance Students! 2 Days in New York, 40 breakout sessions and 800 attendees…for only $75!


ACCION USA, Opportunity Fund, and Kiva bring you the Microfinance USA 2011 Conference this May 23-24 in New York City!

Are you a student interested in local economic development? Are you passionate about being part of the growing microfinance movement in the U.S. – and interested in learning from industry experts about the impact you can make? If so, this conference is not to be missed. Microfinance USA provides a unique setting for networking and learning from the industry’s top practitioners, funders, and researchers.

Topics that will be discussed at this year’s conference include:

  • What does “Microfinance” mean? – debating and defining our terminology
  • Impact of microlending in the U.S.
  • Social Entrepreneurship and Microfinance
  • Promise and Peral of Microfinance Impact Evaluations

Over two days, you can:

  • Network with leading practitioners and researchers in the U.S. microfinance field
  • Attend plenary sessions and panels led by the nation’s leading microfinance voices.
  • Deepen your understanding of the challenges facing Microfinance Institutions through case-study analysis.
  • Experience microfinance first-hand by touring local microenterprises in New York.
  • Debate current microfinance topics during small group sessions and networking dinners.
  • Discover how students LIKE YOU are impacting the domestic microenterprise industry in remarkable ways
  • Collaborate with student microfinance clubs and young professionals across the country

For More Information please visit the website:


Student Price: $75

Want To See The Way Microfinance Works From The Inside?

Microfinance USA 2011Join us, December 1st at 5:00PM  EST for “Underwriting: Microfinance Behind the Scenes,” an exciting webinar about how to underwrite a microloan presented by the  Microfinance USA 2011 Conference. We’ll be hosting two of the industry’s leading loan underwriters: Neil Boss, Senior Underwriter at ACCION USA and William Cardenas, Senior Loan Consultant at Opportunity Fund.

Their online presentation will include:

  • Case studies of recent loan approvals
  • Common microloan application strengths and weaknesses
  • Internal processes (and the evolution of processes) that have lead to improved and quicker loan decisions
  • Plenty of time for virtual Q&A with webinar participants

The webinar will give a sneak peek into the types of topics and sessions that the Microfinance USA 2011 Conference will explore. We’re excited to co-present the conference in New York City on May 23-24, 2011, in partnership with Opportunity Fund and Kiva. We’ll make sure you’re the first to know when registration opens later this year. In the meantime, this webinar is not to be missed!  Register now and mark your calendars for this exciting event.

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A Pilot Seminar Initiative

It’s a rainy Tuesday night in East Boston; a nice night to stay at home or in the shop. Yet at 143 Border Street in East Boston, dozens of entrepreneurs trickle in to grab a seat for the second night of a seminar series on Business Financial Management. The energy and excitement grows, as business owners from around East Boston and the greater Boston community, fill up a conference room at the Neighborhood of Affordable Housing (NOAH), and East-Boston based community development corporation, to participate in a class on ‘Understanding Financial Statements’.

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Seminar participants

This is the second class of a six-part seminar series for Latino business owners on Business Financial Management. The series was designed by a collaborative group of business assistance providers and community organizations including ACCION USA, the Hispanic American Chamber of Commerce, East Boston Savings Bank and NOAH. These organizations came together with a common goal of facilitating a comprehensive series on managing business finances, led entirely in Spanish, while providing a space for business owners to make connections with one another.

Seminars take place every Tuesday night for six weeks and are led by professionals in financial planning, accounting, and ACCION USA. The continuous flow of questions, answers and comments last week indicated that many entrepreneurs have real questions around how to organize and reconcile their expenses, while others have examples and ideas that they are willing to share.

Small businesses are essential to building strong communities and a healthy economy.

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Microfinance Week In Review: Week Ending September 3rd

Some of the week’s news in the microfinance, green business initiatives and the small business sector:

Brazil! Meet Two Inspiring Female Brazilian Entrepreneurs in Boston

ACCIONistas Erica Dorn and Amelie Busch, had the opportunity to visit two ACCION USA female entrepreneurs in Boston recently. This short video about their trip is an inspiring look into what microfinance can do not only for small business but also women hoping to improve their livelihood. A small loan from ACCION USA can enable women to be financially self-sufficient while growing a business that strengthens the economy. Those are just two reasons why female entrepreneurs ought to have better access to financial capital and a chance to be the strong and fabulous women that they all are!

Visiting Two Female Entrepreneurs in Boston from ACCION USA on Vimeo.

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