Due to growing demand for its services, the Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC) expanded its presence and began offering its small business services in Baltimore in 2014.
Formed in Washington, D.C., in 1991, the center strives to create economic opportunity for the Latino community and neighborhoods throughout the Capital and Baltimore Region. The non-profit is dedicated to creating a better future for local residents and their families by helping them achieve small business success. LEDC celebrated its 25th anniversary last year.
Oswaldo Acosta, director of small business programs for LEDC, sat down with MDBizNews to answer a few questions.
What is your organization's mission?
The Latino Economic Development Center's mission is to drive the economic and social advancement of low- to moderate-income Latinos and other underserved communities in the Greater Washington, D.C. and Baltimore metropolitan areas. We equip them with the skills and tools to achieve financial independence and become leaders in their community.
What services do you provide?
We connect entrepreneurs with information and training to launch, stabilize, and grow small businesses in the community. We also provide access to financing for entrepreneurs to start and expand businesses. Our loans range from $5,000 - $50,000.
Tell us about a project you recently funded.
Brown Rice is a fast-growing Korean-American fusion restaurant located in the Charles Village district of Baltimore City. Brown Rice has been incredibly successful in its two years in business. Heather Chung – the entrepreneur behind the project – has more than 20 years of experience in the food industry, having worked in other restaurants and managing other businesses.
With the $50,000 loan Heather received from LEDC, she was able to expand and open a new location at R-House—a new style of food hall in a 50,000 square-foot historic warehouse in the Remington neighborhood in Baltimore City. Heather is one of the ten exclusive chefs invited to be part of this exciting new food hub. This marks Heather's third location in Baltimore City, and she is planning to open two new locations in early 2017.
What is planned for 2017?
We plan to continue our growth in the Baltimore metropolitan region. We expect to deploy over $500K in small business loans for the fiscal year and continue our expansion to Baltimore's neighboring counties.
How can our readers connect with your organization and learn more?
People can engage with us via our social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter), sign up for our newsletter on our website, or simply contact our staff at Baltimore's Impact Hub.