When Luisa Alberto and her business partner Derek Castro started Sōw Juice in 2012, it was with a vision of providing a healthy product, created sustainably. Sōw Juice is a juice company specializing in delicious organic and only California-grown juice combinations, made fresh to order in San Francisco. Still working full-time jobs, Luisa and Derek started the business as a Farmers’ Market stall on weekends, but slowly their following and passion for the business grew until they decided to try to make the business work full-time. Luisa found the perfect space for the business: a kiosk outside San Francisco’s historic Ferry Building that would allow Sōw Juice to sell throughout the week and exponentially increase their sales.
Unfortunately, Sōw Juice’s revenue was not high enough for Luisa to be eligible for a bank loan – money she needed to build out the new kiosk, install new equipment, and buy the inventory she’d need in order to ramp up production. Fortunately, Luisa was referred to Working Solutions by one of our nonprofit partners, the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center. Luisa completed Working Solutions’ application process and presented her business to our Microloan Committee, which believed in her passion and drive to succeed as an entrepreneur. Luisa received a five year, $50,000 loan to build out her new space, and was matched with Jaclyn, Working Solutions’ Business Consulting Officer whose expertise is in food businesses.
Jaclyn renewed Luisa’s financials, gave her a financial acumen assessment to gauge her familiarity with financial management tools, and created an Action Plan setting out goals for Luisa’s business. Jaclyn also invited Luisa to participate in Working Solutions’ QuickBooks Clinic, where Luisa received a two-hour individual consultation with a CPA from San Francisco’s SBDC, who was able to answer her specific QuickBooks questions and help her understand her bookeeping needs. Luisa meets monthly with Jaclyn to review her financial statements and progress on Luisa’s business goals, and will have access to low-cost referrals, volunteer mentors in her industry area, and free legal services for the life of her loan.
"Working with Working Solutions is like being welcomed home and having a warm blanket wrapped around you,” says Luisa, describing her experience with our Business consulting program. Build out on Luisa’s kiosk at the Ferry Building is nearly complete, with a November opening planned!