How the owners of Mamacitas Cafe used a Kiva loan to expand their business

In the summer of 2015 Renee and Shana, co-founders of Mamacitas Cafe, had a problem: they needed capital to expand. Their recent orders outstripped their capacity to produce and they had to turn down large jobs, causing them to miss opportunities that would have grown their young business.

Renee and Shana had a vision - they were starting this business to train young women in the community with skills to find jobs. They cobbled together their start up funds and officially launched in 2014 as an East Bay pop-up shop. As demand for Mamacitas Cafe grew, Shana and Renee faced similar issues that other new and growing businesses face: interest rates from traditional lenders were prohibitive, and it was difficult to figure out how much debt they could take on.

A connection with the City of Oakland referred Shana and Renee to Kiva Zip, a non-profit crowdfunding platform with a mission to improve access to capital, especially for for small and start up businesses. The co-founders applied for a 0% interest, $10,000 loan to purchase a high-quality espresso machine to outfit their new space. They enlisted the support of their East Bay community to raise the funds.

“We were stunned at how quickly and easily we raised the money.” Shana noted, “Getting the machine allowed us to generate more sales for the Cafe and purchase the exact machine we wanted instead of compromising on low quality equipment.”

With the new space and quality equipment, Renee and Shana have been able grow their business and follow their mission of social justice for local women. Check out Mamacitas Cafe at 1714 Franklin Street in Oakland!


Posted by Spencer Larkin, Program Associate, Kiva Zip

Feb 18, 2016

Spencer joined the Kiva Zip team after 3.5 years working for LinkedIn in Chicago. The transition into the non-profit space was motivated by his drive to make a difference in the lives of others and to dedicate his time pursuing more mission-driven work. Originally from Northern Indiana, Spencer has spent most of his life in the Midwest and graduated from DePauw University with a dual degree in Conflict Studies & Spanish. He enjoys running, training for triathlons, and exploring new fly fishing holes.


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