Transforming Dreams Into Reality
Since 2001, our primary goal has been to help refugees, immigrants and low-income individuals achieve America’s promise of opportunity by providing them access to necessary financing to start their own small business.
More than 20 years and 3,400 loans, totaling over $52 million, our work continues to serve as a bridge toward self-sufficiency to those individuals residing throughout the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area that need access to loan capital and assistance acquiring general business skills.
Delivering Economic Hope and Well-Being
Together with our partners and funders, EDG has helped improve the economic and social welfare outcomes for countless individuals living in our local communities.
As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, our passionate team strives to help individuals attain America’s promise of opportunity by providing them access to necessary financing to start or expand their own small business.
As part of our broad range of programs, we offer training and services that focus on the fundamental aspects of operating a small business, how to create a viable business plan, tax planning, marketing, as well as many other essential advisory services.
Client Success Stories
Transforming Lives in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area
In the trucking industry, a space dominated mostly by male figures, it was a breath of fresh air when Cintya Pinto walked through EDG’s doors.
Just four years beforehand, Cintya said she did not know what to do to support her family. As an immigrant and single mom with children to support, she took a leap of faith and learned how to drive a dump truck. She received her commercial driver’s license and began driving dump trucks for an area-excavating firm.
Little did she know that driving would not only support her family, but also pave the way for her to eventually own a business and start her very own company, VPTS Trucking.
Cintya approached EDG because she saw that there was so much demand for truck drivers in the Washington, D.C. area. She said there were times she would be using her own network of truck drivers that she had met in the field just to satisfy a contract won by her then-employer. She realized that if she owned her own truck, she could increase her revenue. So, she approached EDG to borrow a loan to purchase a 2007 Kenilworth truck.
Since then, Cintya has purchased a third truck, has hired her own team of drivers and consistently wins sub-contracts with both government and state agencies.
Meaza Ethiopian Restaurant
Ethiopian business owner Meaza Zemudu was born from humble roots. Founder of Meaza Restaurant, Café and Gourmet Grocery Store, Meaza started her business by supplying local Ethiopian stores with her home-baked injera bread, a crepe-like staple of Ethiopian cuisine.
Demand for the tangy bread grew, allowing her to open her majestic restaurant, which welcomes guests to dine on traditional Ethiopian fare. Many of Meaza’s dishes are flavored with purified, spiced Ethiopian butter, from the “ye beg kikil,” or lamb stew in spicy sauce, to the “kitfo,” ground beef traditionally served raw or rare and mixed with cardamom and a “mitmita” spice blend. The chefs still bake Meaza’s injera from teff grain as an ubiquitous side and utensil alongside the fare.
EDG is proud to have supported Meaza in its expansion phased in 2016 and 2017. Her restaurant also has been featured in numerous media outlets, including the Washingtonian and the Washington Post.
We Build Food Trucks
Osvin first came to EDG in 2015 requesting a $15,000 loan to start “We Build Food Trucks,” a small company that makes and renovates food trucks. Previously, Osvin’s credentials at that time would not support an approval of the loan via other financial institutions.
However, EDG took a chance and decided to give him one-third of the amount he needed, a loan of $5,000, which allowed him to purchase a portable generator that he can use on any worksite. Because EDG reports his repayment to the credit bureaus, he was able to improve his credit score from 604 to 624 in nine short months.
A few months later, EDG contacted Osvin to see if he would be interested in borrowing another $1,500 to help him with expenses. Since his loans in 2015 and 2016, Osvin has been able to renovate 20 food trucks and increasingly grow his business.
He also serves as EDG’s “go-to” person whenever a client would like to purchase, renovate or construct a food truck.
Organically Evolved: Bear Brick Oven Co.
Owned and operated by husband and wife duo: George & Sophia Jarrell; Bear Brick Oven Co., a pizzeria, located at 15410 New Hampshire Avenue in Silver Spring, Maryland, reminds one of a local community hangout where a family can spend causal dinners out making memories of enjoying one another’s company. All the while giving mom and dad a much-needed break.
Upon meeting with Mr. George Jarrell, owner and operator, one is greeted with warmth and genuine hospitality. As we sit discussing the evolution of Bear Brick Oven Co., I learn it originated in December of 2019, with remodeling construction commencing the following month of January 2020. Then, the unthinkable happened. The COVID-19 pandemic struck in March. Which resulted in an abrupt halt in construction. In the face of adversity, George remained steadfastly undeterred to launch his restaurant. Part of the residual fallout from the pandemic, George needed capital to cover unanticipated expenses
compounded by delays. As a result, George, with his wife’s blessing, made a calculated decision to withdraw funds from their 401K to get construction back on course. Having previously owned a Jerry’s Subs and Pizzas franchise and former corporate trainer for the brand, George knew every faceted detail to address. The biggest decision he made was choosing to go with a brick oven to distinguish his pizzeria.
Readying a restaurant in the midst of COVID-19 was no easy feat. It would take 16 months from December 2019 for his restaurant to be fully operational. Finally, the day arrives to open. This time, George needs capital to cover day-to-day costs and staff wages. As he sat in the parking lot of his daughters’ high school, by divine intervention an advertisement for micro loans pops open on his phone screen. In that split second, George’s problem was answered. George immediately got to work researching; and, found the ECDC Enterprise Development Group (EDG). What appealed to him was that EDG is a community-based lender. George made a call to meet with a loan officer and received the $50,000 in capital needed. Bear Creek Oven Co.’s doors officially opened in April 2021;
and employs a staff of 25. When asked what’s on the horizon, George said, “I’m looking at a site in Damascus, Maryland, where more week-night family and
community-wide memories can be made.”
Lloyd Wolf – Photographer
Small Business Administration (SBA): Payroll Protection Program Helping Columbia Pike Legendary Photographer Lloyd Wolf Survive COVID-19 Shockwaves
Mr. Lloyd Wolf, a locally renowned photographer, has been self-employed for the better part of 30 years as a freelance photo journalist. He works with a broad spectrum of organizations that include trade associations, corporations, government agencies and local television networks.
Lloyd has worked with the ECDC Enterprise Development Group (EDG) for years as a freelance photographer sharing his photos illustrating the long historical evolution of the Columbia Pike business community, which EDG serves as a bridge when capital is needed to open doors. Throughout the years, the historical
relevance of the photos Lloyd has taken for print and digital use is priceless. Many in the business community experienced various setbacks caused by the pandemic. As Lloyd explains his situation, he went from having several functions a week to photograph to having none. Overnight the well of his livelihood dried up, leaving him on the brink of unimaginable financial hardship. Granted as a veteran freelance photographer he had savings, but over time the funds were exhausted and Lloyd found himself in need of financial relief. Arlington County Board Member Takis Karantonis recognized that EDG could help him with the SBA Payroll Protection Program unveiled in 2021 to provide the much-need relief to struggling entrepreneurs. Taking Takis’s good counsel, Lloyd reached out to
EDG and was able to qualify for the program, gaining a momentary reprieve from the day-to-day challenge to find viable work solutions to meet monthly expenses. Lloyd said, “EDG was a Godsend. Without EDG’s help, I would not have known the program existed. I came in to complete the application, and the loan officer did everything else to qualify me for the SBA program and approve my loan. Afterwards, staff was conscientious in their follow up to notify me about the PPP Forgiveness Program. Again, assisting me with that process as well.” “EDG serves an invaluable role to the Columbia Pike business community, said Lloyd. “Without EDG more small business owners would have closed their doors for good.”