There is excitement in Aurea De La Cruz’s eyes.
In a week’s time, she will open the doors to her new small business, Baby’s Start Daycare.
Coming from a family of schoolteachers, Aurea’s passion for teaching and working with children was innate. After moving from Peru to the U.S. in 2001, she began working at a daycare center in the Petworth neighborhood of DC.
“I’ve always loved spending time with children—learning of their abilities, their stresses, and their worries— sharing those moments with them,” Aurea shared. “But more importantly, helping them discover their creativity.”
Soon, ideas for new activities flourished, and with that a budding desire to have her own business.
“I wanted something different that I could call my own, something innovative with my ideas,” said Aurea. “At the daycare, I had to respect the way the owner managed her business—I couldn’t just impose my ideas on a whim.”
After developing her business plan and creating her own website through the Latino Economic Development Center’s (LEDC) small business workshops, Aurea felt ready to take the next step. When a key source of financing through the city unexpectedly dried up, Aurea turned to LEDC’s Community Asset Fund for Entrepreneurs.
Aurea worked with loan officer Christina Stockamore to secure a $10,000 business loan through Kiva City DC to help with her project costs—such as purchasing cribs and furniture—to pass inspection and start generating revenue for her business.
“I felt impotent at first,” Aurea recalls. “But thanks to LEDC, I was able to receive the financial assistance needed to cover those expenses—I was so happy and relieved to know that I could count on this organization to turn my dreams into a reality.”
Since securing the loan, Aurea was also able to qualify for a new square cash register through LEDC’s Small Business Development Department that has helped her integrate low-cost technology to make her business more efficient.