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Aug 12, 2015 11:53 AM ET

Archived: Mamacitas Cafe: is an Oakland-grown initiative that hires and trains young women ages 16-24 to run a cafe. We want to cultivate economic opportunities for Oakland’s young people

iCrowdNewswire - Aug 12, 2015
Personal Story

I am a mom, long time Bay Area resident, small business owner and a whole lot more! My small business, Mamacitas Cafe, began to take shape while working at KPFA radio where I served for ten years as a producer, engineer and media justice trainer for women and people of color to tell their own stories. I met my business partner Shana Lancaster in that program and really cultivated my skills as a program manager and advocate. After KPFA, I continued to utilize my background in leadership development, community outreach and communications to organize for racial justice and local investment in Oakland’s youth. I’m inspired by my community and the positive reinforcement my extended network of friends provide.

Mamacitas Cafe is particularly a reflection of friends like Keba Konte of Red Bay Coffee, Sabrina from The Town Kitchen and Rachel from Owl N Wood who have really supported us to pursue our dream for Oakland. This network of fellow movement makers are not only successful business owners, they are advancing their vision through a social justice mission. I am a single mother with a great amount of focus and determination on my life goals and I strive to consistently provide a positive example for my own daughter. I have an amazing business partner named Shana Lancaster, who is born and raised in Oakland. She is an invaluable, dedicated and extremely skilled business partner. She has a gift for bringing art into our work, while building amazing relationships that help to push our business goals forward.

Business Description

Mamacitas Cafe is an Oakland-grown initiative that hires and trains young women ages 16-24 to run a cafe. Mamacitas Cafe serves locally sourced specialty food and drinks, including our signature ‘Donut Kebab’ and locally roasted Red Bay Coffee. Mamacitas innovative mobile cafe travels throughout the Bay Area and cooks Donut Kebab to-order, onsite, at a variety of events and festivals as well as providing full coffee and drinks service.

Mamacitas Cafe was founded by Directors Shana Lancaster and Renee Geesler who believe strongly in cultivating opportunities that bring economic possibilities to Oakland’s young people. While Oakland has seen tremendous economic growth in the last 3 years, the city has also seen a rise in childhood poverty rates in the same time frame. Mamacitas prioritizes the training and advancement of their female employees and provide mentoring, leadership training, professional coaching and transferable professional skills.

What is the purpose of this loan?

Gaining access to capital will provide a tremendous amount of support while Mamacitas Cafe scales. We have operated as a pop-up and catering business for the past year, but we have outgrown this model and need more infrastructure. A loan will help us as we move into a brick and mortar cafe and will allow us to increase our catering offerings, while also increasing revenue with everyday cafe sales. We have recently had to turn down business because we didn’t have the space and tools necessary to complete larger jobs.

This loan would provide us the space and the capital to hire on additional youth staff and purchase a commercial mixer to sell more donuts. Being able to open a cafe space would mean not only increased business, it would also mean creating a home for the young women we serve. Many of our employees have backgrounds that have challenged their sense of belonging or worth and Mamacitas Cafe has become like a family to these girls. Having a physical space where youth can not only come to work, but can truly feel a sense of belonging and ownership is critical.

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