Volunteering & Giving
September 24, 2014

D.C. nonprofit aids in fueling (and feeding) the community

After immigrating to the U.S., a husband and wife from Ethiopia took out a loan from a nonprofit, opened a restaurant, and are enjoying huge results.

Small is HugeSM

After moving from Ethiopia to Washington, D.C., husband and wife Samuel Ergete and Meseret Bekele took out a small loan from a local nonprofit called Enterprise Development Group to share the tastes and culture of their homeland. The couple then took the money earned from their successful restaurant — Ethiopic— and opened a bakery next door.

Mesert says she has “passions to cook for people and also to entertain people.” Being a restaurateur is hectic, but she says she loves taking a moment to take it all in. “It’s nice to see people enjoying their families and rewarding to have created the space for that to happen,” she says.

Enterprise Development Group — based in the Washington, D.C., area — provides financial resources and support services to individuals, families, and small businesses. To date, the nonprofit has helped more than 1,100 businesses with an annual loan pool of between $1.8 million and $2 million. The group also focuses on job development, matching funds to help individuals save, and business classes.

“Here’s an example of some people who came without much, worked hard and were able to become business owners,” said Kevin Kelly, managing director at the Enterprise Development Group. “Essentially, they’ve achieved the American dream.”

Wells Fargo is has been committed to Enterprise Development Group since 2006 — providing grants to its micro-lending program and through loan capital, which the group lends to small businesses.

Now, Samuel and Meseret are in talks with the city about opening a restaurant in an area of town that needs revitalizing.

Enterprise Development Group stimulates small business creation by providing capital to bolster individuals like Samuel and Meseret. Often, a small loan can act as a catalyst for economic improvement in the area, stimulating employment opportunities and the local economy.