Spring 2012

Saluting the Women of AnewAmerica

“AnewAmerica salutes its women entrepreneurs and the contributions they make to the economy, the community and their families. Thanks to the generous support of the U.S. Small Business Administration, AnewAmerica is able to operate as a Women’s Business Center, supporting the startup and growth of women-owned businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area. This issue celebrates our talented and successful women entrepreneurs.”
-Jeff Butler – AnewAmerica Women’s Business Center Director

Donor Spotlight: Cathay Bank

An Interview with Esther Wee, Senior Vice President & CRA Officer

1. Why does Cathay Bank support the work of AnewAmerica?
AnewAmerica helps new Americans, especially those below the extremely low-income limit, to attain economic self-sufficiency. Their three-year micro-business development program provides thorough and comprehensive training to about 1,200 individuals annually. AnewAmerica is resultsoriented and its programs lead to job creation. It provides financial
literacy education in three languages to a broad spectrum of families in the Bay Area.

2. Why is it important to enable low-income new Americans to learn micro-enterprise development skills?
Historically and globally, micro-enterprises represent an efficient self-sufficiency and job creation platform. However, it is through training programs like AnewAmerica’s micro-business development program that many micro-entrepreneurs are armed with business management skills that ensure the long-term viability and success of the micro-enterprises.

3. Cathay Bank is a strong supporter of AnewAmerica’s work as a whole, and specifically our work in financial literacy education. What do you see as the value of providing financial literacy education to new American entrepreneurs?
Cathay Bank is the oldest bank in the country founded by Chinese Americans. Over the past 50 years, we have witnessed the growth and success of many of our customers - from micro-enterprises to multimillion dollar corporations; we know what it takes for a new American to run a strong and successful business. New entrepreneurs today face an even more difficult and challenging world. Financial literacy education will help optimize resources to result in a win-win for all, the entrepreneur and the community. Cathay Bank applauds AnewAmerica for their strong commitment to community development and the success of their financial literacy programs. To learn more about Cathay Bank’s efforts to serve communities, visit

Entrepreneur Spotlight

Agnes Baariu
AnewAmerica Class of 2008
Kenyan Safari Designs

Agnes started Kenyan Safari Designs to bring Kenyan necklaces, earrings, carved wooden animals, bowls, utensils and other handmade African decor to the Bay Area. Agnes has a close relationship with the impoverished Kenyan women who make her products, and she is dedicated to helping them improve their lives. She currently sells Kenyan jewelry and artifacts at the Ashby Flea Market; however, she is passionate about opening a storefront and focusing on wholesale markets. A storefront would enable her to sell her products all year, without being contingent on the weather, which is the downfall of the open-air markets in which she does business. AnewAmerica is working with Agnes to find a location that will best suit her business needs. AnewAmerica is also helping her to secure the credit she needs to expand her business.

Agnes is passionate about sharing the culture of Kenya with the Bay Area, and having a storefront will enable her to increase the scope of her products in service of this vision. In addition, as a single mother, her business is crucial to supporting her family. She states, “The knowledge I gained through AnewAmerica has been very helpful. I am building my business and bringing it toward the next level, where I want it to be.”

Shop at Kenyan Safari Designs at the Ashby Flea Market: Saturdays 10am-5pm; Sundays, 11am-5pm.

Iliana Sarmiento
AnewAmerica Class of 2010
Body Sculpture Spa

Iliana owns and operates Body Sculpture Spa, a spa dedicated to helping people lose weight. She credits AnewAmerica for helping her establish and grow her business: “Through the financial seminars, tax workshops, marketing, business planning, green business practices, asset planning and social responsibility curriculum, I learned how to help my business succeed. Thanks to AnewAmerica, I was awarded a NOVA Microenterprise Grant from the City of Sunnyvale for $10,000, which allowed me to update my business by purchasing new equipment. After I completed AnewAmerica’s 25-week business planning course, my gross revenue greatly increased. The income I receive from my business helps to support my family and my future life goals. My business pays for my children’s education, regular family expenses, and savings for the future.”

Body Sculpture Spa is located at 213 E. Maude Ave. in Sunnyvale.



Nancy Rosales
AnewAmerica Class of 2009
Pepitos Ic e Cream and Abel 1950
Green Business of the Year Award- 2011

Nancy has a passion for giving hand-churned, all-natural Mexican ice cream a contemporary twist. Her business, Abel 1950, combines the best of traditional Mexican paletera recipes, passed down from her grandparents, with high-quality agave liquors. Nancy’s ice cream passion is rooted in exploring the flavors of her culture. Her current ice cream flavors include Mexican Hot Chocolate, Sweet Mango, Caramelized Sweet Corn, and Sweet Potato. Nancy is committed to using green business practices. Her product is all-natural, sold in recyclable containers, and she is moving toward using 100% organic ingredients. Nancy states, “I got an amazing education at AnewAmerica. The classes helped me develop and plan for my business. AnewAmerica enabled me to network with the resources I needed to launch and grow my business.”

Abel 1950 desserts can be found in Draeger’s Markets and Whole Foods Markets in San Francisco. Nancy’s first ice cream business, Pepitos Ice Cream, is still available for catering and events. Pepitos’ fusion flavors include Flan, Dulce de Leche, Pine Nut and Guava Sorbet. Nancy is pictured above (left) with her mom (right).

Cammy La
AnewAmerica Class of 2001
Vi Gallery

Cammy La owns and operates Vi Gallery, a boutique in San Francisco’s Embarcadero Center specializing in unique woodcarvings, silk scarves and other items imported from her native Vietnam, as well as decor made by local artisans. Cammy states, “AnewAmerica is always there for me. They empower women and they empower minorities. My business is a big blessing. My dream come true.”

Cammy regularly returns to Vietnam to purchase inventory for her business. She maintains a relationship with the artists who supply her gallery, and witnesses the craftsmanship and effort that go into the beautiful water puppets, lacquer boxes and silk lanterns she sells on their behalf. Cammy also spends much of her time in Vietnam volunteering at a Global Education and Development Agency orphanage, which she also financially supports.

Cammy is dedicated to green business practices, and is an AnewAmerica Certified Green Business. Visit Vi Gallery at 4 Embarcadero, 4EC in San Francisco. Open Mon-Fri 11am–6:30pm, Sat 11am–6pm. Cammy also sells her products on the Anew E-Store, operated through a partnership with E-Bay’s

Tina Ferguson-Riffe
AnewAmerica Class of 2012
Smoke Berkeley

Tina grew up on Texas barbecue. She’s always had a love for food, which naturally led her to a life as a chef. Last fall, she opened Smoke Berkeley, a Texas-California-France inspired BBQ restaurant. Tina’s signature dish is a tea-smoked salmon served with ginger-cilantro sauce. In addition, she sells a variety of smoked meat sandwiches and entrees, including smoked beef brisket and pulled pork. Sides include organic collard greens, jalapeno mac & cheese, griddled zucchini pancakes, coleslaw, potato salad, and Mexican cornbread. She also serves up fresh squeezed Meyer lemonade. Her desserts have already earned her fame: her chocolate pecan pie received mention in the East Bay Express as one of the top “Ten desserts for the Budget-Conscious”. Everything served at Smoke Berkeley is homemade and the produce comes from Catalan Farms, a local organic farm owned by Maria Catalan.

Tina states, “AnewAmerica helped me to align my business, put my business plan together, and learn about the logistics of tracking revenue and inventory. I can’t tell you how much joy I feel when I am able to speak to each of my customers. People want to know that you appreciate their business. I’ve loved every minute of it.”

Visit Smoke Berkeley at 2434 San Pablo Avenue in Berkeley, Tuesday-Saturday 12-7pm.



AnewAmerica Honored by Nancy Skinner

AnewAmerica was honored by Assemblymember Nancy Skinner (14th District) at her annual Women’s Empowerment Dinner, held on March 8th at the Mira Vista Golf and Country Club in El Cerrito.The evening celebrated organizations and leaders who are dedicated to serving women. AnewAmerica was honored alongside three other agencies: Bananas, Inc, Women’s Cancer Resource Center and the Women of the Year Committee 2009-2011. AnewAmerica is a Small Business Administration Women’s Business Center. Approximately 60% of our entrepreneurs are women.

We are also proud to note that our own Board of Directors Secretary, Chris Sorensen, was one of the 12 special women to be honored and recognized at the dinner.

Pictured above, Assemblymember Nancy Skinner (left) and AnewAmerica CEO, Viola Gonzales (right).