OAKLAND -- An Oakland business was honored Tuesday by a public benefit financial development corporation for leading the way in small business capital funding.
Back to the Roots, founded by former UC Berkeley students in 2009, is a business that helps people grow their own mushrooms at home. The products from the small business are sold at Whole Foods nationwide, among other retailers.
The local business was recognized by Northern California Small Business Financial Development Corporation, or Nor-Cal FDC, which secured lending to the business to allow it to grow.
Nikhil Arora, co-founder of Back to the Roots, said without financing from the corporation they would not have been able to build their capital.
"It's just been really cool working with them," Arora added. "They've created a really awesome community around small businesses here in Oakland and we've been able to be a part of that."
At their event in San Francisco, Nor-Cal FDC recognized three businesses, including Back to the Roots, as well as showcased the corporation's website which will launch next week. It will include free programs and services for small businesses to learn about loan options, among other things.
Nor-Cal FDC has trust funds that allow the corporation to provide loan guarantees. In the last year, it gave a little more than $23 million into loan guarantees to small businesses in California, primarily in the Bay Area, said Arthur Washington, CEO of Nor-Cal FDC.
"We're honoring them for being a great example of a business to follow that template of being able to get financing," Washington said.
Back to the Roots, which received its first loan for $50,000 in 2011, has been growing ever since, but Arora said this is only the beginning.
"We want to build a brand that lasts for generations," Arora said. "We feel we're just getting started. We're excited to keep growing and hopefully there's a lot more to come with this partnership (with Nor-Cal FDC)."