Total loan: $10,000


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Rochester, NY, United States / Food

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A loan helped a young urban entrepreneur market his restaurant.

Zaaqi's story

My name is Zaaqi Johnson, a young urban entrepreneur, with a passion for creating delicious, nutritious, quality food. The idea of being an entrepreneur is exciting. I like the idea of being my own boss. We all have something we are good at. My passion to create good food led to me opening a small business in my own local community in Rochester New York. I am not afraid of the hard work this prospect requires. I am encouraged by the idea that my hard work contributes directly to the success of my business. I recognized my talent for cooking many years ago. I worked in various food service positions before attending Monroe Community College’s Culinary Arts program in Rochester New York. I was working at a local premier resort hotel responsible for brunch every Sunday which typically served 150 to 200 people. Other than the occasional acknowledgment from patrons who frequented the brunch, I had very little to show for the labor I was putting in, working for someone else. A few of my co-workers offered me encouragement. The experience convinced me that I had the skills and the stamina to be able to run my own restaurant. I started selling dinners out of my Mom’s kitchen to my family and friends, advertising through social media. I used the money from those dinner sales to rent a space and to fund renovations for the restaurant. I received a lot of financial and physical help from friends, from my family. We painted, renovated, cleaned and sanitized the restaurant.