Total loan: $15,000


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Oakland, CA, United States / Food

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A loan helped a Puerto Rican vegan fast-food business open their first physical restaurant location.

Natasha's story

My business partner and husband Darren spent the majority of his youth in NYC before moving to California. As a teenager, Darren had gone through the school system with dyslexia and hence struggled to acquire necessary information, which prevented him from sharing a sense of community with his peers. As Darren entered college, he eventually realized that his strengths are inclined toward entrepreneurship, rather than academics. In 2007, he moved to California to become an entrepreneur. Before we opened Malibu’s Burger, Darren had gone through many trials and errors; however, he was able to persevere due to his vision of being a role model for African-American community. Growing up in NYC, Darren had witnessed an abundance of crime and violence, and as he developed the vision as an entrepreneur, Darren wanted to grasp any opportunities to change not only his life but also his family and community’s life–Malibu Burger’s is that opportunity to cause a spark in African-American community. I spent the majority of my life in Puerto Rico, before attending UC Berkeley as a Ph. D student in archeology. However, a shift in my research interest occurred after a hurricane in 2017 caused immense damage to my homeland. After the hurricane, the people of Puerto Rico struggled to survive in their daily lives as they relied heavily on imports for food and the hurricane disrupted the supply of food. I empathize with the pain that my people experienced and shifted my research interest to food security. Our business, in such sense, is quite meaningful because we want to provide an affordable gateway to veganism in the form of fast food. We recognize that veganism can be restricted by one’s budget, and we believe that our business will help more people to live a sustainable lifestyle through veganism.