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Valerie enjoyed her 15 years in the behavioral health field, but then the economy soured and she closed her office. She decided to pursue her dream of becoming a chocolatier. “One holiday season we bought some confections from a well-known candy giant; after sampling our purchase, my children said that I could do better.”

Valerie started Zuzu Candies in February of 2012 in a rented commercial kitchen in Modesto, California. Over the past year she has refined her recipes, using local farmer’s market ingredients. She established the business and hired her good friend’s college-aged daughter to help with sales. Her chocolate does well at the local farmer’s market; she won five stars for her French Honey Caramels in a very competitive competition that got her noticed by a well-known market in Los Angeles.

Valerie has being doing everything by hand - a long and tiring process. She needs professional machinery to be able to produce enough chocolate and maintain proper temperature for her new, expanded markets. She would like to buy tabletop chocolate tempering machines that will allow her to produce up to 20 pounds of chocolate at one time.

Valerie is a single mother with three children. Her son Derek attends community college in Los Angeles and works part-time in the business, delivering chocolates to the local markets. She is requesting this loan because banks in her area do not make loans to startup businesses, so she turned to Fresno CDFI for financing.

If you would like to visit Zuzu Candies visit:

Additional Information

More information about this loan

This loan has been made in collaboration with CAMEO (California Association for Micro Enterprise Opportunity) in order to build microlending capacity in California. In this partnership, CAMEO serves to support California microlenders, such as Fresno CDFI, throughout its partnership with Kiva. CAMEO’s mission is to grow a healthy, vibrant, thriving environment for all entrepreneurs and start-up businesses by advancing the work of its statewide member network.

About Fresno Community Development Financial Institution

Fresno Community Development Financial Institution (Fresno CDFI) provides affordable financing, training and technical assistance to individuals, small businesses and community facilities. Founded in 2007, it focuses its efforts on low- and moderate-income communities aiming to serve the financial needs of small business owners and entrepreneurs.

Kiva lenders’ funds are used to expand Fresno CDFI’s microenterprise loan fund with a focus on providing loans under $10,000. This is of particular importance to Fresno CDFI because the organization was initially created with the intention of servicing borrowers in need of smaller loans.

About United States

  • $54,800
    Average annual income
  • 0
    View loans »
    United States Loans Fundraising
  • $12,977,700
    Funds lent in using Kiva
  • US Dollars
    Loan transacted in USD

Success!! The loan was 100% repaid

A loan of $6,100 helped Valerie to purchase 2 chocolate mixing machines and packaging materials for her candy-making business.
100% repaid
Repayment Term
26 months (Additional Information)
Repayment Schedule
Dec 5, 2012
Dec 13, 2012
Currency Exchange Loss:
Jun 19, 2013