AGF and YBA Announces Support of Local Business Start Ups – Small Business Trends

San Francisco (PRESS RELEASE – May 19, 2011) – The Arthur Guinness Fund(AGF) and Youth Business America (YBA) recently announced the inaugural group of YBA entrepreneurs to receive funding based on a grant to YBA from the AGF in the United States. The five initial awardees will receive funding and mentoring services from YBA to establish and grow their businesses in the San Francisco Bay area. The AGF is a $10 M global program dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs that make a positive social or economic impact in their communities. Through this platform, the AGF will help YBA pursue its mission of identifying and supporting young entrepreneurs who have a sound business concept and the desire and skills necessary to succeed, regardless of their economic circumstances.

“The Arthur Guinness Fund is the modern legacy to our founder Arthur Guinness,” said Oliver Loomes, GUINNESS Global Brand Director.  “Through the support of YBA we continue his dedication to ‘doing good’ and his pioneering work in corporate philanthropy by funding these organizations that empower communities through economic investment and job creation.”

The entrepreneurs selected by YBA to receive support from the Arthur Guinness Fund include:

Claire Hoyt, Big Dipper Baby Food

Turning her passion into her career came naturally for Claire Hoyt. The concept for Big Dipper Baby Food was born from cooking for her own son and grew into the idea to sell her made fresh daily, organic baby food and toddler meals. Claire was approved for YBA support to establish a space at the Bernal Heights collaborative marketplace and a home delivery service for San Francisco families.

Esther Flatto, Flip Slips

A Mary Jane shoe that folds in half, collapses, and completely reverses into its own pouch that fits into a small purse, Esther Flatto developed Flip Slips after suffering through too many unbearable walks up San Francisco hills in high-heel shoes. Esther was approved for YBA support to help get her business off the ground in 2011.

Evan Bloom & Leo Beckerman, Wise Sons Deli

With a vision of sharing culture through food, Wise Sons Deli will fill the void of quality Jewish Deli food in San Francisco and sources all products from local businesses. Wise Sons Deli was approved for YBA support to establish a permanent location in San Francisco’s Mission District that will create significant employment in the area.

Keith O’Hara, Eco Performance Builders

With a goal of making the Bay Area a greener place to live and work, Eco Performance Builders build and retrofit homes that will be energy efficient, comfortable, safer and healthier.  The company was approved for YBA support so that Keith and his brother Scott can expand the business, hire additional employees and take on more home performance retrofits and green building projects in the East Bay.

Lucina “Lucy” Marecos, Christian “Ned” Halaby, & Keith Agoada, Lucina’s Kitchen

After attending a dinner party where guests raved about her carne and caprese empanadas, Lucina “Lucy” Marecos was inspired to create Lucina’s Kitchen. Joining co-founders Ned Halaby and Keith Agoada, the business was approved for YBA support to help with start-up costs for scaling their business with a line of frozen empanada products.

Through the Arthur Guinness Fund and Youth Business America these entrepreneurs will receive investment funding and mentoring support from area business leaders across a wide range of specializations matched up to their specific business needs.  A key element of the program will be to offer counsel in marketing and innovation and educate these aspiring entrepreneurs about the importance of establishing social responsibility practices for their new ventures.

“We are thrilled to announce the first round of YBA entrepreneurs in the US and thankful of the generous support of the Arthur Guinness Fund,” said Henry Rogers, CEO, Youth Business America. “YBA is a member of Youth Business International (YBI).  Founded in 2000 by HRH The Prince of Wales, YBI is a global network of independent non-profit initiatives helping young people start and grow their own business and create employment.”

Within the YBI network, YBA serves as an important forum for American foundations, universities and corporations that are focused on issues of youth economic empowerment and microenterprise development. A founding supporter of YBA, the Arthur Guinness Fund, which was established in 2009 to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the signing of the lease for the St. James’s Gate Brewery, aims to fund and support at least 150 young entrepreneurs in the YBA program over the next five years. Through this commitment, AGF hopes to empower these individuals to use their entrepreneurial thinking to create solutions that will lead to lasting, positive change in their communities.  For additional information on the program and how to apply, visit

In addition to the partnership with YBA to aid entrepreneurs in California, the Arthur Guinness Fund has also enlisted Ashoka, the global association of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs, to act as its global partner, providing funding to eligible social entrepreneurs across the U.S. and around the world. For additional information about the Arthur Guinness Fund and its involvement in supporting social entrepreneurship throughout the world, visit

About the Arthur Guinness Fund

The Arthur Guinness Fund is an internal program set up to further the legacy of Arthur Guinness and support social entrepreneurs around the world.   The fund was launched and set up in 2009 to mark the 250th anniversary of the signing of the lease for the St. James’s Gate Brewery. Guinness & Co is committed through The Arthur Guinness Fund to identifying and supporting social entrepreneurs globally with the skills and support required to deliver a measureable, transformational change to communities around the world.

About Diageo

Diageo is the world’s leading premium drinks business with an outstanding collection of beverage alcohol brands across spirits, wines, and beer categories. These brands include Johnnie Walker, Guinness, Smirnoff, J&B, Baileys, Cuervo, Tanqueray, Captain Morgan, Crown Royal, Beaulieu Vineyard and Sterling Vineyards wines. Diageo is a global company, trading in more than 180 countries around the world. The company is listed on both the New York Stock Exchange (DEO) and the London Stock Exchange (DGE). For more information about Diageo, its people, brands, and performance, visit us at For our global resource that promotes responsible drinking through the sharing of best practice tools, information and initiatives, visit

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About Youth Business America

Youth Business America’s mission is to Find, Fund and Mentor young entrepreneurs who need help to start-up or expand their own businesses, which would generate employment and promote the economic health of low and moderate income communities.  Based in Oakland, California, it presently focuses its program on young people aged 18 to 35 who have completed entrepreneurship training with one of YBA’s Community Partners serving communities throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.  As YBA develops it will roll out its program to other communities in California with the goal of establishing a national network.

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