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Dream Weaver Latino funding program helps a small-business wish come true.

By Eryn Gable

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Guillermo Alvarado remembers collecting bottles in an alley withhis brother to raise money for movie tickets. Though the ticketscost 50 cents each, they could only raise enough money for one. Sothey went to Woolworth's, bought a pin for 49 cents, stoodoutside the door and sold it for a dollar. Then they went backinside, bought two more and sold those for a dollar each. That gavethem money for popcorn.

Despite his ingenuity, it took Alvarado, 52, decades to starthis own Chicago business. "I could just never put two nickelstogether," he says.

At least not until he found Latino Economic DevelopmentAssistance Corp. (LEDAC). LEDAC is helping local entrepreneurs wholack sufficient equity start businesses and, as in Alvarado'scase, secure loans. Along with Connections for Community Ownership,which works in African American and Hispanic communities,LEDAC's parent company, Hispanic Housing Development Corp.,started a marketing program with Chicago banks in January. Amongthe dozen franchises involved are The Coffee Beanery, FantasticSams, Gold Coast Dogs, Kid to Kid, Money Mailer LLC, Party LandInc. and Sign-A-Rama Inc.

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