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Coco Leaf Dessert Café Opens in Dorchester, Massachusetts after Receiving an SBA Community Advantage Loan

Advisory Date: 
Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Advisory Number: 
Norman Eng 617-565-8510

Media Invited to Attend


  • Andrea Campbell, Boston City Councilor
  • Dick Dalton, Boston Regional Director, Massachusetts Office of Business Development
  • Ana Hammock, VP of Lending, Accion
  • Risa Sherman, Boston Beer Company
  • Norman Eng, Small Business Administration, Massachusetts District Office


What:       Coco Leaf Dessert Cafe Grand Opening Ceremony

Where:        1480 Dorchester Avenue, Dorchester, MA 02122

When:      Thursday, February 2nd 2016 at 9:00AM


BOSTON – On Thursday, February 2nd, distinguished guests are joining for a special ribbon-cutting ceremony at Coco Leaf Dessert Café in Dorchester at 9am. 

Founders Eric Ly and Peter Om came up with the concept for the café after traveling to Ly’s native Vietnam. It’s the only place in Boston that specializes in the Vietnamese dessert specialty of Ché. After a year of work, and with the help of an SBA Community Advantage loan from mission-based lender, Accion, Coco Leaf is ready to open.      This is the first Community Advantage loan made in Massachusetts by Accion.    

“We had found the perfect space in the heart of Dorchester,” said Ly. “However, it took more capital than we anticipated to finish the renovations and open the store.”

It was through the support of public and private partnerships that allowed Ly and Om to receive the financing they needed. The SBA’s Community Advantage loan program is a three-year pilot initiative aimed at increasing the number of SBA 7(a) lenders who reach underserved communities. Accion just recently became a certified SBA Community Advantage lender.  Through their partnerships with community organizations and banks, they are able to serve individuals who are not able to access financing elsewhere. 

“We went to a few different banks for help. The first bank waited three months before telling us ‘no.’ After that, we went to Eastern Bank. Our banker was very kind. She responded within a week and put us in touch with Accion,” said Ly. 

Ly and Om received a $132,500 SBA Community Advantage loan from Accion, which has helped them complete their restaurant. They have passed their health inspection, have garnished a sizable social media following and are ready to open in the morning on February 2, 2017. They’ll be bringing on nine employees – something that Ly is passionate about.

“We want to be able to create opportunity for people to feed themselves. We also want to create a close-knit community,” said Ly

Ly and Om will also benefit from access to business coaching through a longstanding partnership between Accion and Samuel Adams, specifically designed to support food and beverage business owners.


About the SBA Community Advantage Program
Community Advantage is a pilot initiative of the SBA aimed at increasing the number of SBA 7(a) lenders who reach underserved communities, targeting community-based, mission-focused financial institutions which were previously not able to offer SBA loans. The lending partners include Community Development Financial Institutions, SBA’s Certified Development Companies and SBA’s nonprofit microlending intermediaries, such as Accion.

About Accion
A nationwide lender with deep community roots, Accion creates economic opportunity by partnering with small business owners to provide access to capital and the business support they need to create and grow healthy enterprises and contribute to thriving local economies. Since 1991, Accion has lent over $500 million to more than 59,000 businesses and provided more than 520,000 entrepreneurs with advising services. In Massachusetts, Accion has provided more than $11 million to over 1,700 small businesses. In turn, these businesses have created or sustained more than 7,000 jobs in their communities. In 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016, Accion was recognized as the SBA’s Microlender of the Year for providing the most SBA microloans in Massachusetts. For more information on Accion small business loans in the United States, please visit