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Olivia: cooking from the heart

Small business owners Olivia and Javier started Eleganza Catering but needed Lending Circles to reduce medical debt & build their business

Olivia Velazquez and her husband, Javier Delgadillo are originally from Mexico and share a passion for cooking and for pampering the people around them. Together, they have 42 years of experience in customer service and food preparation from their tenure at a popular downtown San Francisco lunch spot.

In 2010, Olivia and Javier spent long hours at the Pediatrics Intensive Care Unit at UCSF Hospital, waiting for their youngest son’s recovery from neurosurgery.

To thank the hospital staff for their dedication, Olivia and Javier started to bring in sandwiches, salads, and fruits. From there, catering requests started to come in – first for private events of the staff members, and later for larger organization-wide special occasions. And so began Eleganza Catering.

Olivia’s daughters

Olivia’s credit score plummeted nearly 200 points from the medical debt accrued while her son was going through treatment. After he recovered, it was time for the family to focus on getting rid of the medical debt and improving their credit histories so they could build their business. She learned about Lending Circles from her friends, Bruno and Micaela, who were also small business owners and who had successfully used the program to repair their credit. Olivia and her husband joined a Lending Circle in 2012 and used their loans to help pay down their existing debt.

Sophie Quinton from the National Journal reports, “After just 11 months of participating in the peer-to-peer lending program, Olivia’s credit score went from below 500 to about 670.”

Check out Olivia’s business