City of San Antonio Economic Development

The Culture of Business


SAN ANTONIO – Mayor Ivy Taylor and the San Antonio City Council recently appointed an advisory board to provide strategic guidance to Café Commerce.  Café Commerce opened in June of 2014 as a collaborative effort between the City of San Antonio Economic Development Department and LiftFund to strengthen the local small business community by creating a solid community referral network that provides a broad range of expertise to assist in starting or growing a business. Café Commerce provides quick access to a network of entrepreneurial support, business-building services and collaborative opportunities with small business community partners.

“The Café Commerce board is made up of a great group of successful, local entrepreneurs that I believe will help further strengthen and bolster our community’s efforts to grow the startup ecosystem in San Antonio,” said Mayor Ivy Taylor.

This new advisory board consists of the following local community members:

  • Mari Aguirre-Rodriguez, Founder, Opt In, The Workery
  • Paul Foster, President/CEO, Foster CM Group
  • Jody Newman, Owner, Friendly Spot, B&D Ice House, Hills and Dales, Alamo Street Eat Bar
  • Jane Phipps, Founder, Fresh from Texas
  • Lisa Wong, Owner, Rosario’s Mexican Café and Ácenar

“We look forward to drawing from the dynamic talent our advisory board will bring to guide Café Commerce in building relevant, timely and stronger resources to spark the entrepreneur’s journey,” said Café Commerce President, Nadia Auch.

The members of the advisory board will provide Café Commerce staff guidance on programs and services offered to ensure they are relevant to small business owners.  The board will also help strengthen the impact of the Café Commerce network by building community involvement and support.

“The advisory board is made up of successful, hard-working entrepreneurs, many who have overcome challenges over the years and can provide direction to small business owners based on their own experiences,” said LiftFund President and CEO, Janie Barrera.  “San Antonio is a powerhouse for small business owners and it’s important that we continue to provide entrepreneurs the opportunity to realize their dreams, ultimately driving our city’s economy.” 

About Café Commerce  

Occupying 10,000 square feet on the first floor of the San Antonio Central Library, 600 Soledad St., Café Commerce is a one-stop entrepreneurship and small business resource center. Café Commerce blends technology, peer-to-peer mentorship, educational curriculum, and other programming and partnerships to make entrepreneurship easier, and speed the delivery and efficacy of small business support resources.

 One San Antonio

Diverse, internationally connected and globally competitive, San Antonio has a vibrant culture and economy and is consistently ranked among the fastest-growing cities in the United States. America’s seventh-largest city offers opportunities in industries ranging from bioscience, financial services, aerospace, cybersecurity, energy and transportation manufacturing to healthcare. We are “Military City USA,” home to crucial military commands supported by a patriotic citizenry. We welcome 31 million visitors annually who inject $13.4 billion annually into our economy, and UNESCO recently designated the city’s Spanish colonial missions as a World Heritage Site. Celebrating its 300th anniversary in 2018, San Antonio is a city with a storied past and an even brighter future. For more information, visit

About LiftFund

Established in 1994 in San Antonio, Texas, LiftFund is a financial and business-support service organization that helps entrepreneurs strengthen their businesses, stabilize and increase their incomes, create employment and contribute to the economic revitalization of their communities. LiftFund has the nation’s largest microlender portfolio and is committed to providing capital to entrepreneurs who do not have access to loans from commercial sources. Since its inception, LiftFund has made over 17,000 loans totaling more than $200 million.



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This entry was posted on January 8, 2016 by in News Stories, Press Releases.

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