Impact Investing

Battle Creek’s first Burmese restaurant

A plate of a noodle dish at Shwe Mandalay Burmese Cuisine restaurant in Battle Creek, Michigan.
A plate of Burmese noodle dish.

Most Burmese Americans live in metropolitan areas with large immigrant populations, like Los Angeles, San Francisco Bay Area, New York City, and Washington D.C. However, more than 1,100 natives of Burma currently live in the Battle Creek area. They are part of a movement that began more than 30 years ago when members of the city’s First Baptist Church agreed to sponsor prominent Burmese families. Today, they are an important, racial and ethnic group that help weave together Battle Creek’s culture tapestry–making the city lively, diverse and economically thriving.

When Amanda Sunthang approached a commercial bank for funding to open Battle Creek’s first Burmese restaurant, they only lent her enough money to buy the building and little else. To be successful, she needed working capital to buy equipment, renovate the parking lot and have a cash back up for payroll. She turned to the Battle Creek Small Business Loan Fund.

This is Amanda’s story.

A day with the Hmong American Farmers Association of Minnesota

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