CenterState CEO Programs Support Entrepreneurial Journey of ElleRae’s Tacos

Posted on June 3, 2024

ElleRae's Tacos Grand Opening at SCM

Danielle Jackson’s been working toward ElleRae’s Taco since 2018 when she would informally cook for customers out of her home. But when the pandemic struck in 2020, people’s go-to restaurant choices were disrupted. Jackson then realized she could fill the gap she noticed in Cali-Mex food offerings. She’d work full time as a transportation security officer with the Transportation Safety Administration at the Syracuse Hancock International Airport while running her food business on the side.  

Jackson decided to audition for a stall at the Salt City Market in 2023 and her strong performance secured her the spot she occupies today. However, at the time she won the spot, she lacked a formal business plan and needed help securing funds for restaurant operations. She enrolled in CenterState CEO’s Start It! program in September 2023 and graduated with an actionable business plan.  

When she was unable to secure a bank loan to finance her business, Jackson applied for financing through CenterState CEO’s Growth + Equity Fund, which combines access to capital with the technical assistance she needed to move her business forward. The loan Jackson received from the G+E Fund will support the hiring of new staff and inventory purchases, among other necessities to help her business succeed. 

Jackson is the latest entrepreneur to earn a G+E Fund loan, a tool that provides financing to business owners participating in CenterState CEO’s business development programming, but are unable to access funding through traditional sources.  The fund employs strategies designed to “de-risk” participant businesses, including intensive vetting, business support services, and milestones business owners must achieve to access the fund’s capital. It also provides participants with post-financing support from the Inclusive Growth team to maximize impact.  

ElleRae’s Taco is now open at the Salt City Market Monday-Saturday. See their current menu.  

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