Raya’s Cultured Café named winner of Sunmark Federal Credit Union Business Grant

(Latham, N.Y.) Raya Ioffe of Raya’s Cultured Café, a collection of fermented, probiotic-rich products including Kombucha (cultured tea) and kraut (cultured vegetables) that will bring traditional healing foods into Capital Region markets is the winner of the Sunmark Business Grant contest, a competition for new businesses and entrepreneurs from Sunmark Federal Credit Union.

“It was a really competitive field this year and coincidentally, all of our finalists were women-led businesses. The contest is a great snapshot of the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit in the Capital Region,” said Sunmark EVP Frank DeGraw, who participated on the judging panel.  “Raya’s business plan shows a lot of initiative and she has carved out a great niche that combines the growing movement of people wanting locally sourced products and a natural approach to treating digestive problems.”
            As the Sunmark Business Grant winner, Ioffe received $1,000 in a Sunmark account.

The second place winner is Scofield Access Solutions, a professional services company that specializes in the assessment, sales, installation and servicing of residential and commercial elevators, wheelchair lists and stairway chairlifts that enable people to maintain their independence and self-sufficiency. Business owner Carolyn Scofield received $500 in a Sunmark account.

Rounding out the top five finalists:
Jerzey’s Dog Resort is a family-friendly boarding and dog day care facility located on Route 9 between Latham and Cohoes that will also provide a home for shelter dogs for potential adopters.
The New York Mercantile Company is a start-up retail store that offers gourmet food, craft beer and wine, house wares, gifts, fine art and other items made exclusively in New York State, located in downtown Albany.
Skit & Kaboodle is an enrichment program for children (ages 2 -10) and children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other social disabilities that uses drama methods to help kids learn about social interactions, problem solving, literacy and team building. (Colonie)
Applicants were asked to submit a written plan (two to five pages) that included the business vision or concept, the market need (how it currently is or isn’t being met), the current competitive field in the area, the estimated cost to start the business and cash flow needs, an operations and management plan and a marketing plan. Eligible applicants included entrepreneurs who have a plan and are ready to take action – but haven’t established a business and new businesses that are headquartered or do business within Sunmark’s six-county footprint (Albany, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady and Schoharie).

About Sunmark Federal Credit Union:
Since 1937, Sunmark Federal Credit Union ($430 million in assets; 48,000+ members) has been helping members in the greater Capital Region community improve their financial position by offering a full range of mortgages, insurance products, retirement accounts and of course, savings and checking. Sunmark is committed to the financial health and well-being of each member by offering tools that educate and inform and products and services that make it easier to reach financial goals such as planning a budget, saving for a home, repairing  credit or getting out of debt.

For more information, call 518-382-0605 or visit www.sunmarkfcu.org.


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