Esther Flatto is one of five entrepreneurs who received support from YBA program 

The owner and founder of Flip Slips, a company selling Mary Jane shoes that fold in half and collapse into their own pouch, is one of five San Francisco entrepreneurs who recently received mentorship services and financial support for their small businesses. This is part of a new partnership between Youth Business America and the Arthur Guinness Fund.

How did you receive this? I originally tried to get loans for this business, but was unsuccessful. I was then urged to apply for the YBA program. I was a good candidate as I had my business plan made, and was ready to go. I just really needed funding.

Where did the inspiration come from? When I moved to San Francisco, I realized it was a very fashionable city, but also very hilly. I really wanted to wear my high heels and so missed out on opportunities due to my sore feet. I wanted shoes that could fit in my purse, but couldn’t find the product I wanted. The shoes have full rubber soles and feel like regular shoes.

What do you hope to get from this support? The biggest thing was being able to secure a loan. It was the key to getting the business off the ground. I also got connected with mentors, which are based on my business needs. I worked with one mentor who deals with manufacturing in China. It was great to have him hold my hand through the whole process. It gave me more confidence and it’s great to be connected. I also look forward to working with my marketing mentor who will help me on the retail side.

— Laura Colgan

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Laura Colgan

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