ASL Business: Survives Natural Disaster, Thrives with LiftFund

As a child, Sophie learned American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate with her deaf cousin, and founded a lifelong friendship with the deaf community. She later chose a career in ASL interpreting to reflect her passions, and connect the deaf with hearing communities.

When Sophie started working public schools, she was heartbroken to find low-quality interpreters with high turnover rates. She knew something had to change for the sake of the students.

In January 2017, Sophie opened Bayou City Interpreting to provide classrooms with dependable, quality interpreters. After a successful start, she was excited to hire six employees for the fall semester. However, Hurricane Harvey turned that success into a nightmare. The storm’s damage forced the school districts to close, and bills began to pile up.

“They weren’t processing our invoices,” Sophie said. “We were denied by our bank and our credit union… Nobody would lend to us.”

Sophie wasn’t sure how her business would survive.  Luckily, she found LiftFund through her local Chamber of Commerce. “I was approved for the full $25,000 literally the day before payroll was due,” she said. “It really was like a Christmas miracle.”

Natural disaster may be the least of a small business’ worries, but it’s important to plan and be ready for any disaster. A simple plan can be the best way to preserve and protect your day-to-day operations. Learn more at the US Chamber’s small business preparedness guide here.