February is Black History Month and at LiftFund, we celebrate black business owners for their commitment, dedication and valuable contributions to our communities.
When David started his janitorial career, he didn’t mind working for someone else. That changed when he became a father, and he began to worry about providing his family and infant daughter with a secure future. He looked for jobs that would provide better working hours and opportunities, before he decided to create his own business. David soon joined the Jan-Pro franchise and, with his five years of professional experience, he opened Helping Hands Solutions in 2017.
Through the support of the franchise, David was able to attend business classes and find an initial client base, but his outdated cleaning equipment made it impossible to accept new job opportunities. David was referred by Chase Bank to LiftFund, where he met with loan officer Alma Valdez to explore financing options. Within three weeks, David closed a $7,000 loan through LiftFund’s Dream Makers’ Fund.
The Dream Makers’ Fund, a LiftFund initiative supported by the San Antonio Area African-American Community Fund (SAAAACF), aims to close the capital and business education gap among the African-American community in the San Antonio Metro Area.
According a 2016 study commissioned by Stanford University, African-American owned startups are about three times less likely than white-owned startups to be bankable and become approved for business credit. In Bexar County, 3.8% of all small business firms in the county are owned by African-American entrepreneurs who experience that same challenge, according to a recent survey.
With his LiftFund loan, David was able to purchase the equipment he needed to take on additional commercial jobs and continue growing his business. “My biggest challenge has been staying focused with trying to get the business off the ground,” David said. “It’s been hard, and I’ve often thought, ‘should I give up?’ But now more jobs are coming in, so I’m proud I’ve stuck with it.”
David is grateful for the opportunity that the loan has provided him and, as the company grows, he looks forward to passing on that financial empowerment to new employees and their families.
When we celebrate successful entrepreneurs like David, we recognize the valuable contributions that African-American business owners make to the economic growth and overall success of our communities. These stories serve as inspiration for a new generation of entrepreneurs. This February, as we celebrate Black History month, we honor African-American history and their role in our nation’s growth and success.