In 2009, HMFI gave out its first loan to Bernardo, allowing him to finance a new refrigerator for his food truck. From this initial loan, Bernardo saw great growth in his business, and HMFI accompanied Bernardo’s success by providing him with a second loan. Eventually, Bernardo’s business grew to a point where he was able to open up his own brick and mortar restaurant. Today, Bernardo still runs this same restaurant and is able to fully sustain himself and his family through his growth.
Aisha is the owner and operator of Taste of Saleesha, an Ivorian catering company. Aisha caters for weddings, festivals, and other private events, including the Ivorian embassy. Aisha learned to cook by her grandmother’s side in the Ivory Coast, and she hopes to someday open her own restaurant.
HMFI Met Aisha through one of our CDO Partners, Empowered Women’s International (EWI), and her loan closed in 2017. Through her loan, Aisha has been able to register as a vendor for the “Around the World Cultural Food Festival” in Washington, DC. Thousands of attendees congregated around the National Monument in June of 2017 to enjoy food and performances. Aisha was able to share her excellent Ivorian cooking with many visitors, which provided a big boost to her sales.
Aaron is the owner and operator of ATA Transportation Services, LLC, which provides busing services for students going to and from school, field trips, and other events. Aaron started his business when he realized his children’s school lacked busing service for its students. He began serving nine students in his first year, and over the past two years, his business has grown significantly, as he now serves over thirty students.
Aaron came into contact with HMFI through his own initiative in 2017. As he states, “When I decided that I needed to buy a new bus, I googled ‘finance help’ and SBA’s finance seminar popped up. While I was at the seminar, I met one of your representatives. I took a picture of a couple of the Powerpoint slides during the presentation and later I called to ask for more information.” In partnership with HMFI, Aaron has been able to finance the purchase of a new bus. This proved to be transformative, as Aaron’s previous bus was old and need constant maintenance. This loan has ensured that Aaron can fulfill his mission of transporting students efficiently. In the long run, Aaron strives to scale his business and double the number of students he serves by hiring more drivers, gaining new school contracts, and expanding his fleet of buses.
Dorothy began attending HMFI’s Group Financial Coaching sessions in 2016, and from there, she became an active attendee and participant. Through her dedication, she was able to complete all five sessions and learn new financial literacy skills. According to Dorothy, “I had an experience in a bank a week ago and I understood what they were talking about because I first got my start from here with HMFI.”