How CAMBA Supported the 'Prospect' of One Business Idea
Editor's Note: Small Business Saturday is coming up this weekend, so we're featuring some of the entrepreneurs that our partners serve. Find out more about Prosperity Now's entrepreneurship work here.
If you start your holiday shopping this weekend at a small business in your community, you will probably be more focused on finding the perfect tie for your uncle than on growing the local economy. But the fact is, small businesses are an engine of job creation and economic growth.
Take Mina Marsow for example. Minais a certified USA Gymnastics Instructor and has coached and directed gymnastics and acro tumbling programs at gyms throughout New York City, including Chelsea Piers, Boro Park Y, Funtastic Gymnastics and Triple Essence Dance. She has also hosted entertainment and sports instruction at sea for Carnival Cruise lines. She graduated Brooklyn College in 2011 with a BA in Economics and Finance and worked in HR management for two years. After losing her job, Mina decided to follow her passion and start teaching gymnastics to children in the Flatbush/Ditmas Park neighborhood. She rented a small space in the back of a guitar store and demand for her services quickly increased. She wanted to secure her own space but first needed help with her business plan and financing options, which is when she decided to visit CAMBA Economic Development Corporation.
Mina joined CAMBA's ten week business plan course and entered into the Brooklyn Public Library's Power Up business plan competition. Thanks to CAMBA's relationship with experienced pro bono attorneys, we were able to refer Mina to an attorney who helped her secure a fair lease for her new space. We also connected Mina to Accion, which made her a $10,000 loan that enabled her to purchase equipment for Prospect Gymnastics. Once her business plan was complete, Mina opened her new space and began operating immediately. She also won the second place prize of $5,000 at the Brooklyn Public Library's Power Up business plan competition and was well on her way to expanding her business, offering birthday party services to participants of Prospect Gymnastics and other members of the community.
Mina is an example of a budding entrepreneur who started with very little and is now providing a rare service for the Flatbush/Ditmas Park community. Plus, she has hired two employees who live within walking distance of the Prospect Gymnastics storefront. Stories like this are a constant reminder as to why CAMBA's services to support small business owners are so important—to the entrepreneurs themselves, the employees that work for them and the economy as a whole.
Isaac Roldan is the Director of Small Business Services at CAMBA.
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