Moldovan Refugee Becomes A Successful Business Owner

Vladislav Coundratiuc goes from employee to owner in landscaping business


Starting a business can be difficult and stressful. Starting a business in a new country can be even harder. Since 2002, Opening Doors’ microfinance program has helped numerous immigrants and refugees start or expand their business in the greater Sacramento-area. Many of our clients become very successful business owners after receiving a primary loan from our microenterprise program, and they return to Opening Doors for further assistance to help with the continuing expansion of their businesses.

One of our clients, Vladislav Coundratiuc, overcame several obstacles to becoming self-employed, eventually purchasing his former boss’ landscaping business with the help of two loans from Opening Doors. Vladislav came to the United States with his family four years ago as a refugee from Moldova. He started working in landscaping when he arrived in the US, but his dream was to one day own a landscaping business of his own. However, he was denied loans from traditional lenders because, as a refugee who had only lived in the US for one year, he lacked the necessary credit history. He also had limited English skills, and needed business assistance in Russian in order to succeed.  Opening Doors’ Refugee Microenterprise Program, funded by the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement, is specifically designed to help underserved members of our community like him.

In 2010, Vladislav heard a Russian radio advertisement for Opening Doors’ lending program, and discussed with his employer the possibility of taking out a loan and purchasing the landscaping business. Vladislav contacted Opening Doors, and worked with our Russian-speaking Business Specialist to better understand the process of running a business in the US and to build his business plan.  Then, after a few months, he received a loan of $15,000 from our Refugee Loan Fund, which allowed him to purchase half of the landscaping business. He was very successful at maintaining strong relationships with all of his boss’ former clients and immediately excelled as a full time business owner. 

In 2012, after paying off his first loan, Vladislav returned to Opening Doors for a new loan to buy the remaining portion of the business. Now with 70 clients, his business is going strong. His clients continue to use his services, and he is considering hiring an employee.


For Vladislav, owning a landscaping business provides him with more than just the freedom of being self-employed. Since 2010, he has been establishing the credit history that he did not have before working with Opening Doors. Vladislav now continues to build income for his family, while living his dream of being a business owner.