Creating A Custom Vision:

Prosperity Project Helps Business Owner Take Initiative

 

August 2015

 

Gabriela Flores and her husband Jaime emigrated from Mexico with dreams of sending their three sons to college. The couple found good work, but their progress unraveled when Jaime lost his job during the housing market crash in 2008.

 

“But from a bad situation, something good happened,” Gabriela says. The couple used the setback as an incentive to launch a cabinet design and construction business.

 

Although they found the American system difficult to navigate, the couple secured a business license to offer smaller services, such as installing floorboards and crown moldings.

 

“Then, someone asked us to build a kitchen, and he liked it,” Gabriela says. The man was a contractor who flipped houses, and Gabriela and Jaime continued building kitchens for him. Despite working on many houses, the couple received only a fraction of the profits. “After we worked for two years for that person, I knew he took advantage of us,” Gabriela says.

 

They decided to take charge. “We thought, we are making kitchens, maybe we can open our own business,” Gabriela says. “I wanted to know how I could get a contractor’s license.”

 

That’s when Gabriela discovered MoneyWork$, Opening Doors’ financial education course, through a fair. Gabriela signed herself and her husband up immediately. The couple gained an in-depth understanding of the American financial system and learned how to improve their credit, and manage their income and expenses.

 

Inspired, Gabriela seized the opportunity to join the Business Development Academy. “Gaby has been an astounding superstar in our Hispanic Prosperity Program,” says Roxana. “She went through and excelled in all of the programs.”

 

Gabriela’s dedication proved crucial to her growth as an entrepreneur. The Business Development Academy broadened and refined the couple’s concept of business. “Now, when we think of our business, we think of not only the product but [also] the permit, license, business plans, and marketing,” Gabriela says.

Gabby at an outreach event with the Business Expo.

 

With a holistic understanding of business, Gabriela and Jaime now pursue a more efficient, competitive vision. They are developing a system where clients design and select custom pieces for their kitchens. “There are people who need something really special, and I can do it for them,” Gabriela says. Her ability to accommodate customers’ needs gives her an edge over her competitors, whose premade products come in one size only.

 

Gabriela now serves as an ambassador for

Opening Doors’ Small Business Committee so others can benefit from the program. “When you volunteer, you say thank you for the help that you’ve received,” she says. In addition to mentoring other small business owners, Gabriela identifies outreach events and manages events logistics. She considers volunteering another opportunity to learn.

 

The Hispanic Prosperity Project gave Gabriela and Jaime the tools to reimagine their future on a broader scale. She and her husband plan to invest in real estate, using their construction skills and newfound financial knowledge to flip their own houses.

 

Read other articles from August 2015:

Festival of Flavors

“My life has changed a lot.” A Childcare Business Helps Refugee Find Financial Independence