When Ted Terrazas retired from the US Air Force as a Medical Services Officer, he entered civilian life having learned a few things about delivering timely, efficient, and cost-effective medical care. Starting a medical consulting firm was the next logical step. Except such a venture couldn’t be launched from Mr. Terrazas’ garage, or with family loans.
But with a $10,000 loan from micro financier ACCION Texas, Mr. Terrazas was able to found TerraHealth in 2001. In the company’s first five years, it enjoyed an 8,000% growth rate. And in 2006, Mr. Terraza joined ACCION Texas’ Board of Directors, giving back to an organization that had done so much for him.
Make it Better
ACCION Texas’ reach isn’t limited to new businesses. In 2004, Guadalupe Perez was co-owner of a thriving café in El Paso when her partner decided she didn’t want to be in the restaurant business anymore. Ms. Perez either had to buy her out or sell the café. Because of a loan from ACCION Texas, she’s now Navajo Café’s sole proprietor.
ACCION Texas began in 1995, and last year expanded next door into Louisiana. Good things multiply. It’s also worth noting that ACCION Texas began as a franchise of ACCION USA, which has lent $117M nationwide since its inception in 1991.
In May, the Microfinance USA conference will commence in San Francisco. The location could not be better. Not only does California have America’s largest economy, its 12.4% unemployment rate (December 2009) is one of the nation’s highest. Californians know firsthand about the need for economic assistance, and not in the form of unemployment benefits extensions.
Microfinance USA will include people from all sides of this burgeoning industry—investors, government representatives, and small business owners—with the goal of helping American small businesses.
Road to Recovery
Depending on the day or the news source when you check the news—our economy is either slowly approaching a road to recovery, or still stuck in a pothole without a tow truck. Statistics can be crunched in any number of ways to any number of effects, but what we know for sure is that things aren’t great for a lot of people.
But where large banks and our federal and local governments haven’t been able to help, micro finance groups—like ACCION Texas, the PLAN Fund and many others who’ll converge on San Francisco this May—are effecting real change. As CREED grows we will begin this year to start developing a database of micro-enterprise business plans and proposals for enterpreneurs to access, so they can start their own business venture with a solid base.