Thursday, May 10, 2007

Cuban owners of Green Hills Upholstery benefit from World Relief micro-loan

"Church-centered, grassroots" Micro Enterprise Nashville project has made over 170 loans to entrepreneur expatriates

"Everything changed for us."

The Tennessean reports here about Yadira Santana-Torres and her husband, Edgardo Martinez, owners of Green Hills Upholstery, and their micro-loan from World Relief's Micro Enterprise Nashville project:

"A master upholsterer, Martinez was working two jobs and dreaming of the day he could own his own shop. They had a dream, and they had a business plan. What this Nashville family lacked was seed money and a bank willing to take a chance on them."

"Instead of a bank, the community reached out to them with a 'micro-loan' — $10,000 to rent a storefront, buy materials and meet payroll for the first rocky months when their shop, Green Hills Upholstery, was finding its feet."

"'I don't have words to describe what it's been like,' Santana-Torres said. 'Everything changed for us.'"

"'They helped me with the accounting part, they helped me print up fliers, helped me do the advertising. They guide you through everything,' said Santana-Torres, who received a micro-loan from World Relief, a Nashville-based nonprofit that serves the refugee population. She and her husband are from Cuba."

"Over the past four years, World Relief has made 178 small loans to newcomers to Nashville. Those loans helped launch at least 20 new businesses and helped an equal number of businesses expand, said Jeremy Crawford, World Relief's director of finance."

According to its web site, "World Relief empowers, equips and strengthens churches to serve their communities, enabling them to act as beacons of hope to their people and to spread the life-changing power of Jesus Christ. Church-centered, grassroots initiatives tackle entrenched and intertwined problems of poverty – and people experience transformation in their lives, in their families, in their churches, and in their communities."

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