The American dream. It’s an inspiring fixture in our culture tethered to the belief that anyone can achieve what they put their heart and mind to. While it may not always be the easiest path, for some, knowing their idea for a small business or vision for a better life is a possibility is enough to keep going. In fact, here in Rhode Island, there are many impressive instances of the American Dream coming to life.
Meet three incredible individuals who worked with the RISBDC to start their American dream stories:
Meet Javier Brown
Twenty years ago, Javier Brown moved from Venezuela and nurtured his dream of starting a business. In his country, he was a professional, but when he moved to the U.S., he had to start over. Today, he is the proud owner of O2J Inc, an established company with long-term customers and a team of about a dozen employees.
Javier started working with the RISBDC about eight years ago to get his business idea off the ground. “I met Manuel [Batlle] at the RISBDC while looking for help with where to start. We developed a great relationship, not because he’s also Hispanic, but because he’s an excellent professional and mentor.” Javier continues to look ahead for new business growth opportunities with plans to get his own office building in Rhode Island in the next two years and continue to develop and support the community.
Meet Gloria Chacón
Originally from Guatemala, Gloria Chacón came from a family of strong, business-savvy women. So, it’s no surprise she followed in their footsteps and opened Greenview Tree Service in 2017 while she was completing her bachelor’s degree. Once her business started growing, she saw the potential of what it could become and quickly switched her degree focus, earning an MBA with a concentration in HR management.
“I was lucky to meet Manuel [Batlle] at the RISBDC just a few months after I opened my business. He connected me to RI PTAC (Rhode Island Procurement Technical Assistance Center,) which guided me through the bidding process of government contracts. Manuel taught me how to create a smart business plan, and connected me with different partnerships to get access to working capital,” said Gloria. “The RISBDC team is always encouraging me to take the next step. It led me to win an enormous project with the city, which is the first time a minority woman won such a project in Providence!”
Inspired by the culture of respect for the environment in her home country, Gloria started a program called “tree for a tree” where she offers her customers the option to plant a new tree in place of the one they help cut down or donate it to someone else. With her family’s support behind her, Gloria’s parents and husband feel they too are achieving the American Dream through her success. She remains excited for the future of her company and how it impacts her local community.
Meet Juan Lantigua
In 2014, Juan Lantigua acted on an idea to start The Family Cake Company. His wife, who was taking baking classes at the time, inspired him. They started selling to friends and family, and eventually, it blossomed into a full operation.
“In the beginning, we didn’t have enough knowledge to deal with commercial loans or plan projections for our business. That’s where the Rhode Island Small Business Center, along with Rhode Island Commerce, Hope & Main, Community Investment Corporation, and Progreso Latino, helped us figure out where to start,” said Juan. “The best part is all this help that gave us room to breathe was free!”
Next year, Juan will move their wholesale operations to a new facility where they will expand their service area to include Massachusetts and Connecticut. He continues to work with his family, who make up 50% of the employees at The Family Cake Company, while the other half have become just like their own.
The Rhode Island Small Business Development Center employs a dedicated, experienced, and knowledgeable staff of business counselors and administrators who can assist you in growing your business and achieving your own American dream. Register now for free, confidential business advice from our advisors here, call (401) 874-7232 to make a counseling appointment, or attend one of our free webinars.