We are excited to commemorate National Hispanic Heritage Month and recognize the important contributions of Hispanic-owned businesses in our community. National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated annually from September 15 through October 15 and is a period to recognize the influence of more than 60 million Hispanic Americans in our society.
Join Pathway in celebrating the impacts our clients including Dar Salud, New Horizons Diabetes Clinic, Aenon Auto Parts and Las Paletas have had on our communities.
Dr. Pedro Velasquez-Mieyer never planned to stay in the U.S. after completing his fellowship at Harvard and returning home to Venezuela. But when his son Pedro developed a rare form of leukemia, they turned to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and in the years of treatment that ultimately cured his son, Memphis became home. Twenty years later, Dr. Velazquez oversees a thriving medical practice he established called Dar Salud that has pioneered new approaches in coordinated, holistic care for diabetes and metabolic disorders and delivered dramatic health improvements for the families it serves.
Since opening, Dar Salud has been able to sustain its own growth, carefully adding areas of practice only as it identifies a need among its patients. Now in its fifteenth year of practice showing its model works, the clinic is ready to pursue projects that will benefit the community at a larger scale. But that requires bigger investments than it can support on its own, so the clinic turned to Pathway Lending for a microloan and line of credit and will work with Pathway Business Advisory Services on new financial models to support its new initiatives.
“This is the first time we’ve sought outside funding, but it’s not easy to get traditional bank funding when you work with people of limited means. We’ve been proving our model and sustaining it with no outside support for 15 years. Pathway is giving us the chance to bring those outcomes to the wider community.”
New Horizons Diabetes Clinic
Colombian by birth, Dr. Luisa F. Leal came to America 22 years ago. She earned a Bachelor’s in Healthcare Administration in 2007 and a Dual Master in Business Administration and Healthcare Management in 2009 from University of Phoenix before earning a Master in Nursing Practice in 2012 and a Doctorate of Nursing Practice (NP) in 2014 from Vanderbilt School of Nursing while working and raising a family.
During the last couple years working as a Nurse Practitioner, Dr. Leal told her husband that her new dream was to open her own clinic. Dr. Leal was doubtful because of her student loans, but did her homework through the Small Business Administration website anyway. Once she had completed the SBA’s recommendations for a business plan, Her CPA, Joe Hicks at the Wallace CPA Firm recommended Dr. Leal to contact Pathway Lending.
“I went to Pathway and presented a draft of my business plan. The representatives read my business proposal, understood the business purpose and how my organization could bring a positive impact to the community, and connected me with various lending options,” said Dr. Leal. Working with Pathway Lending, Dr. Leal was able to secure a microloan and a business line of credit.“The documentation process was fast. The process started on January 2016, by the end of March I signed the lease.”
Aenon Auto Parts
For Leonardo Vazquez, owning an automotive repair company was always the dream. From the age of 12, he’d learned the ropes of automotive body work, and became a master by 15. Working from a home-based garage in Mexico, Leonardo learned that as an entrepreneur he could do more for his growing family.
After much convincing from his mom, Leonardo moved the family to Cookeville, Tennessee where he got a job working for the local meat-processing plant. It wasn’t long, however, before he was doing bodywork in the mornings before his afternoon shift to save up the money to once again start his own business. After a vacation to Mexico, Leonardo thought hard about his options. He looked at the money that he’d been saving over the years and quit as soon as he got home. It was time to dedicate himself to his first love: cars.
Edgar never imagined that he’d be part-owner of the place where he was once an employee, but with the help of his uncle, they completely transformed the business. “We cleaned up the area, and started to add more and more to the company,” says Edgar. “It was a junk yard, now we call it a salvage yard since it is so well organized. We’re a one-stop-shop, including parts, tires, mechanical work, and bodywork all in one place.”
But even with all of the changes, the new business partners had to pump brakes to figure out where to get the money to keep expanding. With limited access to capital, the owners struggled to grow for an entire year. But Leonardo refused to be discouraged.
“When I got the call that we’d been accepted for the loan from Pathway, we were excited. We couldn’t believe it,” says Edgar. “It was like a big rock had been lifted off our backs.”
Norma Paz opened Las Paletas officially in 2001 to sell Mexican gourmet ice pops. As a longtime client of Pathway, their relationship with Pathway set them up for success as they recently sold their building earning a large profit. Whether you are starting, growing or successfully exiting your business, Pathway can still grow with you! Check out her story below: