Meklet Tesfaye is an entrepreneur through and through. Ever since she was a teenager, she’s demonstrated the fact by being courageous, optimistic and willing to take calculated risks.
For example, look at how Meklet arrived in Canada. In 2001, she said goodbye to her family in Ethiopia, and came here searching for a better life. She came alone. She didn’t speak English. She was 15.
Her aunt and uncle in Canada adopted her, and Canada has become home. She has worked and studied, married and had children, and is the owner of a new and expanding business.
It was her husband who introduced Meklet to Momentum. He has been a participant in the Owen Hart Home Owners program, the matched savings program through which he bought his and Meklet’s house.
Meklet in turn joined the Youth Fair Gains program. Also a matched savings program, it’s designed to help young people learn about money management and the value of saving for their future.
Meklet used her savings from Youth Fair Gains for education, as over 90 percent of the participants do. She took an event-planning course, and really enjoyed that work. But once she and her husband started a family, the job required too many nights away from home. She had to rethink what to do for a living. She tried working in retail part-time. It gave her the time at home that she wanted but she wasn’t able to get ahead financially.
She began to think about owning her own business. She knew that Momentum had a track record of success at training youth entrepreneurs, so in September 2014, she approached us about helping her set up a cleaning service.
She came to Momentum with no idea how to run a business, and no assets but her own entrepreneurial spirit. The classes and the weekly coaching taught her everything she needed to know, and Momentum’s Micro Business Loan program provided a $7,500 loan to get her started.
During the six-month training, she and the facilitators refined her idea: rather than a residential maid service, her cleaning business would focus on a different market. Launched in January 2015, Solutions Cleaning Service works with builders to provide post-construction and move-in/move-out cleaning, window and carpet cleaning, and a growing list of other services.
Meklet now works regularly with 15 builders, and has eight employees. In her first year of business, she grossed $105,000.
And she keeps coming up with new ideas. Months of working on construction sites has evolved Meklet’s ambitions. She has already started Solutions Painting Service, which is busy on a huge contract, and she intends to introduce a flooring installation service. Her ultimate goal is to run her own construction company.
“With God’s grace and Momentum in our lives, we wake up every day with confidence that we can support our family.” – Meklet Tesfaye
Momentum nurtured Meklet’s innate self-confidence and talents, and helped her value her abilities. Meklet brought her commitment, willingness to work, and fierce desire to succeed. It was a winning combination.