2014 marked the 20th anniversary of the Business Development Department of Momentum. To celebrate, we collected 20 stories about past participants who have thriving businesses. Written by Marnie Schaetti of RaiDo Dynamics, these stories reflect the diversity, innovation and hard work of the inspiring participants who come through our doors every year to take one of our many programs.
This is one of those stories.
Entrepreneur Name: Mark Flores
Programs: ABCs of Small Business, Micro Business Loans
Program Years: 2010, 2012
Business Description: Giving opportunities to people with disabilities by providing access to assistive technology.
There was a time when the major impetus for Mark Flores’ success was simply to prove people wrong. Because of his physical disabilities, Mark was told he would never graduate from high school, never mind get a university degree; he has done both. He was told he would never have a meaningful career; he’s had more than one. And he was told by a former employer that he’d never succeed in business; that former employer has now asked Mark to buy him out.
After a long career with agencies that served people with disabilities, Mark began selling assistive technology for a private company. He kept noticing all the ways he’d do things differently and realized he wanted to run his own business. Momentum helped him make the leap from employee to business owner. At Momentum, his disability was an afterthought. His dream of being a successful entrepreneur was the sole focus.
Participating in Momentum’s program, however, didn’t mean Mark’s life went easily from then on. In fact, in the wake of a very painful divorce, Mark was in the darkest place in his life at the time of graduation. He was ready to drop out but, as he describes it, the instructor wouldn’t allow it. He believed in Mark so strongly, reminded him so firmly that he could succeed, that Mark’s faith in himself was renewed. He pushed onward.
In 2011, Mark opened Handi Enterprises, a name he chose deliberately to give the word a positive and powerful spin. The business now sells over 800 products that assist people with all kinds of disabilities, and in the past year sales have doubled. Mark is aware of all the support he’s received and gives back to his community, including Momentum, every chance he gets.
Mark’s hard work took him from despair to purpose, and his passion led him beyond mere success to loving his life.
Learn more about Momentum’s Business Development programs.