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: Javier Carrascal
Programs: Self Employment Program, Micro Business Loans
Program Years: 2007, 2009
Business Description: Provides residential and commercial cleaning services to Calgarians all around the city.
Javier Carrascal arrived in Canada in 2004 with his pregnant wife and four children. He spoke almost no English but brought with him a vibrantly positive attitude and an abiding commitment to making a better life for his family.
Javier came from a small town in northern Colombia where he managed a cooperative grocery store for eight years and was elected mayor. He loved it there but threats from illegal armed groups ultimately forced him and his family to flee.
His first priority upon arriving in Calgary was to learn English, and it was during this time that he heard about Momentum. He joined the Fair Gains program to begin saving money while he studied the language. He found work on weekends with friends who ran a cleaning service, but made very little money. Every spare moment was spent with his wife and, now, five children.
Eventually Javier joined Momentum’s Self Employment Program to learn how to run his own cleaning service. He bought a commercial vacuum cleaner and cleaning supplies with the money he had saved, and with a Momentum micro loan bought a reliable commercial vehicle.
He was in business!
Javier started with just one residential customer. Word spread. Today the business has 22 residential and 12 commercial customers—including Momentum—and focuses on using green products. With sales over $100,000 in 2013, the business continues to grow. When his friends ask him how to do it, he says they need a positive attitude and he points them toward Momentum.
He is very happy and proud to be able to provide so well for his family: he owns a house with a backyard in which his grandsons can play, and last year the whole family went on holidays to Hawaii and Florida. When and where he can, he gives back to the community. By every definition that matters to him, Javier has made good on his commitment.
Learn more about Momentum’s Business Development programs.