AFI Grantee in Oregon Helps IDA Holders Start Successful Businesses
Mercy Corps NW, an AFI Grantee in Oregon, has seen a great deal of success in its IDA initiative. The following is just one of its success stories.
Joseph Ewer, at 32 years old, aspired to start his own barber business. Joe had ambition, but lacked a plan and the funds to make his dream come true. After graduating from school, Joe worked at a chain hair salon, all the while searching for the perfect commercial space for his own shop. He located a great place for his business, a live-work condo in Beaverton, Oregon, where he and his wife could take care of their son while operating Joe’s Barber Shop out of the same space.
Even though the start-up costs of the business were small, Joe lacked the funds and solid business plan necessary to build a successful enterprise. He needed a barber chair, equipment, and a comprehensive, nuts and bolts blueprint to open his business and keep it open.
While clipping a client’s hair one day, Joe first learned about the Mercy Corps’ IDA project. “The Oregon IDA Initiative helped a lot, because the more you save, the more you’re supported,” he said. Once he enrolled in the program, Joe began to fund his goal with small steps—literally: “I would take my tip money for the day and walk five hundred feet down the mall to my bank, and put it in my savings account.”
Although Joe was not looking forward to writing up a business plan, he did it through the help of Mercy Corps’ IDA Initiative. “I didn’t want to do it,” he said, “but it was the best thing that happened. It forced you to look at what you were planning to do.” Now that he has started his business, Joe’s barber chair is full all day, and he earned more last year than he ever had. “There’s always money in my savings account,” he said proudly.
This article originally ran in the IDAresources.org Update Newsletter on 10/22/09 and is available for archival purposes.