LiftFund Small Business Disaster Relief Programs

Posts Tagged ‘New Orleans’

Siriporn “Timbo” Chunkaew

Posted on: December 12th, 2013 by swebadmin No Comments
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Migrating from Thailand to Florida, Timbo says he only planned to be in United States for two years to learn English, but he instead moved to New Orleans and has lived in the USA for 29 years.

Timbo first began creating his hand-made, one-of-a-kind macramé and beaded accessories after noticing someone else doing it on the side of the street. Knowing he could improve on different styles he saw, he decided to enter that industry. The business began half-heartedly in 1994. Timbo got tired of it and quit. That was years before Hurricane Katrina.

As many New Orleans’ citizens, Timbo was affected by Hurricane Katrina, which consumed many homes and lives. Left homeless, Timbo lost everything he had worked for to the hurricane. Remembering the work he did when he first migrated to New Orleans, Timbo looked to nonprofit microlender, Liftfund for business support.

It wasn’t hard for him to go back to work, but the Bourbon Street office job wasn’t for him. So he saved enough money to purchase a van, lived in it, and then went to work in the French Market; only this time, he became serious about his work and took advantage that there wasn’t anyone else doing it.

His first loan in 2011 helped purchase inventory as he worked his way out of the van he was living in and into an apartment. Now the business is succeeding and Timbo is saving money to fund his home deposit.

Recently, Timbo completed the first-time homebuyer course and is working to save money for a deposit on a house. Remembering the passionate work of the LiftFund employees, Timbo returned for a second loan to purchase inventory, catch up on some bills, and save for working capital when the weather slows traffic on the French Market.

If his business continues to be a success, he’ll be able to purchase a home for the first time.

He says if he needs additional funding for his business, “I’m gonna go back to LiftFund again. They’re great people, I love them.”

Wes McWhorter

Posted on: December 12th, 2013 by swebadmin No Comments
  • WestonMcWhorter Pic

Wes McWhorter took his first bike trip over 25 years ago with a family friend who noticed McWhorter’s excitement – and how he enjoyed the feelings of adventure and freedom.

Though he immediately fell in love with cycling, he set that feeling aside when he started a new job in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

Then, in 2009, McWhorter participated in the Pablove Across America cycle event, which raises money for children with cancer.  During his 533-mile trek from Nashville to New Orleans, his passion for cycling was revived and he decided to take a leap of faith and open Rouler, a bicycle repair and fitting business, in 2012.

McWhorter got his business off the ground with the help of a $15,000 SBA microloan from Accion, which he used to purchase high-tech bicycle fitting equipment and to create a mobile-mechanic service.  McWhorter believes in “worshiping the bike” and creates personalized bicycles designed to help customers physically by measuring clients and adjusting each bike for comfort with the help of his mechanic, Bryan Hair.  He also offers men and women’s apparel and bicycle accessories, including a newly designed water bottle.

He envisions building a community well beyond New Orleans.  “It’s not about selling bicycles,” McWhorter says. “It is building a community of riders and launching a global lifestyle.”

In addition to managing and growing Rouler, McWhorter creates mobile and Web applications, works as a senior interactive producer for a New Orleans brand studio and continues to raise funds to fight children’s cancer.

When asked to describe his businesses, life, and cycling, he responds with a chuckle and says, “Fun!”