In 2007, when Leslie C.’s father died, Leslie took a leave of absence from his job at a freight company in Abilene, Texas. When he returned ready to work, they had replaced him. It was then that Leslie decided to start his own business, Ridgewood Transport, which transports “anything but people and hazardous materials”. He bought a diesel truck and a trailer and started transporting alfalfa hay and other agricultural products. He has since moved to the commercial sector, bought another truck and hired two employees.
Leslie was at a sink-or-swim point when he asked ACCION Texas-Louisiana for a microloan. Leslie was voluntarily transporting donated aid supplies from his church to Venice, Florida, destined for Haiti, when his main truck’s engine blew out on the return trip. Leslie’s brother transported him and his truck back to Abilene. Leslie plans to use this loan to fix his truck and also have additional cushioning in his bank account to pay for gas. Many times, the companies he transports for do not pay him until weeks after the completed transport, so Leslie has to front the gas payments.
Leslie loves his business because he gets to travel and see new places all the time. Leslie says, “In one week I can go fly-fishing in Colorado and deep-sea fishing in Victoria, Texas”. His ultimate goal is to buy a piece of property in Colorado where he can take groups of people fly-fishing in the summer time and hunting in the winter time. Furthermore, with one child as a sophomore at Texas Tech and the other a senior in high school, Leslie’s goal is to put both of them through college.
Leslie says, "Organizations like ACCION can help people like me who do not have a credit history. I've always believed that if you don't have the money for it, you don't need it. But that's not always the smartest thinking when you have a business. A microloan is a great and only option for folks like me."
LiftFund. (www.liftfund.com) is an award-winning nonprofit organization (previously known as Accion Texas) with a mission to provide credit and loans to small and start-up businesses that have limited or no access to credit from commercial sources. Established in 1994 in San Antonio, LiftFund has helped Texas and Louisiana entrepreneurs strengthen their businesses, stabilize and increase their incomes, create employment, and contribute to the economic revitalization of their communities. Learn more at www.liftfund.com.