Training and Guidance Provide the Foundation for a Successful Business


Escala, NVFS’ small business program for entrepreneurs, helps clients overcome barriers to launch and grow sustainable businesses that increase household incomes, create jobs and contribute to the local economy. Octavio Diaz — a proud father of three, who moved to the United States from Peru in 2003 with his wife and children — was able to utilize this service to increase his income and provide a better future for his children.

Even though Octavio had vast experience as an electrician in Peru and Japan, his credentials were not accepted in the United States. The best opportunity he could find was a job as a construction worker. His determination to thrive, however, led him to a vocational institute, where he studied to become a certified electrician. His skills in the trade increased over time and included employment for companies such as Nissan and Toyota.

As time went on, his daughter Gaby decided that she wanted to become a doctor. Octavio couldn’t have been prouder, but he quickly realized his annual income of $45,000 was not enough to support a family of five and send her to college. And time was ticking; Gaby was already 14.

Octavio heard that Escala offered classes on how to start a business. He was fascinated with the idea of learning a new way to create an extra source of income for his family.

With Escala’s assistance, Octavio completed his business plan for Inti Electric, a full-service electrical contracting company, and had the guidance he needed to successfully move forward. His business plan even won first place at Escala’s Business Plan Competition. Octavio used the $1,000 award for marketing expenses, such as a new website and flyers, for his new business.

After only a year, Octavio’s annual income had risen to $60,000.

In 2014, Octavio decided to start a second business, Inti Electric School, which offers preparatory classes for the Journeyman and Master Electrician licensing examinations. Classes are taught in Spanish, but use technical English so that students are familiar with the terms they will use in a work environment. Such preparatory classes served a high-demand, niche market, given the local number of Hispanic immigrants who spoke limited English.

Given the rapid growth at his company, Octavio came back to Escala to discuss the possibility of getting a loan to purchase new equipment and to create an electrical circuit for his new residential and commercial wiring classes. Through Kiva Zip, a social lending program, Escala was able to help him access a 0 percent loan of $4,000.

Octavio is now ready to offer classes at his brand-new electrical laboratory. His salary has increased by 50 percent, and he is proud to share that his two daughters are in school: Gaby is in medical school, and Rosa is in law school.

Thanks to Escala, Octavio was able to explore his full potential and take charge of the future he could provide for himself and his family.

*Names of Octavio’s daughters have been changed.