Marisa Nuñez, Marisa Hair, Long Island City, NY

Claudia Marulanda

Coleman PAF Corp DBA Brio Clean

Jamaica, New York

“It was easy—it was what I needed.” –Claudia Marulanda

Claudia is always willing to lend a helping hand. A few years ago, when she saw that her stepfather was struggling with his business, she left her career as an art director for a magazine to help him run it. Her support paid off.

Their business, Brio Clean, doubled its revenues in just one year. Together with two permanent employees and several contractors, they provide commercial building services. Their work includes everything from stripping and polishing floors, painting, post-construction cleanup, and repairs and window cleaning. Everything is done in an environmentally friendly way, with eco-friendly cleaning products.

Claudia learned many facets of business administration and marketing in her role at the magazine, but always continues to educate herself so the business can thrive. She regularly uses resources available to business owners, like the Small Business Administration, and recently completed the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program, which provides entrepreneurs with access to business education and advice. Claudia says the experience helped her to set up a support system, and taught her where to find business help when she needs it. Of the experience, she says, “I had a moment when I was in Goldman Sachs where I did really feel like a business woman. It dawned on me, ‘I’m taking on these challenges. And I can do them.’ I get through the things in my head and I do it, and I feel proud when I accomplish those things.” By using what she learned, she certified Brio Clean so that they are now able to secure government contracts.

However, even with her dedication and growing business knowledge, Claudia had trouble obtaining a loan to fuel the business. This was due to past debt and because her stepfather, who is from Colombia, had no credit history. While they weren’t able to provide her with a loan, Chase Bank realized the potential of the business and referred her to Ascendus. Claudia was able to obtain a $25,000 loan for working capital and marketing purposes. “It was easy—it was what I needed,” she says of the experience.

Claudia still manages to bring her sense of creativity to work with her, and she still loves to help out. “We are all creators,” she says, “and we have everything we need inside of us. We just have to learn how to pull it out.” Now, she also likes to help the people who work for her. Of her employees and contractors, she says, “If they are doing a job for me, I respect them and give them a decent salary. I want to help them provide for their families.”

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