Marisa Nuñez, Marisa Hair, Long Island City, NY
helping small businesses

Aboubakar Nikiema

Rise Above Group

Bronx, New York

“It was a dream of mine to invest in working on my business full time. Through the Ascendus loan, I was able to fulfill that dream.”

Creating A Safe Space For Small Businesses

Aboubakar moved to the United States from Burkina Faso to create a better opportunity for himself. Little did he know, he would end up creating better opportunities for a multitude of immigrants and small business owners in his community. He started off as a rideshare driver so he could work on his own schedule and take classes to further his education. However, he soon realized how hard it was to balance everything in his life. “I was working over fifteen hours a day; it was so hard to spend quality time with my family.”

In his community, he saw firsthand the distrust and misinformation that was surrounding financials, loans, and credit cards, and how this distrust was stopping them from moving forward. “I saw a community in need where people needed help in the financial and legal sector. We all wanted to work and save up our money to go to school to do something better, but everyone was afraid of taking a loan to try and move upwards faster. I wanted to help them navigate through the process, so I became a paralegal and started my small business to help others.”


Aboubakar was still working part time as a rideshare driver and running his paralegal business part time when he came across the New York City Opportunity Fund from Ascendus. “It was a dream of mine to invest in working on my business full time. Through the Ascendus loan, I was able to fulfill that dream.”

Today, Aboubakar is helping his community daily. Through his paralegal business, he is the intermediary that helps immigrants and small business owners understand the importance of the legal and financial process. “There is an education barrier, there is a language barrier, it is hard to get jobs with upward mobility with these factors. The members of my community are afraid of words like ‘loans and credit.’ I want to help them see the opportunities in these words.”


Aboubakar has a long record of success when it comes to helping others through his business. “One guy was sitting in the process of getting a green card since 2017. He did not have the time to investigate what was wrong, because he was working for 10-15 hours a day. I helped him see the issues and got him his green card. Someone else was struggling to get a loan due to his credit score. I helped him with his credit repair process and showed him the ways to take the negative credit off his report. He got his loan because of that.”

To learn more about Aboubakar, visit:

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