Marisa Nuñez, Marisa Hair, Long Island City, NY

Mourad Hnid

Venice Pizza

Fern Park, Florida

“The interest rate wasn’t high. The monthly payments were affordable. And we’ve been doing good since then.” –Mourad Hnid

Mourad landed in the pizza business as the result of a youthful quest for adventure. Seeking something new, he and a childhood friend moved from Paris to New York City when they were just 21 years old. After finding a cheap place to stay, they quickly ran out of what little money they had. Mourad went to an employment agency, where they referred him to a pizza delivery position that had just opened up. The rest is history.

Years later, Mourad was still living in New York City and working at a pizza restaurant when he took a vacation to Orlando. He immediately fell in love with the culture and the warm weather, and a week later, he and his friend moved there permanently. Once there, he again found himself pursuing his passion for pizza.

Mourad decided to open up his own pizza joint, so that he could bring a taste of New York-style pizza to Orlando. He invested all he had into renovations and new equipment, but quickly realized he would need more capital. He went to the Bank of America but they weren’t able to provide him with a loan, so they referred him to Ascendus. Two weeks later, he was approved for a loan. He used the capital from Ascendus to pay for advertising, explaining that Advertising is what you need when you open a business. You need it to get customers in the store.

Today, business is booming. Venice Pizza packs the dining room every weekend, and they have numerous customers they know by name, some of which order every day. Mourad employs two full-time employees, two drivers, and two part-time servers. His dream is to continue to grow and to eventually open another location.

“When I finish paying this loan, Ascendus will help me again. Next time, they can offer me more money. The interest rate wasn’t high. The monthly payments were affordable. And we’ve been doing good since then.”

Mourad knows that everyone loves pizza, There’s an art to it, he says, We are proud of what we do. My vision for the future is to pack this place. I want it to be busy every night.

He has some advice for other aspiring entrepreneurs: Don’t spend a lot of money on things you don’t need. Save the money for things you really need. The other things you can get later on. Be wise, don’t rush.

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