In Pursuit of the American Dream

Meet Maleknaser: Father, Immigrant, Entrepreneur

As we celebrate July 4th, we take pride in the diverse, resilient and independent clients we serve. Their stories are those of our families, neighbors, and community members that make our nation great. Maleknaser, an Iranian refugee who escaped Iran in 1999 for political dissent, reminds us that the path to independence and success remains strong in the U.S.

Maleknaser immigrated to El Paso, Texas in 1999 and tried to leverage his previous experience owning a construction business to find construction jobs, but his inability to speak Spanish and different regulations in the U.S. made it difficult to succeed. While his family and children settled in El Paso, he was forced to take a construction job in California if they wanted to survive.

It wasn't until 2007 that Maleknaser had enough resources to move back to El Paso, take a risk, and launch his own business: Caspian Construction. While looking for jobs, he was referred to LiftFund by a friend. He received consultation and a loan to purchase tools and equipment to get his business off the ground.

“I wasn’t asking for a million dollars, but at that moment for me, it was a lot. The loan I got from LiftFund was really helpful. They helped me when I needed it."

- Maleknaser Akhtari

Over the years, LiftFund has journeyed with Maleknaser by providing guidance and capital. He is proud of the success he has achieved, now an employer of 15. But he is most proud of the life he has been able to provide for his children, Mani and Mitra. His financial independence allowed him to send his children through college; today, Mani is a successful oncologist and Mitra has recently obtained her PhD from Harvard.

“I changed the future for my kids,” Maleknaser said. “There are lots of opportunities in this society. Maybe on the first attempt it looks impossible or too hard, but you can do it.”

Our 2017 annual report is online! Last year we broke a major milestone: $250 million in capital provided opportunity to over 17,000 small businesses. Visit our digital annual report to read how LiftFund and your support made small business ownership a reality for many.

Fed Reserve Report Released on Small Businesses Credit

In 2017 the Federal Reserve surveyed 8,000 small business owners about their credit needs. Highlights include:

  • Businesses are more optimistic about their performance than last year;
  • Wages and refinancing were major reasons for accessing capital;
  • Financing for micro-businesses had more gaps than larger firms; and
  • Online lending increased; CDFIs have strong customer satisfaction.

LiftFund is a non-profit financial and business consultation organization that helps diverse entrepreneurs strengthen their businesses, stabilize and increase their incomes and assets, create employment and contribute to the economic revitalization of their communities. 

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