Arga Bourgeois is an experienced entrepreneur who has thrived in tough economic times. After many years in corporate America—first working in human resources and then in the food services department of the Houston school system—Arga left her job to join her father at his health supplements store. “I didn’t agree with what we were feeding these kids,” she explains. “So I quit because I wanted to live by my beliefs.”
For almost one full year, Arga worked from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. while raising three children. She had no capital to afford an employee. “It was a roller coaster. As money came in, it went right out again.”
Arga hoped to grow her business by offering smoothies and raw foods that were growing in popularity. After being denied a $10,000 bank loan, in 2005, Arga met with an Accion loan officer, and she was approved for $12,500 to grow her business.
With new capital in hand, she invested in a part-time employee. Then, she started advertising and business grew rapidly. Despite unforeseeable challenges, such as Hurricane Ike—which shut down her business for eight months—Arga now has three employees and plans to open a second location. Arga is an example of the determination often found in the microentrepreneurs Accion serves. “Nobody believes in relationships anymore. When the hurricane happened, other lenders just wrote letters to say I was late on payments. Accion came to visit me the next day. Because of our relationship, when I have two quarters, I pay Accion first. I love them.”