You could say that every week is Small Business Week at Opportunity Fund. Every day, we work with inspiring entrepreneurs who have worked hard to build businesses that support themselves and their families. This week is national Small Business Week, and we use this time for a special celebration of all the hard-working small business owners, who support their families, hold up our economy, enrich our communities—and inspire us to do the work that we do!
Annie, owner of Lucky Nails salon in San Francisco, is one of many small business owners whose business not only changed her life, but also has an inspiring back story. We visited Annie with OFN’s Lisa Mensah and Debby Stefaniak while they were visiting Opportunity Fund on a trip to California.
When Annie came to San Francisco from Vietnam in 1979, she worked in a restaurant and then trained at a nail salon for 11 hours a day, 7 days a week. Just six years after arriving in the United States, Annie struck out on her own as an entrepreneur, opening Lucky Nails in 1985. She started out with three employees and a handful of customers. Now, Annie has 12 employees and a loyal following of customers that spans three generations.
By owning her own business, Annie has been able to support her family in more ways than she ever imagined. She and her husband, a parking valet attendant, were able to purchase a home in San Francisco, where they raised their four children. Lucky Nails has put three of her children, now grown, through college, and Annie’s eldest is a practicing dentist.
Annie will tell you that, without a doubt, owning her own business has improved her life. Annie works 10 hours per day and 6 days a week—less than she ever has before. She has been able to go on vacation four times. She can take care for her family and her employees. And her business makes her profoundly happy: “Now I have everything. I am so happy I have this business.”
Annie’s story demonstrates how owning a small business has long-term economic and social value, which is highlighted in a new longitudinal impact study co-authored by Opportunity Fund and Accion in the U.S. We invite you to read the report, and learn more about the impact of owning a small business.
Here’s to the hard-working entrepreneurs across the U.S. whose businesses make our communities stronger and brighter!
(Date of story publication: May 2018)