June 13, 2019
Recognizing the need for empowerment programs in her community in Houston, Texas, U.S. Army veteran Margo Jordan-Baines started Chicks With Class in 2013. With a mission to blossom girls and boys into young adults who will help shape the world into a better place, Chicks With Class offers enrichment programs for children, including day camps, etiquette classes, and empowerment programs geared towards young people.
When Margo needed funding to expand her programs and make major leasehold improvements to her venue, she came to PeopleFund, which she discovered through a veteran support program. They started her off with a microloan for working capital, and then in November 2016, she graduated to a $150,000 loan with a discounted five percent fixed rate for veterans, allowing her business to expand in its services to young girls, boys, and tweens.
However, like her fellow local businesses, she found herself facing monumental challenges in the wake of Hurricane Harvey in 2017. The hurricane’s aftermath and devastating floods forced Margo to pause her programming and wait for the water to subside, causing her to lose revenue and making it difficult to pay back her loan.
Fortunately, PeopleFund stepped in to ensure Margo and the CDFI’s other struggling borrowers could literally and figuratively stay afloat. PeopleFund ultimately made six months of loan payments on behalf of its 90 impacted clients in order to help them focus their precious resources and energy on recovery efforts.
“PeopleFund was there for us when we needed capital and when Hurricane Harvey challenged our business model,” Margo stated.
In addition to financing for her business and the support she received during Hurricane Harvey, Margo has also utilized PeopleFund’s business education and technical assistance programming, receiving accounting and QuickBooks assistance from on-staff business coaches and guidance from volunteer mentors. In 2017, she even won $25,000 from the BBVA Momentum pitch competition!
Margo is a tremendous example of why PeopleFund’s capital and education programs exist and how they work in tandem to improve opportunity for underserved entrepreneurs. As a minority, woman, and veteran entrepreneur with a startup concept, accessing the financial mainstream was a challenge for Margo, but PeopleFund has helped Chicks With Class grow, and subsequently help Houston’s youth become conscientious leaders and engaged citizens.