Celebrating Female Entrepreneurs: Four Women Whose Stories will Inspire you
At TMC Financing, we have the privilege of getting to meet the most amazing business owners as we help them purchase real estate for their business via the SBA 504 Program. Their drive and their passion is what motivates us day in and day out.
In honor of Women’s History Month, we wanted to feature a handful of incredible female entrepreneurs who we have been able to work with recently.
Lina Mills, Creative Ideas Catering
Lina Mills, the founder of Creative Ideas Catering, has been in the catering business for over 25 years. During a time of financial and health hardships, an old client of Lina’s found her and encouraged her to start her own catering business, which was how Creative Ideas Catering came to life in 2013.
Lina started writing menus, manuals and created a website with no prior experience. After being turned away from many commissaries, she finally found one she was able to afford and started working in the shared kitchen.
The beginning was not easy. But Lina and her team persevered and within a few months she had her first gigs and was able to cover most business expenses. Six months later, Creative Ideas Catering had 12 associates and over 200 clients.
Having full creative and operational control allows her to provide the best possible experience to the clients. Her dishes are Latino and globally inspired with Lina’s unique Latin flare plus her husband’s Mexican roots.
Purchasing her building in San Francisco was a proud and emotional milestone for Lina and her team. TMC is so happy we could play a part in this huge achievement for Creative Ideas Catering. Lina is one of the most genuine, hard working and passionate business owners we know.
Today, Lina believes that anything is possible if you put your heart and soul into it. She inspires and encourages other women to pursue their dreams.
Shiloh Sophia, Shiloh Sophia Gallery
We connected with Shiloh Sophia to help her purchase property in Sonoma, CA that would house an art museum, a classroom, and a small guest inn.
Shiloh Sophia is an artist, a storyteller, a teacher, and a curator for a global museum called Musea. She is a woman-owned small business in Sonoma County.
Shiloh Sophia has been painting her whole life. Born in 1970, Shiloh Sophia started painting and working in clay as soon as she could walk. At an early age Shiloh was trained by her mother, the poet Caron McCloud, in literature and poetry. She was chastened not to watch TV, but rather learn the poetry of T.S. Eliot, study the work of Herman Hesse, look at the artwork of Michelangelo, and sketch in her notebook.
In 1997 she opened her first gallery, Color of Woman. Before the age of 40, she had produced over 1,200 original paintings and sold over 2.5 million dollars in art. Shiloh Sophia is one of the most popular and collected artists in her genre. She is the creator of over seven illustrated books and journals and is currently working on a series of mythic novels as well as an inspirational deck.
Her soul work is inspired by the idea that self-expression is a basic human right, and that each person has a right to know how they think and feel, and the freedom to express it in the world. Her research and development around this idea has focused on serving women and girls by giving them access to methods of transformational art-making, through stories, symbols and inquiry.
Her work with image and language paired with the intelligence of the heart is taught in many fields, including Innovative Leadership, Corporate Teamwork, Therapeutic Healing, Academia, hospitals, prisons, and social work settings. Shiloh and her team of over 450 Certified Teachers and Coaches around the world bring Intentional Creativity® as a tool for transformation in the healing arts. The impact of her work has created what she believes is one of the largest most well-established art movements in the world.
After working with tens of thousands of people for over 27 years in how creativity can catalyze our consciousness, her body of work lives at Musea, a Museum and University. Her collection of paintings and writings, a retrospective spanning over 20 years, is housed at www.shilohsophiagallery.com To join Shiloh Sophia to experience Intentional Creativity in action – sign up for free class, or become a member of Musea. You can also join Shiloh Sophia March 26th at 10 AM at the Many Muses Festival, a Global Celebration of Women’s Art and Voices, presented by Musea.
Constance Carter, Catalyst Real Estate Professionals
Constance Carter, owner of Catalyst Real Estate Professionals, is an International Best-Selling Author, Investor, Speaker, Musician and the CEO of the largest African American Residential Real Estate & Lending firm in Northern California.
Her list of accolades is extensive and impressive, but her success did not come easy. Constance is a true entrepreneur that worked hard and persisted relentlessly to get where she is today. After being laid off of her corporate job, she used her severance package to finance a real estate license. She learned the ropes quickly and was soon making six figures. However, after years of success, her mismanagement of money and living beyond her means caught up with her. Her credit was destroyed, and she had to file for bankruptcy. She had hit rock bottom, but in her true entrepreneurial spirit, Constance was more motivated than ever. She vowed to only make wise investment decisions and more importantly, to share her journey with others to help them avoid the pitfalls that she encountered.
When asked what makes Catalyst Real Estate Professionals different than other real estate companies, Constance replied:
“We are not just transactional, but a transformational agency. We understand the disparity and inequities that have caused the wealth gap to increase among the races. Our goal is to level the playing field and make homeownership a possibility to everyone from all walks of life. We show them what’s possible and give them the tools to make it happen. A lot of our buyers didn’t know that owning a home was an option, and it’s the best feeling in the world to be the catalyst to show them that they can.
Because we are a direct lender, and with my credit programs, we take people from lack to legacy. Showing them not only how to buy their first home, but how to set up their legacy plan through asset protection strategies. And more importantly, we teach them how to help their families do the same. It’s true wealth and legacy creation.”
Much like TMC’s belief that if you own a business, you should own the real estate, Constance believes if you have a job, then you can—and should—own a home. Catalyst Real Estate Professionals helps you work through the details and provide a step-by-step blueprint on how to become a homeowner.
TMC connected with Constance in 2019 to help her secure financing to purchase a 7,200 square foot building for her business. By utilizing the SBA 504 Program, Constance was able to purchase the Sacramento building with only 10% down and a 25-year below market interest rate.
Constance Carter is a true inspiration. She overcame bankruptcy, homelessness, a detrimental credit score and is now helping others who may feel undeserving or underqualified to overcome their obstacles and build wealth and fulfill their dreams.
Jaclyn Carpenter, Ideal Restoration
Jaclyn Carpenter became the CEO of Ideal Restoration when she was 23 years old. She was young and a woman in a male dominated industry. In her early years as CEO, Carpenter knew she had to learn everything she could about building recovery solutions and emergency restoration in order to be the best leader she could be. Carpenter worked tirelessly towards becoming an expert in the field. She was onsite operating equipment, dealing with flooding, sewage backups, mold, asbestos and disinfecting. It was dirty work, Carpenter recalled.
Once she mastered what went on in the business, Carpenter knew it was time to focus on the business so she shifted her focus to growth and operations.
“While there were learning curves as I grew into my role as CEO, it felt amazing to be the visionary for the company, to determine how we would grow to where we wanted to be, and what would set us apart from our competition,” explained Carpenter.
Today, Ideal is No. 1 in their industry in San Francisco and just had a record-breaking year after Carpenter elected to prioritize hospital sanitation and disinfection.
“My grandmother died from a hospital-acquired infection, so working in hospitals has always been near and dear to my heart,” explained Carpenter. “But when covid hit, we saw an opportunity and seized it. We were the first to market our disinfecting services to major San Francisco clients, particularly hospitals. We were already experts on controlling infectious diseases and creating a high-level clean environment so it made sense.”
Another smart business move spearheaded by Carpenter was the decision to purchase property for her business, rather than be at the mercy of a landlord. TMC Financing connected with Carpenter to help her purchase 1499 Evans Ave in San Francisco. She was able to conserve working capital by utilizing the SBA 504 Program for the acquisition. She purchased the $4.2 million property in 2012 with only 10 percent down and a long term, below-market.
“It was really important for us to own our space,” stated Carpenter. “At the time, our goal was to be the No. 1 provider in San Francisco, so we needed a secure, permanent home in San Francisco. It was too risky to rent and run into a situation with a landlord or getting priced out. I wanted control over our future.”
“We also have unique needs with vehicles, equipment and security so it costs a lot to customize our space. Every customization we make increases the property’s value. We were also able to purchase a larger facility than we needed that already had a long-term tenant. The monthly rental income I get increases our equity, which will be leveraged towards our next property.”
Being a young woman leading a company in a male dominated field, Carpenter has overcome many hurdles. Her advice to other woman leaders? Be confident, know your stuff, and the rest will fall into place.
Thank you Lina, Shiloh, Jaclyn, Constance, and the rest of our women entrepreneurs for being such incredible role models. We are lucky to watch your success!