Bank rejections didn't stop this entrepreneur.
I was raised in a small town near Lubbock, Texas, and my family were migrant workers," says Joe Salinas Jr., 33, president of Austin-based Advanced Networking Solutions (ANS). "It was in high school, after being exposed to the cotton fields, that I knew what I didn't want to do for the rest of my life."
In 1991, after serving in the military, earning a degree in computer science from the University of Texas and working as a computer analyst for IBM, Salinas used $4,000 in savings to co-found ANS with his brother Bob. ANS provides networking solutions from software and workstations to cabling.
Six years later, with $750,000 in sales, 15 employees and four pending projects worth about $4 million in revenue, Salinas sought $150,000 in expansion funding.
"We went to some pretty good-sized banks, but they felt we had grown too fast, that we had too much business; they wanted to see how we would manage growth before lending to us," remembers Salinas.
Margo Weisz of the Austin Community Development Corp. didn't have the same reservations. "We needed manpower and equipment, and we needed to beef up our statewide infrastructure to handle the projects, and [Weisz] was willing to assist with that," says Salinas.
About a month after talking with Weisz, Salinas obtained a bridge loan of $50,000 from her organization. That paved the way for bank loans a few months later.
Today, ANS has 100 employees, projected 1999 sales of $9.5 million and five bank credit lines.
"We wouldn't have gone out of business without the financing from Margo," says Salinas, "but the road would have been bumpier, and we would have had to slow our growth or even give up a piece of the company."
Advance Networking Solutions Computers Inc., 1111 S. Congress Ave., Austin, TX 78704, firstname.lastname@example.org
Austin Community Development Corp., 5407 N. IH35, #307, Austin, TX 78723, (512) 371-1776