By attending the BOC-led focus group and workshop, Mr. Sherpa identified opportunities for financial help.
Like many asylees, Tsering Sherpa had difficulty finding work when he arrived in the U.S. from Nepal. Before coming to America, Sherpa was a successful businessman, and in 2015, he decided to try his hand at opening a small business in Queens, Pema Nails.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sherpa had a loyal, growing customer base and a handful of employees. Pema Nails has received glowing reviews from satisfied clients over the years, and through word-of-mouth, Sherpa was able to garner several customer referrals, too.
In 2020, as the ongoing pandemic brought personal services businesses to halt, Pema Nails was forced to close for six months. Like many small business owners, Sherpa spent his savings on keeping up with the rent and maintenance. Additionally, Pema Nails employees were laid off due to a lack of resources to meet payroll.
As COVID restrictions on businesses were lifted, Sherpa purchased personal protection equipment and implemented new protocols for Pema Nails employees. Following the CDC guidelines, the salon began to accept clients by appointment only. However, business was extremely slow; they were operating at a 15% capacity.
Through outreach efforts to conduct a focus group about pandemic support, BOC ORR MED counselor Megha Tuladhar, Sherpa heard about the Queen’s Storefront Grant Program. By attending the BOC-led focus group and workshop, Mr. Sherpa identified opportunities for financial help. Through a quick application process and one-to-one help from BOC Network, Sherpa qualified for $20,000 for the Queen’s storefront Grant in March 2021. He was able to use the grant money to help cover rent, utilities, and his employee payroll. Until then, he continued using his savings for business expenses; but, with the grant monies and an uptick in clientele, Mr. Sherpa was hopeful he would soon see a profit again.
“Thank you, Megha and BOC, for providing us Nepali small businesses with so much help during this last year. I am very grateful to have received your assistance and this grant. I feel hopeful for my business now,” said Sherpa. He continues to work with BOC to identify opportunities and learn how he can build financial capital for his businesses.
"I feel hopeful for my business now."
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