Carlos Moreno was a small business owner selling spices in Santiago de Cali, Colombia, but he knew he needed additional funding in order to grow his business. In 1971, Carlos became Opportunity International’s very first loan client. Today, Carlos says, “My loan helped me expand my business so I could sell 52 different spices, teas and medicinal herbs.” With the loan, he was able to purchase spice dryers and grinders to expand his small factory, and increase his spice crop yields on his farm. Less than two years after receiving his first loan, Carlos was employing 11 people in his store in Cali.
“This was the beginning of financially managing my business.” -Carlos Moreno on his loan from Opportunity International in 1971
Ten years later, Carlos had sold his business and become a pastor and business consultant. He traveled throughout Colombia and Central America, helping to empower other people. As a pastor, he reached out to impoverished church members, encouraging them to join Opportunity’s loan program. With a simple loan, many of the women in his church were able to start small businesses and provide for their families. Today, at age 81, Carlos lives in Bogotá and volunteers his time with a local nonprofit that serves people living in poverty in rural Colombia.
He was the first, but certainly not the last, of Opportunity’s clients to be able to grow their businesses and improve their futures through access to our financial services. Today, in our 40th year, we have three million clients like Carlos, and growing! Get to know Carlos and watch his story in the video below:
Want to explore all the milestones in Opportunity’s 40 years of microfinance work? Check out our 40th anniversary slideshow or make a special contribution in honor of our 40th at opportunity.org/40.