Stephanie MacIntosh, co-founder and owner of NTC Language Services in Holbrook, NY, on Long Island, says that since receiving an SBA Microloan from Pursuit in 2020, the need for NTC’s services has continued to grow.
Here’s how Stephanie and NTC co-founder Alex Tovar are helping their clients – including school districts, government agencies and municipalities, non-profit organizations, and others – by providing translation services and exceptional care, a combination that earned NTC the New York State Entrepreneur of the Year award from Empire State Development – New York State’s primary economic-development agency.
Necessary service for diverse organizationsNTC Language Services was founded in 2018 to meet language-translation needs that Stephanie and Alex identified through her work with a Long Island school district. Stephanie’s a New York State Education Department-certified administrator who spent more than a decade developing and leading English-as-a-New-Language services for schools on Long Island. Her team also worked with parents to support translation services for medical, legal, and other areas.
When we spoke in 2020, the world was in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and nearly all of NTC’s services were provided online.
“So much has happened since and business has been great,” Stephanie says. “NTC’s offerings have grown from services in 35 languages to 50, reflecting the evolving diversity of communities across New York State and beyond. And now, it’s about a 50/50 split between remote service and in-person, with growth in both areas. We’ve also increased our staff to about 120 employees and contractors and we’ve extended our reach across New York State and beyond.”
Leveraging opportunities to grow with an SBA Microloan
A demonstrated need for a service is a great foundation for a business – and when entrepreneurs create and leverage opportunities and relationships, it deepens success, as Stephanie has learned. For example, through New York State’s MWBE certification program – for Minority- and Women-owned Business Enterprise – NTC is certified as a woman-owned business. As a result, NTC can help state and municipal agencies, including school districts, and other for-profit and non-profit organizations to meet their MWBE goals.
“MWBE certification has helped us grow and now, I help other small businesses navigate the process as a way of giving back to our community of entrepreneurs,” Stephanie says. She also serves on the Board of Trustees for the National Association of Educational Translators and Interpreters of Spoken Languages, an advocacy organization whose goals include developing an industry-certification process for translation-service staff, consultants, and schools.
While government contracts can provide a boost to small businesses, there’s typically a delay between when services are provided and when businesses get paid. This circumstance initially led NTC to seek financing.
“If you don’t have that capital, you can’t go for those significant contracts,” Stephanie explained then, also saying, “What I loved about Pursuit was that they looked at much more than just lending money. They considered how we serve the community, our different services, and more. Our Pursuit team proactively looked for a solution to set us up for success.” She learned about Pursuit through the Small Business Development Center at Stony Brook University.
Shortly after receiving the SBA Microloan, NTC also received a Paycheck Protection Program loan through Pursuit. “This really helped us get through the pandemic-related challenges,” Stephanie says, adding that in hindsight, she’s not sure they could have gotten through without the financing and support of the SBA and Pursuit.
Since then, NTC has also opened a business line-of-credit through Pursuit, which further helps to secure larger contracts because NTC can access additional financing as needed.
Optimizing opportunities to build success
Stephanie’s participating in the first cohort of entrepreneurs in Pursuit’s Path to Profitability program – a nine-month business-accelerator program that connects SBA Microloan recipients with consultants to help them set deliverables and track their progress.
“When we received the SBA Microloan from Pursuit, it was immensely helpful for our financial needs, but it was really just the start of so many benefits that we’ve gained,” Stephanie explains.
“Meeting with entrepreneurs facing their own opportunities and challenges gives us a forum to brainstorm and help each other,” Stephanie says. “Between this and the consulting services through Pursuit, it has been an incredible boost to our business’s success.” Among the services that NTC has received, Stephanie says that human-resources advisement has been essential, and learning business data and trend analytics has helped her team identify new opportunities, including how to find and hire people who can help to build the NTC team.
“There are many people in the communities we serve who are unemployed or underemployed and who have the skills we need, but they’re not looking on traditional job-search channels. Our work with Path to Profitability and Pursuit consultants is helping me discover ways to reach out and bring them onto our team,” Stephanie explains.
“People need translation services in essentially every aspect of their lives,” Stephanie says, “It’s exciting to have a business that’s growing and evolving to help meet the needs in our community and beyond.”
Pursuit provides financing and more to help businesses
Stephanie says, “When Pursuit calls, I’ll sign up for anything they offer, because whether it’s business consulting or a full-fledged program like Path to Profitability, the benefits go well beyond whatever you anticipate. Working with Pursuit has been great!”
Pursuit offers more than 15 small business loans and a line of credit for small businesses throughout New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut. Explore our financing options, then contact us to learn more about how we can help you.