NTC Language Services: Building a Business by Breaking Down Barriers
As communities across America become more diverse, there’s an increased need for reliable and professional language-translation services. Stephanie MacIntosh, owner of NTC Language Services, experienced this firsthand in her work with a Long Island school district.
NTC Language Services was founded in 2018 and in just over two years, it has grown to more than 130 translators working in 35 languages, with a growing list of clients across the country.
While education-translation services form the core of the business, Stephanie shares the new opportunities she discovered to help others as the pandemic spread, as well as how Pursuit helped her secure essential funding, build a solid financial foundation, hone marketing and digital media and grow.
Identifying a growing need
Stephanie is a New York State Education Department-certified administrator who is passionate about helping people. She spent more than a decade developing and leading English-as-a-New-Language services for schools on Long Island. In addition to helping students and teachers, her team worked with parents to support them with a range of needs, from education and literacy programs to translation services for medical, legal and other services.
Stephanie launched NTC with the mission “to empower our clientele to find common ground through language services to create a world without limits. Our translation team is vital in reaching our goal as we strive to serve our community and provide the highest quality of translation services. We strive to create a community of trust, cooperation, empathy, and understanding for all members.”
The business’s services were quickly in high demand with districts across New York State.
Securing the funds to competitively bid on contracts
As a New York State Women-Owned Business, NTC was well-positioned to bid on significant translation-service contracts. The challenge, though, was that to fully leverage opportunities with school districts, municipalities and other agencies, NTC needed capital. That’s because governmental and school contracts typically have higher upfront costs to get underway, as well as prolonged payment terms for contracts.
Despite a successful launch, rapid growth, profitability and unlimited scalability, Stephanie experienced a common barrier when it came to securing the funding she needed to grow her business: NTC fell just short of meeting all of the criteria that commercial banks typically require. Even with the company’s excellent track record and existing contracts, NTC simply hadn’t been in business long enough for banks to approve working capital loans. She also says that those who were willing to lend money also offered exorbitant interest rates.
Fortunately for Stephanie, she learned about Pursuit through the Small Business Development Center at Stony Brook University on Long Island.
“One of the first things Pursuit did was look at partnering on capital so that we could go for contracts and get into the bidding cycle. If you don’t have that capital, you can’t go for those significant contracts,” Stephanie explains.
She continues, 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.”
Pursuit helps NTC pivot and grow during the pandemic
“We were doing fine prior to the pandemic, working with school districts across New York State, but we lost about $100,000 in contracts with the shutdown. And the day we signed the loan papers was the day that New York State shut down due to the pandemic,” Stephanie says. “Pursuit was amazing throughout. As a service provider that could do our work remotely, but we still had employees to pay and expenses to cover. Pursuit’s loan came at the perfect time.”
But that’s not all, explains Stephanie. “They went even further than I’d hoped, too. Our Pursuit advisor, Joel Spiegel, was proactive throughout the shutdown and let us know that Pursuit could help, including approving us quickly for an SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan.”
She continues, saying, “The loans we received were essential, I honestly don’t know if we’d still be here right now without Pursuit’s help. But Pursuit helped with so much more, too. We received a microloan and that made us eligible to receive additional services. They had several consultants available to help us. We had The Spark Group for social media assistance and Endorphin Digital Marketing for social marketing and website redesign.”
“Joel and our Pursuit team helped us brainstorm and pivot beyond school districts, too,” Stephanie says. “We’re helping community organizations across the country meet their translation needs. Since the pandemic hit, we’ve performed about 2,000 intake meetings. We’re creating community workshops in conjunction with local agencies and providing them in different languages to help parents and others learn about what’s happening in the communities in regard to schools, COVID-19 testing and other health services and much more. We have multilingual YouTube videos and resources so that non-native English speakers don’t feel isolated. It helps everyone get through this a little easier. We’re really fortunate in that we’re coming out of this crisis stronger, and I credit Pursuit for helping us with this.”
She adds, “The pandemic has been horrible in so many ways, but if there is a silver lining, it’s that it opened our eyes to the need to communicate in different ways, whereas we may not have seen that without pandemic.”
Talk to Pursuit about ways we can help your business
Stephanie sums up her experience, saying, “When we build a team of experts, it makes us even better. People around you can help you see your own potential. And when we can support one another to grow, what a beautiful gift that is.”
To learn more about how we can help you, too, contact us today.