Tim Galakchiev was born in Russia and first came to the United States with his mother in 1998 at the age of 21. Later, his father, Edward, and Tim’s wife and children also immigrated to America. Here they began putting down roots and reuniting with members of the Columbus area Russian Jewish community, some of whom they had known in Russia. Tim’s father wanted to purchase a restaurant, but he spoke little English and did not have the tools to navigate the American business process.
Edward applied for, and got, a loan through one of ECDI’s programs designed to aid immigrants. As he did not speak fluent English, his son, Tim, began attending the classes that are required for ECDI loan recipients. While Tim acted as an interpreter for his father, he learned a lot.
“These classes were helpful,” says Tim. “I got lots of information on how to run a business. When I left Russia, it was the Soviet Union. The laws were different there and it was impossible to obtain credit here to start a business. The classes at ECDI helped me learn about the U.S. law, the taxes, how to run a business, and the problems you can get into when you own your own business.”
Thanks to his experience with ECDI, Tim himself applied for a loan.
“My first ECDI loan was for my business called All American Car Lines,” he says. “I started that four to five years ago in logistics. This is a vehicle transportation service: The trucks you see along the highway transporting a load of cars from place to place. First, I owned small trucks, the ones which carry only three vehicles. Then, with my partner, we learned a lot of things.
“There is opportunity here. We need to expand our business to get bigger trucks. They are expensive, but it is worth it. In this industry they know of our company, because we give good service and they like us. Through my ECDI loan, I was able to purchase semi trucks, which can transport nine or 10 vehicles.”
Since his business’s expansion, Tim says his business has doubled and he was able to hire four new employees. These jobs are concrete examples of the positive effect new businesses can have.
With that process going well, Tim started yet another business: Green Light Insurance, an independent agency providing coverage for home, auto, and business clients.
“I took a huge step to extend the operation,” says Tim. “I hired another three licensed agents, and purchased leads. Because of this expansion using the ECDI money, I just got a contract with Safeco. We also go door to door soliciting clients, we do Internet advertising, and we just built our own website. ECDI helped me get the financial support I needed to expand and get more clients. Since the ECDI loan, the business with Green Light has more than doubled.”
Stories like Tim and Edward’s are not uncommon. Every day, ECDI is able to help motivated entrepreneurs find capital to begin their business. There is a range of tools in place to assist the talent right here in Central Ohio. ECDI capitalizes on the innate talent of the motivated entrepreneurs from around the world that are introduced to our community through immigration.
One of the financial vehicles available to ECDI clients is the Growing Jewish Columbus fund established by the Columbus Jewish Foundation in 2011. This fund is Central Ohio’s only loan program earmarked for Jewish entrepreneurs.
“The Jewish entrepreneurs whom we help will in turn actively participate in the area’s future growth and become stakeholders who support the community that gave them a head start,” says Jackie Jacobs, executive director of the Columbus Jewish Foundation.
By investing in individuals like Tim, ECDI has become a huge part of investing in Central Ohio and creating a robust and diverse local economy.