A native of Guatemala who moved to the U.S. in 1993, Elmer has overcome many obstacles to reach his goals. He was raised by his single mother, and in order to help make ends meet, Elmer began working at a very young age and was unable to attend school. When he was older, Elmer decided to emigrate to the U.S. in search of better opportunities. Since coming to the U.S., Elmer has worked in all kinds of construction work.
While coming to the U.S. has afforded Elmer opportunities he would not have had in Guatemala, finding jobs was not always easy. At times, it was a struggle to pay the rent. Adjusting to a new culture with new customs came with its own challenges as well, and Elmer continues to struggle with his English skills. With long hours and low pay, learning a new language was not always a priority.
But with his expertise in construction, remodeling, and general handyman work, Elmer knew he had an opportunity to pursue his own business. It was chance to trade the perennial struggle for steady work for something self-led and under his control. Elmer does all types of remodeling work, with a specialty in fixing garage doors.
“I really wanted to become financially independent, while making my own schedule and earning more money,” says Elmer.
In order to create a foundation for his business, Elmer enrolled in Spanish-language entrepreneurial training classes at Mi Casa. Elmer’s business is small but slowly expanding with the ongoing support of Mi Casa’s business counseling. Elmer is the owner of Duarte Construction, offering home remodeling and repair services. He currently has one assistant, but hopes to have two or three employees soon as the business expands.
“With Mi Casa’s help, I have learned how to market my business and network to find clients,” says Elmer. “In this economy, it can be hard to compete with larger construction companies, but I see progress and I know it’s worth it to keep going.”