The micro lending program overseen by the Chatham-Kent Workforce Planning Board is so successful that it’s been suspended.
It’s on hold because all of the available funding has been distributed.
Mario Bocsan is one of the recipients. The self-employed flooring man said he is using the funds to expand his workshop at his Merlin-area home to one day make and repair wood furniture.
Bocsan said when he found out about the micro lending program – which lends up to $5,000 to entrepreneurs to start a business or expand an existing one – he applied.
“I called and they booked me an appointment that day,” he said.
Married with three children, Bocsan said he wanted to increase his earning potential.
“I decided to turn the barn into a shop. It’s been seven years in the making,” he said.
He already operates a small sawmill, turning logs into lumber for several customers. But with the micro lending program, Bocsan said he has improved the electrical service to his workshop and is acquiring machinery for woodworking. He’s also in the process of getting the natural gas line extended to the barn.
He hopes to eventually pay it forward, helping local citizens with their furniture needs.
“What you guys do for me, I think I will do back in society,” Bocsan told planning board staff. “I won’t be a millionaire from this job, but working for myself, I feel so much better.”
Bocsan has been self-employed for nearly two decades. He said he once worked three jobs in order to make ends meet, but continued to pursue his self-employment dream.
The Romanian immigrant said he loves living in Chatham-Kent, specifically near Merlin.
“It feels like the best place in the world,” he said. “It feels like I grew up there.”