Since the Kiva Pittsburgh initiative launched, over $2 million in interest-free Kiva micro-loans have supported businesses in the Pittsburgh region. These loans went to businesses that may not have otherwise had access to capital to launch or grow, many of which were new businesses and/or owned by individuals from disadvantaged groups (63% women & 62% minorities). Riverside Center for Innovation is proud to work with Kiva to bring dollars to the Pittsburgh economy and investment to these local businesses, and we look forward to the next million!
Click through the slides to discover the Kiva stories of six entrepreneurs whose first loans helped us to reach the $2 million mark and crowdfunded a second loan in the last month, kicking off our journey to the next million!
Morish Wilson first picked up a brush to paint buildings when he was 14 years old.
“That was my first time touching a brush and a roller,” Morish, a natural artist, says. “I had no clue I would be a painter.”
Morish is the founder of Ruby’s Painting and Contracting, LLC.
Ruby’s Painting and Contracting specializes in interior and exterior painting for commercial, residential, and industrial contracts (like bridges, mills, and industrial plants) throughout Pittsburgh and Allegheny and Westmoreland counties.
The team recently completed a job painting massive fuel tanks for Pittsburgh International Airport, and will be painting for a community initiative in Sheraden led by former Pittsburgh Steeler Joey Porter and his wife, Christy.
Morish’s painting career started 20 years ago. He painted professionally with other companies and the union while dreaming up his own venture. After the passing of his mother, Ruby, he decided it was time to pursue his lifelong dream of owning a company.
“When I quit the union, some of the guys I worked for said it would be hard and that I shouldn’t do it,” he says. “Then I had some family members say I shouldn’t do it, but I just did it.”
Morish’s perseverance paid off.
“The first year was scary. The second year was scary. The third year was all right. And now, we’re here and I’m doing the thing people said I couldn’t do,” he says.
As someone passionate about family and helping others, Morish employs both his daughter and son, and named the business after his late mother.
“I’m extremely passionate about what we do, and passionate to put her name on it and carry it,” he says.
Morish says a distinct attention to detail on the job, with meeting deadlines, and in care given to customers makes Ruby’s Painting stand out.
“I’m a giver, and my purpose is to help,” Morish says. “So, when I go into a house and I see that I can make it extremely better and put a smile on their face, it makes me work even harder, and be more visual and more unique about what we do while paying attention to details.”
Another perk Ruby’s Painting and Contracting offers customers is lending advice on how to maintain and touch up their own properties, extending the life of the job.
Morish found RCI through a networking event. Since then, he’s participated in countless programs and services, including BizFIT, and has obtained help with getting certifications, large contracts, and other aspects of business.
“RCI is AMAZING, with all caps,” Morish says. “That whole organization and the whole team is creative, passionate about what they do, hands on, trailblazers... really, really good people.”
Ruby’s Painting and Contracting even painted the outside of RCI’s building on the North Shore.
Morish urges people to never give up on what they believe in, and to always have purpose.
“You hear people say that over and over, but it’s real,” he says.
Kiva PittsburghThe Kiva Stories of Six Pittsburgh Entrepreneurs
Kiva PittsburghKiva PGH Milestone: $2,000,000 crowdfunded for small businesses!