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!
Shelly-T Contracting LLC, a woman-owned general contracting company out of the West End, increases the value of communities one home at a time.
Founded by Charmaine Turner-Shelly and her husband Andre Shelly in 2017, Shelly-T Contracting offers interior and exterior residential remodeling services for homes within 30 miles of Pittsburgh. Their specialties are drywall, flooring, painting, gutters, roofing, and decking.
The push to start Shelly-T Contracting came from Andre’s desire to leave long hours working as a roofer and Charmaine’s lifelong goal to be an entrepreneur.
Together, they decided it was time to do things on their own terms.
"A very close friend was able to help me get the construction company set up and at the time, also needed a roof installed,” Charmaine says. “So not only did we get started, but we had our first project.”
The project involved roofing, siding, and painting at her friend’s East Liberty home. The home, which was purchased for a low amount, increased exponentially in value and sold for a profit that was unheard of at the time.
“That was amazing to me,” Charmaine says.
She largely credits RCI’s comprehensive BizFIT program to her company’s success.
“That program is everything,” Charmaine says. “RCI gives you knowledge, but they also put the resources right in front of you. They teach you more than you think you need.”
From training, to certifications, to resource connections and networking opportunities, Charmaine says RCI has elevated her business in many ways. She plans to move Shelly-T Contracting’s office to RCI’s building on the North Shore.
Like many businesses, Shelly-T Contracting took a hit when the COVID-19 pandemic swept over Pittsburgh.
“If I tell you one thing we learned from the pandemic, it is to always have working capital,” Charmaine says. “COVID taught me to always have capital to be able to grow, pay your employees, pay your subcontractors… making sure everyone can still eat for the families that don’t have much.”
Charmaine says her focus for Shelly-T Contracting is growth. She continues to learn and seek ways to expand, hire another crew, and get more supplies.
But the best part of the job? Seeing her clients happy, Charmaine says.
She first dreamt of starting a community-focused nonprofit. She spent 5 years leading a children’s program in Sheridan while working as a Certified Nursing Assistant. Her love of construction and passion for putting things together shifted her direction and she now aspires to rehabilitate homes with the purpose of helping underserved communities.
“My goal was to make sure everything was okay, and to make people happy,” Charmaine says. “Now, when we work with people in their homes, they’re really happy as well.”
No matter what, Charmaine says she’s always helping and doing philanthropy work.
Why does she do it all?
“Because I’m an entrepreneur,” she says. "I am not clocking in on anyone else’s clock but my own, and the bonus is to make people happy, increase the value of their home, and increase the value of their community,
“I am still doing what I set out to do, just in a different way."
Book a free estimate with Shelly-T contracting at https://shellytllc.wixsite.com/shellytcontracting or by calling 412-526-5184. You can also like Shelly-T Contracting LLC on Facebook or follow them on Instagram at @shellytcontractingllc_
Interested in RCI’s BizFIT program? Click here to fill out a form.
Kiva PittsburghThe Kiva Stories of Six Pittsburgh Entrepreneurs
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