OMAHA, Neb. — North End Teleservices wasn't on track to exist, let alone achieve the success of being the largest black-owned business in the state of Nebraska. Hard work and networking made all the difference says its CEO.
"It was not without being met with a lot of noes, the noes I can't really explain. I presented business cases and business plans but there are extra hurdles that women and Black women have to overcome," said Carmen Tapio, President and CEO of North End Teleservices.
Tapio says she was confident in her business plan, but was told no, over and over again.
"But the noes, and I tell people this, the last no that I got was actually the blessing because it opened the door to the yes. One of the noes provided me with the letter that I needed to talk to an alternative source of accessing funds. That company was new market tax credits," she said.
New Market Tax Credits is a federally-backed program that provides tax credits for companies that invest in low-income and distressed communities.
North End Teleservices has hundreds of employees.
"You can't sit on the outside and watch business happen," said Tapio. "When I do something, I am all in. I work with the Chamber — it has helped us get our name out there and I have been able to participate in leadership positions in the community — it is a tremendous asset."
She says people see her success but not the struggle.
"What you don't see is the sleepless nights or the constant work that you are doing," said Tapio.
She adds that there are moments when your hard work pays off and you realize it was all worth it.
"That moment for me was when I was able to buy out my investors and become the sole owner of North End Teleservices LLC," she said.
She says relationships, networking and being a part of the business community are key — and being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart.
Tapio is spearheading a new group to empower minority women — Nebraska Black Women United — and she wants to use her success and knowledge to help others succeed.
The group has a networking event Sunday, Oct. 31. 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tickets are $25.