Olu’s Home: Growing a Business by Taking Care of the Community

Gloria Freeman, the determined entrepreneur behind Olu’s Home, combines the persistence of a small business owner with the heart of a caregiver.

Like many of us, Gloria Freeman takes after her mom. Determination, perseverance, and a scrappy sense of independence allowed her mom to pursue and obtain a law degree while raising three children as a single parent. If you met Gloria, you’d immediately recognize those roots in her powerful presence, which she manages to combine with a warm and welcoming spirit.

Gloria’s business, Olu’s Home, is a licensed care organization that provides residential and in-home services to the elderly and persons with developmental disabilities or mental illness. Olu’s promotes an integrated and holistic approach to care, rooted in the belief that “we all have the right to a fulfilling life — to be happy, whole, and accomplished individuals.”

Olu’s is celebrating its 15th anniversary, a well-earned and hard-won accomplishment. Like so many small business owners, in spite of sustained growth and expansion, more than once over those years Gloria struggled to secure the financing critical to continue growing her business, hiring new employees and serving more clients in need of care.

As a result of the Ours To Own initiative, and through her relationship with Metropolitan Economic Development Association (MEDA) who referred the deal to the Community Reinvestment Fund, USA, (CRF) Gloria received financing to purchase a new facility that will allow her to significantly expand her business. Thanks to this social impact investment, Gloria now employs nearly 100 people, serving clients across both Hennepin and Ramsey counties.

Gloria’s own personal path reflects the same resilience she’s demonstrated as a business owner. The long journey to making Olu’s Home what it is today began after she was laid off from a career as an underwriter, during difficult economic times. Today, Gloria is thrilled to be a part of Ours To Own, planning to pay it forward by investing in her peers: “the idea that says that I can take my $100 to support another small business owner — what a fabulous concept.”

The Ours To Own movement celebrates Gloria’s story of self determination and the success it has brought to the community by creating jobs and building wealth. Just as she has made it her life’s work to take care of her neighbors, we hope that the energy and enthusiasm of Ours To Own is a reminder that the community will rise up to take care of her as well.

 

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