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

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

As many of us do, Gloria Freeman takes after her mom. Determination, perseverance, and a scrappy sense of independence allowed her mom to pursue and successfully obtain a law degree while raising three children in a single parent household. 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, rooted in the belief that “we all have the right to a fulfilling life – to be happy, whole, and accomplished individuals.”

This year, Olu’s will celebrate its 15th anniversary, an accomplishment that has not come without its challenges and obstacles. Like so many entrepreneurs and small business owners, despite her sustained growth and expansion, at several times throughout the years Gloria struggled to secure the critical financing she needed 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 has received financing to purchase a new facility that will allow her to expand significantly. She now employs nearly 100 people, serving clients across both Hennepin and Ramsey counties.

Gloria’s own personal path is reflective of 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 past career as an underwriter during difficult economic times. Today, Gloria is thrilled to be a part of the Ours to Own initiative, and even considering paying 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 that 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 the Ours to Own movement is a reminder that the community strives to take care of her as well.

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