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Igor Hmelic (10.02.2010)
Transportation



Location: Chisinau, Moldova

Family: Married with one seven year-old daughter

Type of Business:
Transportation

Loans from CAMED:
3 small-business loans   

Loan Amounts:
  $5,000 in May 2008, $14,000 in January 2009, $6,000 in November 2009

Impact of the Loans:

Igor Hmelic became familiar with the transportation industry at an early age. Many of his relatives found work as international drivers and he recalls accompanying them in their transport to and from Poland, thus learning about his family’s careers in transportation even in his youth. Years later, after graduating with a degree in economics from an institution in Chisinau, Igor worked for some time with the logistical side of transportation at a customs office and in a larger business. When clients began approaching Igor for transportation work, he realized there was demand for his experienced services and began his own transportation business in 2001.

Igor’s business grew steadily for several years as a result of his persistence in attaining loyal clients. Though the most challenging part of the business, building a solid client base came as a result of Igor’s personal skills and particular attention to hiring expert drivers. After seven years of experiencing growth, Igor confidently decided it was time to take his small business to the next level.  By making major improvements on one of his four-passenger transportation vehicles, Igor knew he would be able to expand his client base to higher-class companies; he just did not have the investment capital. He approached Invest-Credit for information about a loan, after being familiar with the institution for years through personal friendships with some Invest-Credit staff. He was approved shortly thereafter for a $5,000 small-business loan to make improvements on his BMW vehicle.

After experiencing the positive effects the vehicle repairs had on his business, Igor decided to take out two more loans the following year. Despite the troubling global economic situation in 2009, Igor was able to double his revenue. With the additional loan capital he was able to invest in his business, Igor was able to secure a new partnership with a large cosmetics company. His transportation business now distributes the cosmetic products to retailers throughout the entire country twice a week, as well as transporting the goods daily to and from the warehouses. Clients like the cosmetics company are integral to the success of Igor’s transportation business; as his revenues accumulate with the consistent work, he is able to invest more money toward new vehicles to meet increasing demand for his services.

Today, Igor’s transportation company has four vehicles that are used daily to meet the needs of his clients. He employs two full-time drivers and three-part time drivers, one accountant, and also partners with six or seven other self-employed drivers when he needs additional help. Igor serves a wide-base of clients: besides serving the occasional needs of diplomats and various embassy employees, his business is the sole transportation provider for the World Bank in Moldova (since 2004) and a the cosmetics company (since 2009), both of whom require nation-wide transport.

As a result of the success from his business, Igor has been able to pay off his house in Chisinau, where he lives with his wife and seven year-old daughter. They have also been able to make repairs on the house and experience improved living conditions.

Future Ambitions:

Igor does not expect much growth in 2010, but hopes it will be a year to focus on upgrading the quality of his vehicles and implementing better internal organization. He plans on opening a small office from which to manage his clients and become better organized with processing his clients’ feedback and logistics.

In the long term, Igor envisions his business expanding to a total of about ten employees—larger than it is at present, but still small enough for Igor to be able to oversee all of the operations himself. His next goal is to market his business to several of the high-class hotels in Chisinau, who normally rely on taxi services for the transportation of their guests. If he can continue to improve the quality of his vehicles, he is confident that he will be able to sell his services and secure this new market of clients.

Spiritual Impact:

Igor is a member of a local church in the capital city, Chisinau, and is also involved in the church choir.  He says that being a Christian has had a significant effect on the way he conducts his business, and this influence is visible to his clients. The companies with whom he works see his faith through his honesty, his approach to fair pricing, and in the respectable way he handles conflict—the end result is that his clients trust him more than they would other businesses.

In His Own Words:

Igor reported very positively about his experience with Invest-Credit, noting the institution’s flexibility and promptness in responding to the needs of their clients.  Also, he has attended one of Invest-Credit’s trainings and was appreciative of the training opportunities Invest-Credit offers: “Invest-Credit focuses on teaching their clients skills and announcing trainings and conferences. Teaching Christians how to handle their business and train their attitudes on business—this is a big thing.”