Katie Taylor, Vice President – Marketing & Executive Projects, interviews Joshua Marquez, Veteran Launch’s Program Manager. Click here to read Joshua’s bio.
How did you come across Main Street Launch?
I was looking to transition out of the startup world to get more involved in the military and veteran community. It was not long after the program’s (Veteran Launch) inception that I found Main Street Launch through one of their job posts online. They were known as OBDC Small Business Finance then and Veteran Launch was just ramping up with the help of the tremendously talented Noah Harris at the wheel. I have been back since the beginning of 2018 and could not ask for a better team!
In what ways do you think Main Street Launch brings value to our communities?
Main Street’s roots are in Oakland, a place I am lucky enough to call home. What attracted me to Main Street Launch was the mission; access to capital and to a network for entrepreneurs in the community I live in. The best part of the work that I am involved in is getting to extend that value-add throughout the entire state for veterans, active duty military personnel, and their spouses. Main Street Launch is coming up on forty years of faithful and innovative service to the community, and I believe there will at least be another forty moving forward.
In what ways do you work with clients? What’s a brief description of your role?
One of my main responsibilities is to ensure that capital is deployed in a timely manner. This is done by preparing loan packages and taking care of back-end processes alongside the closing and compliance team. Separate from ensuring small business owners get paid on time, you can see me at most industry-specific events all over the state, interactive with potential clients in several different ways, developing strategic partnerships, and other various program-related capacities. I am also involved in the national CDFI Collaborative, Veteran LLC, with founding partner JPMorgan Chase.
What inspires you or motivates you about your work with clients?
Entrepreneurs are calculated risk takers and our portfolio reflects just that. Fifty percent of our borrowers are startups. Everyone is in their respective business for one reason or another but I think the common theme I take away is more or less the same. Their passion for the work they do not only enables them to be successful but in turn fuels the economic development in their respective communities. Our clients are very talented, know their craft, and create jobs. It is very satisfying to see our clients go from idea stage to profitability.
What do you enjoy about working on our team?
The entire team is incredibly talented and sharp as a whip. Everyone on board shares the same goal, which is serving their community, and I feel both privileged and honored to be part of such a great mission-focused organization that lives out their values everyday. It really does take a village.
Anything else you’d like folks to know?
We are not a bank and operate a little differently. We lend to the business and invest in the business owner. I want to let our clients know that I am here for them and that they are not just getting a loan. Separate from receiving capital, our clients gain access to a vast network of resources to help their business grow and continue to succeed for years to come. There is an old African proverb that says, “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”