Volunteer Spotlight: Marc Bernica, Growth Loan Mentor

For entrepreneurs who have successfully launched their business, RMMFI’s larger loan products can serve as a valuable resource for continued growth and development. Thrive Loans, ranging from $500 to $5,000, can help entrepreneurs take the next step toward growing or stabilizing operations. Growth Loans, ranging from $5,001 to $75,000, can help entrepreneurs increase revenue, become more profitable, or cut costs on their path toward greater business maturity.

As our largest loan, Growth Loans are designed for experienced entrepreneurs with demonstrated capacity for growth and repayment and a strong commitment to developing mature business systems. Growth Loans include ongoing strategic mentorship that starts before the loan is taken out to ensure entrepreneurs have the right support as they plan for and utilize the additional capital.

Dave Mika, owner of Automotive Revival and graduate of Denver Class #5, is currently in the process of taking out a Growth Loan for his auto repair business. His primary focus with the loan will be implementing a marketing plan to reach new customers, which will in turn support his goal of hiring an additional mechanic.

As part of the Growth Loan application process, Dave has been working with a mentor, Marc Bernica, for the past year. Before Dave applied, Marc helped him evaluate what the best use of a loan would be and how it could serve as an investment in growth rather than just something to cover operating expenses. They discovered an opportunity in marketing to build on the high satisfaction of Dave’s existing customers, and Marc helped Dave determine metrics for measuring success and being more targeted in his approach.

Marc became a RMMFI volunteer because he believes in the connection between business ownership and economic mobility. He’s passionate about business and enjoys the chance to support RMMFI’s mission by doing something he loves. Marc works with entrepreneurs regularly in his role as Senior VP of Operations at Bright Horizons, but most aren’t from the area, so he likes getting to engage with more local small business owners through RMMFI.

Beyond the specifics of the Growth Loan, Marc is also sharing his skills to help Dave think about systems and scalability in general for his business. Dave describes Marc as indispensable, not just for the knowledge and insight he’s given but also because he’s provided a sense of calm and consistency throughout the challenges of the pandemic. Marc’s been flexible with Dave, making sure they stay in communication even when things get busy at the shop.

Dave has developed a strong reputation and deep customer loyalty at Automotive Revival since 2007, and he will continue working with Marc as he puts his Growth Loan to use to build on that success and invest in the future.