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Cleaning for Hope

Des Moines, Iowa

Matching Partner: Community State Bank

Cleaning for Hope was founded by me Lily Okech, a refugee from Uganda. I spent the first 15 years of my life in a refugee camp in Uganda before making our way to America. Going into high school in the U.S., I spoke no English. I learned the alphabet in 9th grade, and within months, I was on my way. At this time, I identified a passion and deep-rooted need to help others. Later in life, I saw a need in our community to employ our local refugees through job opportunities grounded in culture, support, and love. My business, Cleaning for Hope, aims to serve our local community similarly. I am the bookkeeper for the company and I train all new staff.

Additionally, I coach women who are in leadership positions, with an emphasis on mindset. I have a book being released in November of this year that outlines my life story and was written to empower and motivate individuals to reach their highest potential in life. My goal is to help women prosper, no matter where they have come from. I believe with a little bit of help and support, we all can live out our greatness.

Business Description

Cleaning for Hope, located in Des Moines, Iowa, offers personalized cleaning services to local businesses. In addition to offering cleaning services, we strive to provide the best customer service, ensuring that our clients experience the incredible work ethic of our growing team. In 2017, I was in an abusive relationship and decided to leave with my four children. I found myself alone and hopeless. During this time, I started cleaning my church part-time and my full-time job at Walmart. People took notice of my work and started asking me to clean their houses. Within a year, my client list had grown, and I couldn’t take on this venture alone. I decided in April of 2018 to start a cleaning business to help my family and me and help other women in our community through employment and training.

What is the Purpose of This Loan?

I have been taking classes at the Greater Des Moines Partnership to help grow my business, and I am currently learning how to put together a balance sheet. I have a great mentor, and I look forward to continuing this education and taking advantage of local resources and support services. I am applying for this loan to help me take my business to the next level. This loan will allow me to hire someone to help me manage my business and pay for the costs of implementing new marketing strategies. These marketing efforts include the cost of printing materials and the distribution of mailings to spread the word about our business. This is especially needed when it comes to attracting new commercial contracts. This new hire will be tasked with growing and expanding our current offerings. They will also assist me with the before-mentioned marketing and sales efforts.