From Newly-Arrived Refugee to Sacramento Employer in Four Years

Artur Ryabtsev, Ukranian refugee, works with our loan program to purchase a small-business.


When Artur Ryabtsev, a Ukrainian refugee, came to the United States in 2008, he used what he’d learned at a furniture factory in Kiev and began making cabinets for individual clients in his garage. With time, word about his quality work spread, and orders increased. Ryabtsev soon needed an additional piece of equipment to keep up with his new orders and this required financing. He went to banks, but his requests were denied because, as a newly-arrived immigrant, he lacked the necessary credit history and his loan request was much lower than the amount banks prefer to lend. 


In 2010, Ryabtsev learned that Sacramento nonprofit and CDFI, Opening Doors, Inc., provides loans tailor-made for refugees.  Ryabtsev approached Opening Doors hoping that with their help he could turn his work into a real business. The agency approved his loan request of $5,000 to purchase a piece of equipment that enabled him to produce cabinets more quickly.  Meanwhile, Ryabtsev began working with a San Francisco Bay Area cabinet-making company that did their manufacturing in Sacramento.  The company started outsourcing their cabinet door manufacturing to Ryabtsev as it fulfilled huge orders for Bay Area contractors.  By the time he returned to Opening Doors for a second loan in 2011, he had moved from his garage to a small workshop. His income had increased by 30% and he’d hired part-time employees.  With the second loan of $15,000 Ryabtsev purchased additional equipment and further increased his output, doubling his revenue.


When the Bay Area owners decided to sell the company, Ryabtsev was ready.  He negotiated a deal in which he traded cabinets for equity, he hired employees and moved into the company’s cabinet factory.  After a few years of long hours producing quality cabinets, he has completed the purchase and now owns the company himself.


In his new factory, the demand for Ryabstev’s products, primarily kitchen cabinets, increased by a great deal.  In order to keep up with the demand he returned to Opening Doors late in 2012 for a third loan for urgently needed materials he needed to successfully keep up with customer demand.


Ryabstev continues providing products for the company’s Bay Area contractor clients, and he is developing additional clientele in Sacramento.  Working with his five employees, he finishes orders within a matter of days.  Still, to keep up with increasing demand he has organized orders based on a waiting list system.  Ryabtsev credits Opening Doors for its role in his accomplishments. “I would never have been able to achieve my success without Opening Doors; the staff has been hugely helpful in providing assistance in addition to the necessary financial loans.” Opening Doors credits the CalCAP program for enabling it to serve greater numbers of Sacramento area microentrepreneurs.