If you look at Miguel Avila’s resume, you’d see it peppered with experiences in a broad range of industries—marketing, radio, tech, economic development—and when he founded Daily View Pools in 2016, he added construction to the list.
While studying economics at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Avila was exposed to many influential experiences in his entrepreneurial journey. He got involved with Ventureprise, Inc., a campus organization that helps students and faculty turn ideas into business and he got connected to the Charlotte chapter of the Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC). While working with Ventureprise and SBTDC Charlotte, he also had a family dinner with his father, Miguel Senior, and brother Giovanni, who were in construction and working six or seven days a week. “I remember thinking that there has to be a better way to do this, and I said that we should just start a business,” says Avila. “Within a week, we ripped the band-aid off and my dad and brother quit their jobs.”
Avila says that while he didn’t know where to start when it came to launching his business, SBTDC Charlotte helped him through it. “My SBTDC mentor, Penny Godfrey, has been such an amazing person in my life, I consider her family,” says Avila. “She helped me through the whole process of setting up an LLC and understanding prices.” When Daily View Pools opened in 2016, Godfrey was the first client.
That familial aspect is a big part of Daily View Pools. Avila’s father, brothers and sister work for the company. “We care about our family, our employees’ families,” says Avila. “Our slogan is ‘building outdoor spaces that inspire time together.’” Another thing that sets Daily View Pools apart, Avila says, is that they try to insource as much work as possible to control the quality of the project. “We only outsource mechanical and electrical – things that require different licensing. Because of this, we have a lot of experience, so when we go out bidding or estimating, we can forecast problems others may not be aware of.”
While Daily View Pools grew, Avila was finishing his degree and exploring tech. He took internships and attended tech bootcamps, and he also became the first Venture for America fellow from UNC Charlotte. As he nurtured his passion for tech, he began to think of ways he could apply those principles and skills to Daily View Pools.
“I’m thinking of ways we can scale the business in a way that not only addresses the pain points homeowners experience, but also increase the safety and satisfaction of our employees,” says Avila. That’s what led him to seek financing so he could purchase equipment that would increase the company’s service capacity, reduce rental costs, increase revenue per job, and improve the safety of his employees.
“I tried to get a loan from a few different traditional financial institutions, but I was consistently denied,” says Avila. “But no one ever teaches you how to build a credit score or utilize credit to finance equipment or purchases, and it can be difficult to get a loan.” The Latino Business Action Network’s Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative (LBAN) found that the odds of loan approval from national banks are 60% lower for Latino-owned businesses. For immigrants and first-generation college students like Avila, the challenge is even greater.
“Entrepreneurship is an equalizer,” says Avila. “It’s helped many people overcome economic instability, but a lot of times the resources for business development can be out of reach.” Citing LBAN data, Avila mentions that despite the 44 percent growth in Latino-owned businesses in the last 10 years, only 3 percent of Latino businesses reach $1 million in annual revenue. “As a business and as a family, it’s our goal to break that threshold this year.”
Avila ultimately acquired financing for the equipment after attending an AMP Up Charlotte event where a representative from Carolina Small Business Development Fund (CSBDF) was presenting about capital access and Meck Lending, a loan CSBDF offers in partnership with Mecklenburg County that offers favorable business loans and free assistance to business owners in the area. “At the time, no one wanted to touch us, but CSBDF took the risk on us,” says Avila. “CSBDF said yes when everyone else said no.”
CSBDF Director of Business Solutions, Reginold Jones, worked with Avila to secure the financing he needed. “Miguel is tenacious,” says Jones. “He has a very clear vision for what he wants his business to achieve, and he has the dedication and experience to turn those dreams into reality.”
Now that Avila has the equipment he initially sought financing for, his sights are set on what’s next. “I want to continue scaling and improving the business using what I’ve learned in my time in tech, but I also want to be a mentor to other young Latino business owners,” says Avila. “My mentors provided me with great counsel and advice, but they didn’t fully understand the challenges I would face. I hope that other Latino business owners can see themselves in me and that I can be a resource.”