At Amazing Grace Healthcare in Greenville, Cinthia Pineda is on a mission to ensure that everyone has access to a primary care provider that understands their needs and their language.
Pineda, a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner with more than 10 years of experience in the field, opened Amazing Grace Healthcare in early 2023, the first bilingual medical practice clinic in Greenville. For Pineda, working in the healthcare industry opened her eyes up to a major need in her community. “It saddened me to see so many patients without a primary care provider, due to the shortage of providers in the area,” says Pineda. “What drove my desire to open this medical practice was that need that I saw in the community.”
But beyond just the need of access to primary care providers, Pineda saw that there was a huge need in the growing Latino community of Greenville for providers that spoke their language. As Pineda worked to open Amazing Grace Healthcare, she was committed to making it a trusted place for the Latino community to get the care they require in the language they are comfortable speaking.
“For me, providing bilingual health care in this community is crucial,” says Pineda. “With the growing Latino community in this county, there’s a lack of accessible primary care options. Me and my staff being able to speak the language allows us to feel like we have the trust of our patients more. We can provide the healthcare that they need without any barriers in communication, which is vital to their health and trust in us.”
As Pineda set out to start her clinic, she worked with an adviser at the Pitt Community College Small Business Center to develop a business plan and move towards opening Amazing Grace Healthcare. Pineda worked on this plan for over a year, and when the time came to access the financing she needed for the clinic, Pineda was referred by her adviser to Carolina Small Business Development Fund (CSBDF) to bring her one step closer to opening Amazing Grace.
“Aspiring entrepreneurs can find success in North Carolina when the small business ecosystem works together to support them,” says Reggie Jones, Director of Business Solutions at CSBDF. “Our state’s Small Business Centers are a vital resource to potential small business owners, providing technical support and assistance to these entrepreneurs while also helping to connect them to organizations like CSBDF that can provide capital and additional technical support.”
Working with CSBDF Business Solutions Officer Magaly Rivera, Pineda went through the process of building on her existing business plan to become loan ready. Thanks to the time and effort Cinthia put in working with the Small Business Center at Pitt Community College, she was well prepared to continue moving towards small business ownership once connected with CSBDF. “Cinthia’s business plan was incredible,” says Rivera. “Not only did it have the support of the Small Business Center, but it clearly showed her vision and her budding business acumen. It was an honor to be her partner in the process and connect her to the capital she needed to make her dream a reality.”
After working with the CSBDF team to become loan ready, Pineda received financing from CSBDF in August of 2022 that allowed her to open Amazing Grace Healthcare at the beginning of 2023. “Without the loan from CSBDF, I wouldn’t be open right now,” says Pineda. “The loan allowed me to purchase the medical equipment I needed. It helped with the startup cash flow.”
For Pineda, having a trusted business partner was vital in her experience of getting everything together to access capital. “It was a long learning curve for me,” says Pineda. “I know medicine, but I’m no expert in finances. Working with CSBDF was phenomenal from my first phone call with them. They listened to what I needed, wanted, and was looking for. They took me by the hand and taught me in a gradual approach how we were going to get from point A to point B. They were instrumental in establishing my business.”
As Amazing Grace Healthcare establishes itself as a trusted medical partner for its clients in the Greenville region, Pineda is already thinking about how to grow her business and broaden the impact she is already making on her community.
Pineda is hoping to expand her clinic and the accessibility to medical service for the growing Latino community of Greenville. “I want to expand and grow to where I can bring in other providers to help fully meet the needs of the patients,” says Pineda. “When I expand, I will make sure that the staff is bilingual. I want to provide this care in both languages. From the moment they check in until the moment they check out, I want my patients to be able to speak the language they prefer.”
Photos by Matt Ramey