Gateway helps graduate with her business – and she, in turn, helps her community
From a young age, Betsabe Castillo knew she wanted to go to college.
She married shortly after graduating high school, having children soon after that. For the moment, Betsabe’s “super busy” mom life took the place of student life.
That would all change, though, as her children got older and her family started one business and bought another. And Betsabe’s educational goals would end up positively affecting more than just her.
Betsabe’s family started a construction company and needed someone to keep the books. That became her responsibility.
“My training at Gateway helped me with our business,” said Betsabe. “We had bookwork that needed to be done, but we wanted to do it in-house. We didn’t want to have to hire an outside company to do it. I did have some basic knowledge, but the Gateway degree really helped me run the business.”
In addition, Gateway trained her in tax preparation, something she worked at from January through April while her children were in school, opening her schedule to be with her children at home in summer. Eventually, the owner of the business she worked at as a tax preparer wanted to retire and reached out to Betsabe about buying the business.
“We thought it was a good opportunity, a good business move,” says Betsabe.
The Gateway education helped her to confidently take over the business with plans to expand it. “Having my degree helped me not only with my business. It helped me expand too.”
Buying that tax preparation business had a two-fold impact, too, said Betsabe.
“My profession at the service of my community” are the words of Betsabe’s spiritual leader which have motivated her who also encouraged her to obtain her degree and help out the community.
“Most of my clients are Hispanic and many of them don’t know where to begin when they are starting their own business. My Gateway degree has helped me help them – a flooring company, a landscaping business, a barber shop, food trucks – and several others. I’ve been able to help them, and I was able to do that because of Gateway.”
Betsabe said instructors knew the industry and were willing to help out in her education any way possible. Those were two reasons she liked Gateway.
“They were always willing to help out and listen and were very understanding,” said Betsabe. “When you have kids, sometimes things come up that you have no control over, and the instructors are willing to work with you.
“My kids were my priority. Gateway allowed me to take care of my kids and take the classes when I could so I could get my degree, even though it took a little longer than I had first thought.”