“I knew in my heart it was a no brainer. The reality hit after I told my husband, which he was not surprised.”
That was Stephanie Ferguson’s reaction when she found herself purchasing a building that belonged to East Haven halfway house in St. Cloud, Minnesota, where she worked as the director.
Then came 2020 and the pandemic closed the doors of East Haven.
“I was like, ‘I’m going to start my own.’ There was no confusion. We both had the same feeling,” said Stephanie about starting a new center with her husband Ron Ferguson.
The Fergusons opened Momentum Center, a low intensity residential treatment program, in August 2021 with the support of Entrepreneur Fund loans and advising. They have since served over 80 clients. Residents, males ages 18-89, stay an average of 90 days and work on securing a job, finding housing, attending school, and going to recovery programs.
“Really, you’re building your silver network so that when you do leave, you have supports outside of here,” said Stephanie, who has a degree in criminal justice and is working on becoming a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor. “It takes a support system in recovery, and you are moving forward together with someone, and I firmly believe that’s what we’re doing here at Momentum Center.”
What inspired you to start Momentum Center?
“This is where my heart beats, and it’s really the core of who I am, is helping and serving others. Being an integral part of someone’s life is a huge responsibility, one that I don’t take lightly, and want to do my very best. My husband, Ron, he carries the same feelings and thoughts behind it. And so, he was all on board. We care about people and where they’re headed in life and just want to help them on their journey.”
What impact do facilities and programs like Momentum Center have on their community?
“Historically, if programs like myself are not here, addiction can get out of control, and can get out of control really fast. Individuals will lose their housing. They lose their jobs. Their family relationships are really stressed, if not severed. There’s just a lot of devastation that can come with addiction. And being an available option means that someone has a longer period of time to gain their sobriety, to work on setting up what recovery looks like.”
What has it been like working with the EFund team over the past few years?
“Sandy (Voigt) has been there with me throughout my whole entire journey. I mean, she’s seen the tears, she’s seen the joy, and I’m so thankful.
“I always feel like if I say something, it’s this immediate transaction where I’m getting an answer. And in that answer might be, ‘Hey, we have someone that is great with that. Let me connect you with them.’ And so, I’ve gotten to work with some really great people in connection with that, whether it be marketing, doing the EOS system, HR questions, just the vast array of assistance for me, has helped support me.
“The support from Entrepreneur Fund on my worst day, as has kept me lifted to continue moving forward because opening up a small business is no small feat.”
What EFund service or program have you found most helpful?
“Something that I’ve really appreciated is the SOAR round table. The mastermind groups (link) are so valuable, I cannot say it enough. I look forward to meeting with my group every month. It’s something that I need. As a business owner, it offers me support with other women who are doing the thing. And it’s hard work. And just being able to have a safe space to be able to share and to vent about whatever’s going on, whether it’s personal or business, is powerful. And I always leave uplifted, and ready to go back at it again. And you need that because the road can get really long.”
You have plans of opening an additional center for women and children. How has EFund helped shape the way you think about expansion?
“The knowing that you’re supported, makes it so much easier to allow yourself to dream. Not only have I’ve been told by Entrepreneur Fund that they would be on board with assisting me and helping me, but I feel it. I mean, their actions have shown that they believe in what I do. They believe in the mission and in me, and that feels good. It feels good to have others that see the value in what you’re doing and that they want to come alongside you. And that’s what I feel the Entrepreneur Fund has done for me. And it allows me to continue to dream, which I will do. I have other dreams, too. I’m not sure that I’m ready to really disclose them. But Sandy (EFund business advisor) knows about them and that’s what’s most important.”
At the Entrepreneur Fund, impact is our motivator. Whether that’s the impact we seek to have on entrepreneurs or the impact those entrepreneurs have on their communities. We are here to be of service to small business owners like Stephanie and Ron who are committed to the greater good and are making their community a better place to live, work and play.