Intuit is dedicated to powering prosperity around the world. That’s why we have partnered with the international nonprofit, Kiva, whose microloans have helped 2.7 million entrepreneurs and small businesses worldwide. Together, Intuit and Kiva are powering prosperity through giving everyone the opportunity to succeed.
We spoke to one of Intuit’s Kiva entrepreneurs, Ashley Stevenson, owner of Foodie Foot Tours, to learn more about her journey and how Kiva has impacted her small business.
Intuit: What is Foodie Foot Tours?
Ashley: Four years ago, I started Foodie Foot Tours, a walking food tour experience available in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. We take small groups into locally-owned restaurants where the participants can sample items from restaurant’s menu, learn the history of the restaurant and neighborhood, as well as explore the area on foot. We also offer private tours for groups and bespoke event planning for special occasions.
We are currently the only food tour business operating in the state of Oklahoma. We’re taking the tired idea of a walking tour and making it unique by adding food into the mix.
Intuit: How did you come up with the idea for Foodie Foot Tours?
Ashley: When I moved to Oklahoma City in 2012, I learned my way around by going to the different districts and restaurants in the city. I eventually visited so many restaurants, I became a local expert. I love trying several places in one outing, so thought others would enjoy that too! Oklahoma has great local dining options and I felt it needed to be showcased.
Intuit: Why do small businesses matter in your community?
Ashley: Local businesses promote spending money within the community versus shopping at big, name brand store – it’s the old school concept of spending your money where you live. If we can keep the people in the community employed locally and keep their businesses thriving, we will see growth.
Intuit: How does your business give back to your community?
Ashley: Foodie Foot Tours only works with locally-owned restaurants on its tours, no national chains. Whenever I have to plan for an event I exclusively partner with local businesses. I like to think I’m helping the self-employed or a small business grow when we work together on events or during my tours.
Intuit: How do you keep your business finances organized?
Ashley: I use TurboTax and Mint to keep my business organized. TurboTax keeps me aware of my finances, preventing me from inaccuracies that cause unnecessary stresses, like being audited by the IRS. Mint helps me stay accountable and reach the goals I set for myself. My personal finances have improved tremendously, which in turn improved my business’s finances.
Intuit: What has it been like working with Kiva?
Ashley: My experience with Kiva is like a whirlwind romance. I thought it would have taken me months to complete the process, yet it took only one month for me to apply, get setup, and get funded. They’ve made it very easy to start repaying my loan as well. The idea of expanding my business was never an attainable thought and when the idea was presented, money was the first hurdle that came to mind. Kiva has been a true resource, giving me a chance to expand my business and a piece of hope I didn’t have before.
Intuit: What does this partnership with Kiva mean to you?
Ashley: This partnership means I can focus on putting work into my business and not worry about affording to do so. I’m one step closer to being my own boss and I can now share the journey of entrepreneurship with others as I grow.
Intuit: What advice do you have for female entrepreneurs starting their own business?
Ashley: Don’t be afraid to start. Starting is half the battle – so many people have ideas and never act on them. Once you make the decision to do something, and your heart is fully in it, the rest will start to fall into place. Not everyday is easy but you find the small wins in everything you do. Women tend to feel like they have to have the world on their shoulders, always thinking of others first, but sometimes you have to focus on yourself in order to accomplish your dreams.