Jumping Leaps and Bounds
For Angel Benitez, a third-generation racecar driver, fear was never an option when he buckled his safety harness and placed his hands on the wheel. “The only thing I ever worried about was losing. Racing is all about having a sense of superior confidence, about keeping your focus on winning.” From an early age in Venezuela, following in the footsteps of his grandfather and his father, that’s exactly what Angel did. Angel continued winning races until he earned a sponsorship that brought him across the ocean to Miami at only 18. Despite knowing little English and even fewer people, Angel managed to fight fear with ambition. “I left behind a lot – friends, family, everything I knew, but I was there to follow a dream.”
In Miami, Angel found a desire to create something of his own. If his father and grandfather passed down a sense of fearlessness and confidence, it was his mother and grandmother who cultivated a love of cooking. “I was always in the kitchen, asking what they put into a dish.” Angel began spending his weeks in a rented kitchen space, preparing for a new kind of track.
The Taste of Success
In 2015, Angel opened the doors of Burbowl, a fast-casual restaurant most famous for its concept of a “burger in a bowl.” The restaurant was met with so much success that Angel opened a second location soon after. Angel wanted to continue expanding his business, but he knew he needed extra financial guidance and support to get him there. Angel was referred by his banker to Accion, and the loan Angel received enabled him to take a huge step in growing his business: it helped finance the construction for a third Burbowl location, which will open in Miami Beach in April 2019. Before receiving his loan, Angel had 10 employees and now has 22. With the opening of the third location, Angel plans to employ around 30 individuals. He has also now been able to secure a line of credit.
Angel also prioritizes giving back to the community, making a donation to foundations dedicated to ending world hunger for every burger and bowl sold in his restaurant. As someone who has always been passionate about feeding others, Angel intends to do just that on a much larger scale. “I’m always looking for the best way to help and improve my community.” Now with the opening of his third Burbowl location, Angel might soon be ready to start planning for his next course. “I will always have a small business. When one business goes big, I’m just going to start something new.”