We had the good fortune of connecting with Ornella Yovo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ornella, how does your business help the community?
Historically, black and brown businesses have been disadvantaged, not only when it comes to funding but also the resources and knowledge necessary to take their businesses to the next level. I often meet too many entrepreneurs who do not understand their business finances, profitability and struggle with the “numbers” side of things. My offerings support business owners and entrepreneurs by helping them make informed decisions based on math and logic.
Throughout the pandemic, I have helped my clients secure over 1 Million dollars in funding which has very well been the difference between some of them being able to keep their businesses alive and open and having to close permanently.
I encourage and empower my clients to understand their finances, organize their books and put them in the best position to secure financing from rigorous institutions.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
My business was born out of failure. I opened a restaurant in January 2020, right before the pandemic hit and by April, I realized I needed to make the big decision as to whether I was going to stay open or not.
I’ve always been a numbers and math person so I made my decision the best way I knew how; with a spreadsheet. After charting out my future revenues and returns on that sheet, I decided it made the most financial sense for me to close the restaurant.
Upon closing, I knew I needed to pivot and shifted my energy towards helping other entrepreneurs in the same situation as me navigate closing their businesses, applying for the various loan programs available and most importantly understand their business finances. Taking my years of corporate finance and wealth management experience, O-Squared was born and have served over 100 small business owners throughout the country.
We offer a comprehensive outsource CFO service which encompasses bookkeeping, financial projection and modeling, financing support and business coaching. I am excited to say to date we have helped over 50 businesses secure $1M+ in funding throughout the pandemic!
While this was not an easy year for me (and i’m sure for most), it has taught me the importance of resilience and being able to pivot when need be. Often times we get stuck in what we are currently doing and think it is the only way but it is not. The most abundant version of yourself is waiting for you within the pivot.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m from Newark, NJ which is close enough to NYC so you have a lot to do!
The METropolitan Museum of Art
The Brooklyn Museum
The Whitney Museum
Outdoor things to do:
Brooklyn Bridge Park
Shakespeare in the Park (Central Park – covid permitting)
Walk through NYC
South Mountain Reservation
Harriman State Park
FOOD: New York and NJ have NO shortage of food. It’s a bit overwhelming at times
Nene’s Deli Taqueria (small place but their tacos and burritos are to die for)
Brooklyn ChopHouse (Modern Asian, black-owned)
Bubby’s (American, Brunch)
Mon Berger African Restaurant
Urban Griddle (Breakfast, brunch)
Washington Ave – Hoboken. (restaurants galore)
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
The Financial Gym:
As a trainer here, I have had the opportunity to work with countless clients and help them change their financial pictures. Little did I know, working with so many people and learning from their financial mistakes has really helped me to shape my own offerings and understand personal finance in a completely different way.
I am also beyond proud of the company and the stance we take on financial literacy and helping to close the racial wage gap.