“What’s your vision?” I asked Liliana Ruiz, Managing Director of the Boston School of Modern Languages (BSML), and she responded “allowing the school to celebrate its 100th birthday in 2025.” For 90 years, BSML has changed the lives of thousands of students, most of who arrive to the U.S. without any friends or family and feel handicapped by their inability to communicate. Established in 1925, BSML is an intensive language school teaching English as a second language. Rick Mitchell, Director of Finance and Operations, described the transformation he saw in one of the students: “When one of our students initially arrived, she was the most timid out of her group, after making friends at school and progressing in her courses, she has transformed into one of the most outgoing students.”
Not only does BSML transform lives within its school grounds but it also contributes towards its local community in Roslindale. Sandra Vasquez, Managing Director, said: “When we have visitors, we don’t take them to [chain restaurants], we take them to our local spots.” BSML purchases most of its supplies from local vendors and spends approximately $1.5 million in its community per year.
Like many other businesses, BSML struggled to get a loan from a bank and needed capital quickly to invest in their growth. During the winter of 2014, BSML did not have enough cash to invest in growth as most of its income is generated during the summer. With the help of Camino Financial, BSML was able to get a $52,000 loan within a week to fund its marketing plan and build a student pipeline for the summer. Mr. Mitchell commented: “the process was the most painless experience I’ve had in getting a business loan.”
Today, BSML is on track to financing its growth. Despite its recent success, BSML is wary about growing into a big corporate enterprise and prefers to maintain its ethos as a “special place” that has a “family feeling”. A place where many former students return after many years and still consider it home.