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Abisay Puentes is a painter originally from Cuba who wanted to create and exhibit his art in Syracuse, but needed the funds to purchase materials. After being referred to Cooperative Federal by some of his friends, Abisay applied to the Step Up Loan Fund, designed to help self-employed persons, emerging entrepreneurs, and job seekers step up their income potential. The loan allowed Abisay to expand his art portfolio and be part of several exhibitions in Syracuse, including the TONY 2012 show sponsored by the Everson Museum. He and his wife were also able to begin building their credit in order to achieve future financial goals.