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Venezuelan Financier Finds Better Life in America

WESTPORT, Conn. – Annelisse Chapellin grew up in Caracas, the capital of Venezuela. "The tropics is my climate," she said. So imagine the shock to her system when she moved to Fairfield County in October of 2010, then endured such a cold, snowy winter that it tested the resolve of even hardened lifelong New Englanders. "I wondered what I'd gotten myself into," she joked. "But I figured that must be the worst it can be – if I survived that, I can handle anything." Spring finally arrived, and she and her family found that Fairfield County is an enjoyable place to live.

Chapellin switched hemispheres and climates to manage the Westport office of Venafin Financial , a factoring company located along the banks of the Saugatuck River which provides quick financing to small businesses and contractors in exchange for their accounts receivables. She works with Ricardo Marino, who splits time at the firm's Miami offices. For Chapellin, enduring weather she'd never experienced was worthwhile, since living here has given her back things she enjoyed in her native country.

"I've always enjoyed the American way of seeing and doing things," she said. "It's truly the land of opportunity." As a result of Venezuelan government policies, which include nationalization of many businesses, some Venezuelans feel they have little incentive to work to advance themselves or save. "The inflation rate is 35 percent, even though the government says it's 28, which is still extremely high," she said.

As a result, Venezuelans try to invest in more stable currencies, especially U.S. dollars. Venafin provides them with that opportunity, turning that money around to operate the factoring business in the U.S. It's a setup that benefits everyone involved, even if it does mean putting up with winter for the first time in your life.

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