Georgia Small Business Person of the Year 2013
CaraVita - Purpose Driven Organization
Beth Cayce, Georgia Small Business Person of the Year 2013, is the founder and CEO of CaraVita Home Care, a private duty homecare agency serving the Metro Atlanta area since 1998. Beth has spent a lifetime in service of those most in need, dedicating her professional career to seniors in the local community, and building sustainable programs for the less fortunate a world away.
CaraVita has provided in-home personal care services to over 16,000 seniors in the Metro Atlanta area for fifteen years. Offering a unique approach to care, CaraVita utilizes a multi-disciplinary team of healthcare professionals to provide care to seniors in their homes. Cutting edge and innovative, CaraVita also offers a one of a kind Caregiver Academy for family members to learn the necessary homecare skills. The company recently launched the Virtual Dementia Tour®, an experiential “tour” that guides participants through daily life with the symptoms of dementia. The Caregiver Academy and training tours promote awareness and are provided to the community at no cost. Through all of these endeavors, the mission of CaraVita is to help seniors, wherever they are in the caregiving process, to remain as independent in their homes as long as possible.
Cayce’s approach is simple: Provide the very best in care for families and loved ones. To achieve the goal, CaraVita does things a bit differently. Rather than provide a one-time consultation for new clients, CaraVita builds comprehensive and ongoing care plans using a broadly experienced team of healthcare professionals, each with their own expertise to ensure that aging loved ones can age gracefully in place.
Beyond providing in-home care, Beth notes that “CaraVita is a community business; we help families stay together, moms and dads to remain at home, and children of aging loved ones to rest easy. We do everything we can to make our expertise available to the community, beyond providing care itself.” The company showcases the area’s only, state of the art, “smart house,” a home equipped with a breadth of technology and equipment that allows seniors to remain independent longer.
Back in 1998, CaraVita began with three full-time employees and ten independent contractors. In the interim, the company has converted contractors to employees and now has nearly 200 per diem and full-time employees.
“We’ve recently received a number of wonderful honors for our service to seniors, which is so great, because we are still essentially a small business,” said Cayce. “We rely on community, word of mouth, and reputation to keep our doors open, and provide the servant leadership that our clients need. The Georgia Small Business Person of the Year award has been a tremendous honor, and I’m grateful for the Small Business Administration’s dedication to companies like mine. The SBA is a wonderful resource for businesses, a place to connect with likeminded organizations and business leaders.”
CaraVita was licensed by the state of Georgia in 2012 to maintain an on-site Certified Nursing Assistant School for the training of professional nursing assistants. The school serves as a training facility for CaraVita’s staff, as well as other nursing assistants, in meeting their professional development requirements.
Like most small businesses, CaraVita was adversely impacted by the recent recession. Under Beth’s leadership, she decisively reduced management salaries but not those of the therapists, decided against rate increases, and implemented technological changes to improve efficiencies. The result was a leaner post-recession company poised for growth.
In addition to leading the way as a woman in business entrepreneur, Beth also understands what it means to serve. She is a firm believer in giving back to the local community where she has served as president and currently serving on the board of the Georgia Assisted Living Federation (Georgia-ALFA). In addition, she is the founder of “Care to Learn,” chairman of the Global Missions Committee at Roswell United Methodist Church, and provides services through CaraVita to Second Wind’s Dream Virtual Dementia program.
Beth is the chairman of Georgia-ALFA legislative and regulatory committee and as such was instrumental in helping to pass Georgia’s Aging in Place and Proxy Caregiver legislation, allowing certain health maintenance and medication administration functions to be provided by certified nursing assistants and reducing the cost of care to families.
There are few people in the world like Beth Cayce. She has built a leading homecare agency in the Atlanta area. Every day, scores of seniors rely to Beth and her team to provide the loving service that keeps them happy, healthy and at home. “Beth runs a purpose-driven organization, one that passionately sees to the needs of people who require in-home care. And she owns a profitable business where profits happen to take a back seat to purpose,” Ted Beveridge, Business Consultant, Georgia State University, Small Business Development Center.
Beth is more than a healthcare leader, more than a CEO, more than the mother of two. She is a global change agent; a leader whose lasting impact both at home and abroad touches the lives of a countless many.
By Mark D. Gibson
U.S. Small Business Administration
Georgia District Public Affairs
Drive and determination are not only key contributing factors to being successful in the military, they are essential to the success of AGC Training Center, in Augusta, Georgia. Bobbie and Herman Lee, military veteran husband and wife team, understand what it means to serve. As veterans, they developed leadership skills to encourage and empower their clients and customers to excel while keeping a sense of serving the community as their priority. AGC provides services to licensed childcare programs for children from birth to age twelve, elementary schools, and registered family childcare programs in a four state region. Bobbie and Herman teamed with their local SBA Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to get where they are today.
"The SBA has been instrumental in keeping my team and me abreast to what's going on in the world as it relates to small business. The SBA is our go to source for factual, relevant, and current information on growing your small business, doing business with the government, certifications, and a lot more." Said Bobbi. "Initially, we met with Susan Caldwell, Area Director, SBDC to discuss our needs and plans and she referred us to her colleague Jonathan Bohn. Once Jonathan came on board he was instrumental in helping us prioritize what AGC's strategy was going to be going forward. With his help we were able to complete a business plan in less than five months."
The SBDCs mission is to build, sustain, and promote small business development and enhance local economies by creating businesses and jobs. The SBDC program, vital to the SBA’s entrepreneurial outreach, has been providing service to small businesses for more than 30 years. It is one of the largest professional small business management and technical assistance networks in the nation. With more than 900 locations across the country, SBDCs offer free one-on-one expert business advice and low-cost training by qualified small business professionals to existing and future entrepreneurs.
Bobbie Lee (AGC Owner), Susan Caldwell (SBDC), David Perry, & Terri Denison (SBA).
Photo by: Mark D. Gibson
"Seeing the Lees’ achieve success is not a surprise. From our initial conversation, it was apparent Bobbie and Herman were serious about their business and knew it well, but also not hesitant to seek assistance when treading in unfamiliar waters. When the Lees first came to the SBDC, they planned to purchase an existing school supplies business. After working with the SBDC and conducting their due diligence, they chose, instead, to start their own retail store from scratch. Although starting from scratch was a risky strategy, the center’s success is evidence the Lees made a wise choice.
After several failed attempts to find a suitable retail location, the Lees identified and secured a prime location, purchased fixtures from two closing Blockbusters, and were ready to start purchasing inventory and hiring two new employees. In January 2012, AGC acquired the necessary funding to expand operations through Queensboro Bank, an SBA preferred lender, through the 7(a) program.
The 7(a) Loan Program is SBA’s primary program to help start-up and existing small businesses obtain financing when they might not be eligible for business loans through normal lending channels. The name comes from section 7(a) of the Small Business Act, which authorizes SBA to provide business loans to American small businesses. SBA itself does not make loans, but rather guarantees a portion of loans made and administered by commercial lending institutions.
7(a) loans are the most basic and most commonly used type of loans. They are also the most flexible, since financing can be guaranteed for a variety of general business purposes, including working capital, machinery and equipment, furniture and fixtures, land and building (including purchase, renovation and new construction), leasehold improvements, and debt refinancing (under special conditions). Loan maturity is up to 10 years for working capital and generally up to 25 years for fixed assets.
Most banks participate in the program, as do some non-bank lenders, which expands the availability of loans. Participating lenders agree to structure loans according to SBA's requirements, and apply and receive a guaranty from SBA on a portion of this loan. The SBA does not fully guarantee 7(a) loans—the lender and SBA share the risk that a borrower will not be able to repay the loan in full. The guaranty is against payment default; it does not cover imprudent decisions by the lender or misrepresentation by the borrower.
Team Lee recognized several opportunities for growth, including that of selling educational products to its clients. As AGC achieved success in its goal to train and provide consulting services to educators, the Lees recognized the opportunity to expand the business. Based on market research, they realized parents and educators alike were looking for a one-stop-shop to receive training, buy school supplies and have resources available to them, all in one location. The Lees’ goal was for AGC to become like a "Barnes and Noble" for teachers and parents as well.
By Mark D. Gibson
U.S. Small Business Administration
Georgia District Public Affairs
The 50 stars on the flag represent more than just the 50 States of the United States of America. The star also represents a standard of excellence that transcends to Star One Supplies located in Augusta, Georgia. Rufus Burdette, Star One’s owner, is no stranger to living a life of standards dedicated to excellence as a retired Army Sergeant Major with over 28 years of honorable service. "Star One signifies the level of dedication our company has to the community, our customers and a constant reminder of the spirit of entrepreneurism." Said Morgan Burdette, Rufus’ son & General Manager Star One Supplies.
As co-owner of Greene & Burdette Property management in Waynesboro Georgia, Rufus quickly recognized challenges and shortfalls surrounding the procurement of supplies for the business, and the idea of Star One Supplies to meet those challenges was born.
During the 2009 economic downturn, when many construction and building and supply companies were struggling, Rufus opened the only minority-owned building supply store in the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA). By July 2010, Star One Supplies had outgrown its leased space and plans were quickly underway to construct their own building.
During the initial planning phase for his business Rufus sought out assistance within the business community at the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), 1450 Greene St, Augusta, GA 30901. The SBDCs provide a wide array of technical assistance to small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs supporting business performance and sustainability and enhancing the creation of new businesses entities. These small businesses in turn foster local and regional economic development through job creation and retention as a result of the extensive one-on-one long-term counseling, training and specialized services they receive from the SBDCs. The SBDCs are made up of a unique collaboration of SBA, state and local governments, and private sector funding resources.
SBDCs provide services such as development of business plans, manufacturing assistance, financial packages, and procurement contracts. Based on client needs and local business trends and individual business requirements, SBDCs modify their services to meet the evolving needs of the small business community in which they are situated.
Susan Caldwell, SBDC Area Director, recalls "early on in our work together, I complimented Rufus on his business success, noting some of the challenges I knew he had faced along the way. Rufus modestly commented that he never allowed hurdles to become obstacles or excuses for not moving forward and reaching his goal. The steadfastness Rufus displayed as we worked together to develop his business plan and pro forma paid off when he received an SBA 504 loan and was able to construct Star One’s new building in its current location. In my opinion, Rufus sets an excellent example for small business owners by demonstrating what is possible with dedication and hard work."
Rufus Burdette, Susan Caldwell, SBDC & Terri Denison, SBA
Photo by: Mark D. Gibson
"I understand what it means to have the right tools to build a building or complete a project that is why I went to the SBA. If you are willing to put in the work and effort the SBDC and SBA offer free services to help you. I was able to secure the necessary capital through the 504 loan program to construct my new building," said Burdette.
The 504 loan program is a long-term financing tool for economic development within a community. The 504 Program provides small businesses requiring "brick and mortar" financing with long-term, fixed-rate financing to acquire major fixed assets for expansion or modernization. A Certified Development Company (CDC) is a private, nonprofit corporation set up to contribute to the economic development of its community. CDCs work with SBA and private sector lenders to provide financing to small businesses.
"Being in a military community like Augusta with Fort Gordon and the Army Signal Center, we have a number of military veterans who choose to stay in Augusta after retirement from active duty. Star One was unique. Sergeant Major Burdette had a vibrant contracting business before his retirement and his ability to have his own building supply store was a natural complement to that. The location in South Augusta will not only support his business, but the contractors and industries near Star One who prior to this had a lengthy drive to get even basic supplies. He has a unique niche business by location and by the fact he can now not only supply his company at discounted prices, but other contractors. We are grateful Queensborough National Bank and Trust, one of our best lending partners, introduced us to Sergeant Major Burdette." Randy Griffin, President, CSRA Business Lending, Augusta, Georgia.
Today, Star One’s operations are conducted in a 12,000 sq. ft. building that provides Augusta and surrounding communities with a one-stop shopping experience for its professional contractors customer base by offering a variety of products from raw materials, hardware, flooring, and office supplies. Star One Supplies offers everything necessary with a competitive edge for new construction, remodeling, or the do it yourself projects.