Daniel Mitchell is a US Army Combat Medic veteran, who served our country from 1989 to 1993 in the Persian Gulf and Somalia.
He grew up in nearby Utica, New York where at just age 12 he began working in gyms. At this young age, he knew he wanted to change lives. “I felt I had a purpose in life to enhance our quality of life with exercise. I wanted to release this life force through health, training and discipline, said Mitchell.” As founder and owner of The Soap Box, a health and fitness club located in downtown Buffalo, New York, I knew I had the tools to help change lives but knew I needed additional resources to maintain my business structure and add clients.”
Passionate about his clients and the desire to open a second location, Daniel contacted the Small Business Development Center at Buffalo State College and found William Grieshober, Small Business Advisor. Daniel continued to meet with Bill, working on writing a business plan, managing numbers and marketing strategies. Daniel says, Bill was unbelievable, giving him the resources he needed to sharpen his plan and reach his goal of receiving a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) guaranteed loan for the start and growth of his new business.
Daniel reflected on his banking experience saying, “At the very start of my ambition to start a business, I contacted the Small Business Administration’s Buffalo District Office who directed me to contact my local banking representative. That’s when I met with George Gardner, my local banking representative. George provided me with some great advice and assisted me through the process of opening my first business with and SBA Patriot Express loan.”
Years later the two met again. Daniel was in search of resources to open his second location. Once again he found George who knew Daniel was a veteran who served in the US Army and encouraged him to apply for an SBA guaranteed loan. Daniel was approved and received his SBA loan from the New York Business Development Center and Lake Shore Savings Bank and in 2012 opened The Powerhouse Studios.
To be eligible to receive an SBA Patriot Express Loan, the business must be owned and controlled (51 percent or more) by eligible veterans and members of the military community who want to establish or expand a small business. Eligible military community members include veterans, service-disabled veterans, active-duty service members eligible for the military’s transition assistance program, reservists and National Guard members, current spouses of any of the above, including any service member and widowed spouses of service members or veterans who died during service or of a service-connected disability. To learn more about SBA’s Patriot Express Loan program, please visit http://www.sba.gov/content/express-pilot-programs
Daniel received his SBA loan and his plan to open a second location was complete. Today, The Soap Box and The Powerhouse Studios are a way of life for many, offering a variety of programs and services to improve one’s health and quality of life. “We recognize that every person has their own set of goals and aspirations and that is why we provide personal certified instructors and various other services including martial arts, aikido and tai-chi.
Daniel is proud to see his dreams of changing lives and watching clients get healthy and stay healthy. “The accomplishment of expanding and growing is rewarding,” said Daniel. “I enjoy training and working with my clients.
For more information on SBA’s program and services, please visit www.sba.gov.
In 2009, Michele (Mickie) Muirhead, now 50, decided she wanted to start her own business, launching HireTheHelp.com in Jamestown New York.
HireTheHelp.com offers house cleaning , elderly care, vehicle detail services (pick-up and delivery), and assistance with computers, pet sitting, landscaping, painting, handyman services, snow removal and almost anything you can imagine in Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Warren counties.
Muirhead says she was looking for something different. After rupturing a disk in her back she was physically unable to perform at her cleaning business. So out of a desire to help individuals, and use her degree in social work, Muirhead sought business startup advice from the SBA’s Small Business Development Center at Jamestown Community College.
“Jamestown SBDC Business Advisor Curt Anderson was extremely helpful. He has so much energy and motivation. His entrepreneurial advice and concern for my business helped me to use my years of experience and connection to start a business to finally pursuing my venture.”
After the experience, Muirhead was determined to get the word out about her business and the services she was able to offer. She focused on hiring and interviewing independent contractors, preparing her business plan and launching the only referral service in town.
“I consider myself blessed,” Muirhead said. “At the very conception of HireTheHelp.com I met Mike Montes, a graphic designer, artist and web designer; he saw a budding entrepreneur with a great idea, gave me a multitude of business advice and assisted me in the design of my brochure and logo. The wisdom and confidence he gave me is immeasurable.”
Today, HireThehelp.com is thriving with over 100 contractors providing services to individuals in Jamestown and the surrounding area. Muirhead has returned several of the unemployed back into the workforce.
One in four individuals ages 44 to 70 is interested in becoming an entrepreneur and 63 percent of Americans plan to work during retirement. SBA and AARP joined forces last year to reach out to baby boomers and provide training and mentoring services for older entrepreneurs to start or grow their small businesses and create jobs. To date, the SBA/AARP alliance has reached almost 50,000 current and aspiring 50+ entrepreneurs with counseling and training programs.
As a referral business, Muirhead was experiencing difficulties in obtaining insurance. When she heard about the SBA’s Encore Entrepreneur event in Jamestown, New York, she knew she was ready to reach out again and obtain the business advice needed to keep her business running.
Business advisor Curt Anderson who previously worked with Muirhead came to the rescue once more. “Working with Curt at the SBA and AARP Encore Entrepreneur Event, I was able to develop my contracts and policies with Curt and learned how to provide excellent customer service. The event allowed me to meet with the mentors and resources needed to continue to grow my business.”
Muirhead’s advice to other 50+ year old entrepreneurs is “feed off your passion, your passion is what drives you to completion. Make sure you feel good about what you are doing and that it’s useful to others.” Muirhead is very proud of the difference she makes in people’s lives.
Throughout September, the SBA Buffalo District office will host three Encore Entrepreneur events on September 12 (Canandaigua), 13 (Albion) and 17 (Ontario). For more information on these events, please visit Aarp.cvent.com/NYEntrepreneur.
SBA developed a 50+ toolkit, at www.sba.gov/encore, that includes an online self-assessment and other free online courses targeted at helping encore entrepreneurs start or grow their businesses.
The training courses include profiles of successful entrepreneurs, recommended action steps, and information on licensing and financing. AARP resources can be found at www.aarp.org/startabusiness.
SBA, Small Business Development Center, and Urban League of Rochester help Jamestown engineer grow his business
BUFFALO, NY – For Tolman Engineering, PLLC owner Rex Tolman, success comes with doing things right and doing them right the first time. “We have over a decade of municipal experience but given the Veterans Administration “Veterans First” program have experienced significant growth over the last few years by designing infrastructure improvements at VA Medical Centers,” said Tolman.
Tolman, a service-disabled veteran who started his company in 2002 took an in-depth look into his engineering company and knew he needed help. Although he was receiving a number of Veterans Administration engineering contracts, he needed additional support to build on his collateral and service his clients.
“I attended a seminar hosted by the Small Business Development Center at Jamestown Community College where they spoke about loan opportunities and particularly the Patriot Express loan program for veterans,” he said. “I looked into it and ended up with a no fee $100,000 line of credit with SBA and Five Star Bank.”
Tolman admits the seminar forced him to seek advice and gather additional information from the free resources of the SBA. “The SBA and SBDC at JCC helped me to assess my approach and look closer into the future,” he says. “Knowing where you can turn for help, can really make a difference!”
As his engineering business expanded, Tolman’s need for loan capacity grew. In 2011, Tolman Engineering hired three full-time and one part-time employee with anticipated growth over the next year. Space and additional projects also became an issue and his company began looking to re-locate to a new building or expand the current office.
Tolman secured a second Patriot Express loan through SBA and Five Star that allowed him to fund his new payroll and construction of a 2,000 square foot addition to their Jamestown office in 2012. The additional funding gave Tolman Engineering the ability to acquire additional projects winning 14 in the last three years. Company growth continues to grow from 30% in 2011 to 50% in 2012.
“Strong relationships with SBA and their resource partners are essential in providing small business owners, like Rex, with increased access to capital that they need to create and retain jobs,” said Steve Swanson, Vice President and Commercial Lender, Five Star Bank. “From my initial meeting with Rex, it was evident that he had the passion, knowledge, and support to bring his company to the next level.”
With bigger opportunities on the horizon, Rex decided to participate in the “Small Business Teaming Program” with the Urban League of Rochester. The SBTP provides assistance and guidance to small business owners seeking to compete for larger federal contracts through workshops and one-on-one technical assistance. Participants receive assistance with the formation and execution of teaming arrangements, aid in identifying contracting opportunities, assistance with the preparation and submission of bids, and much more.
Currently in its second program year, the Small Business Teaming Program collaborates with the U.S. Small Business Administration, resource partners, and other federal, state and local government small business development programs to make the Program a great success.
Rex learned to take advantage of the many opportunities SBA and its resource partners had to offer. ”We have grown into a successful business by doing it right the first time,” “You just have to stick to it, nothing is easy!”
“America’s veterans have the leadership skills and experience to become successful entrepreneurs and small business owners,” SBA Buffalo District Director Franklin J. Sciortino said. “As we celebrate Independence Day, we renew our commitment to the millions of veterans and service members across the country. The Patriot Express program puts more capital and more tools in the hands of veterans as they grow their business and create jobs America needs.”
The Patriot Express loans are offered by SBA’s network of participating lenders nationwide and features one of SBA’s fastest turnaround times for loan approvals. PX loans can be used for most business purposes, including start-up, expansion, equipment purchases, working capital, inventory or business-occupied real-estate purchases. For more information, contact your local Buffalo District office at (716) 551-4301 or Rochester Branch office at (716) 263-6700. Details on the PX program are available at www.sba.gov/patriotexpress.