Owner becomes advocate for local Community First Fund Women’s Business Center
When Cinthia Kettering moved to the United States from Ecuador with her husband Paul at 22 years old, she immediately went straight into entrepreneurship. Originally educated in law in Ecuador, Kettering created the company that has become the Bagnall Shaw Company, the insurance brokerage company where she serves as the President of Operations and Principal.
Kettering first began her relationship with SBA more than five years ago through SBA’s resource partner, when she met Miriam Soto Director of Training and Business Lender and Counselor at the Community First Fund Women’s Business Center
“As a successful and community minded business owner in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Cinthia is known in the local community as a person who will assist others in all areas, whether it is to translate and explain a letter received in the mail, finding a business that can provide the right service, teaching entrepreneurial skills or serving on the board of several community development organizations,” said Soto.
The Women’s Business Center at Community First Fund provides training, customized business counseling, loan capital, and advocacy support to small business enterprises. The goal of the Center is to develop more knowledgeable, better prepared business owners through these services and outside resources.
Kettering learned about the mission and goals of the Women’s Business Center at Community First Fund and worked with Soto to develop ideas to expand her business into new markets and with new products. Eventually, Kettering became an advocate for Community First Fund and its Women’s Business Center, even referring her own clients to the SBA resource partner and certified SBA lender.
“Cinthia provides a wonderful example of how to pair leveraging SBA programs and resource partners into business success as well as how that success can serve not just as an example but also to support community involvement,” said Philadelphia District Director David Dickson.
“When I found out Community First Fund existed and learned of their products, services and the mission of WBC I was beyond excited, I said to myself: finally there is an organization that will help to grow our economy with out-of-the-box thinking. Working with Miriam, Dan and their whole team has been extraordinary. Their knowledge, professionalism and the way they treat their clients and peers has exceeded my expectations. I will definitely continue working with them and referring as many customers as I can,” said Cinthia Kettering.
In 2012, Kettering’s husband was looking for help to fund projects for his construction company, Monster Construction, LLC. One of the missions of Monster Construction, LLC is to refurbish residential homes in the city of Lancaster. This fits nicely with Community First Fund’s mission, which includes housing and community development in the areas it serves. With their similar missions in mind, the Ketterings turned to Community First Fund and the Women’s Business Center for support in order to receive a small business loan. The loan was used to help boost working capital as different construction projects were under way.
Monster Construction, LLC has now rehabilitated many residential homes in low-income areas around the Lancaster community and has helped in the overall development of those areas.
“Cinthia is not only a savvy business owner but she has also become a community leader. The Women’s Business Center at Community First Fund is proud to be able to call Cinthia a client and looks forward to her continued success,” said Community First Fund CEO Daniel Betancourt.
SBA's Minority Small Business Person of the Year for Eastern Penn. leverages SBA 8(a) program to grow
The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Philadelphia District 2012 Minority Small Business Person of the Year, Markant Corporation Chief Executive Officer Ivelisse Alemany at U.S. Small Business Administration's Small Business Week Celebration from District Director David Dickson.
The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Philadelphia District 2012 Minority Small Business Person of the Year, Markant Corporation Chief Executive Officer Ivelisse Alemany, has leveraged SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program to help her 8(a), woman owned, small disadvantaged business successfully overcome challenges and promote its products.
"SBA knows that business ownership is one path for women to find greater economic independence. According to the National Women's Business Council, women-owned firms grew 44% from 1997 to 2007, twice as fast as male-owned firms. There are 7.8 million women-owned businesses in the US and 88% of these are small businesses," said SBA Regional Administrator Natalia Olson-Urtecho.
Markant Corporation is focused on niche professional service disciplines with technical expertise that includes the fields of internet security, computer systems integration, program management, database application development and worldwide web based application service programs.
Markant also provides professional consulting services focusing on logistical and professional business support disciplines. These areas include: financial and accounting services, audits, budgeting, risk assessment and mitigation services, management and strategy consulting, studies, analyses, scenario planning, coaching services, regulatory development and review, policy development, value management, reporting and documentation, and monitoring and measurement.
“Markant Corporation continues to dispel the stereotype that all small businesses present risks to our customers. Many people make the assumption that just because we don’t have a large corporate staff, that our company is comprised of only a handful of people and we’re met with disbelief that the CEO is actually involved in the day-to-day operations of the company… and not just sitting on a beach somewhere,” said Alemany.
“Our business is guided by a list of principles known as ‘The Markant Way.’ The culture at Markant reinforces that success is only sweet when done right and that a loss with integrity and our customer’s interests in mind is better than a win without it,” said Markant Chief Financial Officer Carl Hintz. Hintz says that just as “Markant remains committed to serving as a role model for the minority community, regardless of whether that results in employment opportunities,” the company is also committed to equal opportunity. “We are committed to providing our customers with the best possible candidates regardless of background.”
“We pride ourselves on the fact that both owners perform all tasks related to the day-to-day running of the company. Our success hinges on the work and effort that Carl and I put in consistently on a day-to-day basis and that the success of our company will not come simply by having an 8a certification,” said Alemany.
As SBA’s Eastern Pennsylvania Minority Small Business Person(s) of the Year award winner, Alemany was selected from among nominees located across Pennsylvania’s eastern 40 counties. The awards are presented at the annual “SBA Day at the Ballpark” event, a local observance of the annual Presidentially-designated National Small Business Week which recognizes the small business community’s contribution to the American economy.
The U.S. Small Business Administration is an independent federal agency, created in 1953, to assist small businesses to start, grow, and prosper. SBA provides financial assistance by: (1) making loans to help families and businesses recover from national disasters and; (2) providing loan guarantees to commercial financial institutions for working capital via 7(a) program loans, buildings/land/equipment via 504 loans through the Certified Development Corporations, and for exports.
The SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program is a business assistance program for small disadvantaged businesses that offers a broad scope of assistance to firms that are owned and controlled at least 51% by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.
An essential instrument for helping socially and economically disadvantaged entrepreneurs gain access to the economic mainstream of American society, the 8(a) program helps thousands of aspiring entrepreneurs to gain a foothold in government contracting, the overall program goal is to graduate 8(a) firms that will go on to thrive in a competitive business environment.
8(a) program participants may also take advantage of specialized business training, counseling, marketing assistance, and high-level executive development provided by the SBA and our resource partners. You can also be eligible for assistance in obtaining access to surplus government property and supplies, SBA-guaranteed loans, and bonding assistance for being involved in the program.
Through its resource partners, SBA also offers a variety of business development programs and services such as training, government contracting and export assistance. SBA resource partners include Small Businesses Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers, and SCORE (Counselors to America’s Small Businesses). For information on all of SBA’s programs and services, visit the SBA’s Philadelphia District Office web site at www.sba.gov/pa or call (610) 382-3062.
SBA’s Eastern Pa. 2013 Small Business Person of the Year Uses SBA Programs, Resource Partners to Help Achieve Success
G.S. Madison, LLC turns to SBA and its resource partner Kutztown Univ. Small Business Development Center’s Jump Start Incubator
David Mark Wise, II, president of G.S. Madison, LLC, of Wyomissing, Pa. and U.S. SBA District Director David Dickson
The U.S. Small Business Administration’ Eastern Pennsylvania Small Business Person of the Year, David Mark Wise, II, president of G.S. Madison, LLC, of Wyomissing, Pa. always wanted to grow up to be an entrepreneur like his father. With the use of SBA guaranteed loans and assistance from the Kutztown University Small Business Development Center, Wise is achieving his small business goals.
At just 33 years old, Wise was already a seasoned entrepreneur, having owned several successful businesses. In 2006, he created G.S. Madison, LLC and purchased his first 1-800-GOT JUNK? franchise through a combination of personal financing and a $100,000 SBA-guaranteed loan. His companies have seen increased revenue and have grown from four full-time employees to 18 full-time and 10 part-time employees.
Wise’s 1-800-GOT-JUNK? franchise helps residents and businesses remove junk and regain space. Whether it’s a pile of household items in the garage or a massive construction site, they remove it and dispose of it responsibly while Boxaroo, LLC, delivers and picks up rented durable plastic boxes to make moving faster, easier, safer, and more environmentally friendly.
“Kutztown University SBDC became involved with David when he joined the Jump Start Incubator and began the process of establishing his new business, Boxaroo, LLC,” said Ernie Post, director of Kutztown University Small Business Development Center. “Though an experienced entrepreneur, David still faced the usual challenges of starting a brand for scratch.”
Wise and his business are no strangers to overcoming challenges and helping the community in times of need and he is always looking to give back to the community, said Post. “He has helped Soles 4 Souls, the March of Dimes, Reading Earth Day and he’s helping to get young people interested in entrepreneurship – like his dad did for him.”
“One of the most impactful challenges for the company was the flood of 2011. We deployed as many trucks and personnel as possible to help all the folks in the area who were devastated by the flood waters,” said Wise. “The team worked tirelessly, motivated by the fact that we were helping folks who absolutely needed the company’s service and could not begin to get it done themselves. As a result, the company ended up increasing sales by nearly 50% from the previous year.”
“We at the SBA are very pleased to commend David on his success and his commitment to the community,” said U.S. Small Business Administration’s Philadelphia District David Dickson. “We’re also proud of the work our resource partners, like Kutztown SBDC and the Jump Start Incubator, do to help small business and to help SBA achieve our mission to help small businesses start, grow and succeed.”
SBA’s Eastern Pennsylvania Small Business Person of the Year award winner is selected annually from among nominees located across Pennsylvania’s eastern 40 counties. These events are local observances of the annual Presidentially-designated National Small Business Week, which recognizes the small business community’s contribution to the American economy.