Mr. Nathan Hines, a long time resident of the Martinsville/Henry County area, has had a life long desire, one which is shared by so many Americans. Having been in the funeral profession for most of his life, his greatest ambition was to manage, and ultimately be the owner of his own funeral home. With the devotion and support of his caring wife (Claudia), Nathan decided that the timing was right to move forward with his dream but also realized that he needed help. His first step was to complete a business plan, a plan which was first conceived many years ago. With the help of the Longwood University Small Business Development Center in Martinsville, the Small Business Administration and the determination and drive to see his dream complete, he assembled a board of directors and investors to set out and establish a full service funeral home that truly cared for the families needs not only before but and after the funeral as well. In the face of adversity and the numerous nay-sayers who said he couldn’t pull it together, Nathan refused to take "no" for an answer, not even after having been turned down by several banks. Nathan spent most of his life were right here in the Martinsville area building up a vast array of knowledge, skills, and friends and was determined to make it his dream become a reality. After having worked for a number of years as a funeral director for Hairston Funeral Home, the largest black funeral home in the area, Mr. Hines began his quest of starting his own funeral home in early 1999 and contacted the Longwood University Small Business Development Center for assistance. With the help of the SBDC, Nathan was able to finally complete his business plan by mid August of that year and begin the undertaking of finding a bank to finance his project and to bring his dream into reality. With the continued support of the Longwood SBDC, Nathans’ dream was one step closer to realization. He was able to pull together enough equity investment with some partners so secure a government guaranteed loan under the SBA 7(a) loan guarantee program. While many bank are often reluctant to provide start-up businesses with financing that did not stop Bank of America. With the guaranty from the SBA, Bank of America closed on a loan for over $200,000 for the real estate necessary to capitalize his new business on September 26, 2000.
After having purchased the real estate, Nathan’s work was not done. On the contrary it was just beginning. He continued to work hard with the support of family and friends to build out the property and market the business, and finally start his business on January 1, 2001. As with most new businesses, Hines Funeral Services was not an overnight success. Because Mr. Hines had a well thought out business plan prepared with the assistance of the Longwood Small Business Development Center, and adequate financing to keep the business going until it became profitable.
Mr. Hines extensive knowledge of his industry, coupled with his management skills and dedication and familiarity with the Martinsville/Henry County area and a lot of hard work, he brought the business into profitability by 2005. Today, the business is the largest black funeral home in the area. Mr. Hines is currently looking forward to expanding his business
and would like to add an addition to the facilities which will enable him to grow the business even larger.
Mr. Hines has become one of the most successful minority businesses in our area, largely because of the partnership of the SBA and the Longwood Small Business Development Center. Mr. Hines is a shining example of how hard work and dedication with the support of family and friends and resource partners such as the Longwood SBDC and the SBA, “you
realize that dreams really do come true.” Dick Ephgrave, the Director of the Longwood University SBDC office in Martinsville said of Mr. Hines: “Nathan is a pleasure to work with because of his entrepreneurial spirit and his commitment to his clients and their needs. We are very proud of Nathan, and he is an outstanding example of how small business can succeed in Martinsville and Henry County.”
James B. Hart, President of Arriba Corporation of Norfolk, Va. has been selected the 2006 Minority Small Business Person of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Richmond District Office.
SBA Richmond District Director Ronald Bew presented the award to Hart on October 12 at the SBA’s MEDWeek luncheon held in conjunction with the National Association of Government Contractor’s (NACGBE) 2006 Industry Day at the Peninsula Workforce Development Center in Hampton, Va. MED Week is a national celebration recognizing contributions of minority business to the nation’s economy.
“Jim Hart is an excellent example of someone who has pursued the American dream through entrepreneurship,” said Ron Bew, District director of the Richmond office. “The success of
Arriba Corporation demonstrates what happens when strategy, hard work, and commitment come together.”
Hart, a Hispanic American and service-disabled veteran, started Arriba Corporation in 1998 to provide construction and engineering services with only two employees and one contract. It wasn’t long before, true to its name (Arriba is “up” in Spanish); the firm began its ascent in the construction industry, specializing in security related construction. Now employing 25 people with revenues exceeding $16 million, Hart has exceeded his goal stated in the firm’s original business plan: “By 2008, Arriba will experience 100 percent growth and have established a reputable presence in the competitive marketplace.”
Arriba Corporation is a participant in SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program.
The 8(a) Business Development Program is an essential instrument for helping socially and economically disadvantaged entrepreneurs gain access to the economic mainstream of American society. SBA has helped thousands of aspiring entrepreneurs over the years to gain a foothold in government contracting. Participation is divided into two phases over nine years: a four-year developmental stage and a five- year transition stage.
Participants can receive sole-source contracts, up to a ceiling of $3 million for goods and services and $5 million for manufacturing. While SBA helps 8(a) firms build the ir competitive and institutional know- how, the agency also encourages them to participate in competitive acquisitions.
To qualify for program certification, a small business must be owned and controlled by a socially and economically disadvantaged person. Under the Small Business Act, certain presumed groups include African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Pacific Americans, Native Americans, and Subcontinent Asian Americans. New rules make it easier for non- minority firms to participate by proving the ir social disadvantage.
Since its founding more than a half-century ago, the U.S. Small Business Administration has delivered about 24 million loans, loan guarantees, contracts, counseling sessions and other forms of assistance to small businesses. In the Small Business Act of July 30, 1953, Congress created the U.S. Small Business Administration, whose function is to "aid, counsel, assist, and protect, insofar as is possible, the interests of small business concerns."
The SBA also helps people recover from disasters and rebuild their lives by providing affordable, timely and accessible financial assistance to homeowners, renters and businesses. The charter also stipulated that the SBA will work to ensure small businesses receive a "fair proportion" of government contracts and sales of surplus property.
For more information about the SBA online, go to www.sba.gov or contact the Richmond District Office at (804) 771-2400.
Doing her homework paid off for businesswoman Kathleen Wilcox of Kathleen's Fudge and Fun Stuff. A former tennis director and accomplished biathlon, triathlon and marathon athlete, Wilcox faced a devastating diagnosis in 1996. She had multiple sclerosis, a debilitating disease of the central nervous system.
Facing this mind-boggling change of life event, Wilcox's survival response was to search within for a career change. Thus, she began to research and set the foundation for starting her own business.
"My passion is fun," says Wilcox. Her homework was to study her passion: developing and owning a fudge shop. Subsequently, for two years she immersed herself in different phases of running such a business. Kathleen traveled to Kitty Hawk, N.C., to observe how sweet shops cater to tourists. She traveled to Hawaii to see how cocoa beans grow and are processed. She enrolled in an eight-week, business plan course at the Greater Richmond Small Business Development Center to learn about the important aspects of running a business. Kathleen remembers the course taken over eight years ago and reflects, “I can’t envision going to class without having done my homework.”
Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) are resource partners of the U.S. Small Business Administration that provide managerial and technical assistance to start-up and existing businesses. The SBDCs specialize in providing direct one-on-one counseling and training classes on starting a small business. The SBA, founded in 1953 by the U.S. Congress, is a champion for small businesses. SBA helps entrepreneurs start and build viable businesses that create the jobs that strengthen communities. The SBA extends its programs to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis.
Entrepreneurial research and preparation can significantly reduce failure rates by as much as 50 percent. Mike Leonard, Executive Director of the Greater Richmond SBDC, supports this fact by noting that Kathleen's 7-½ year history "speaks to her determination and her extensive planning and research prior to opening her business."
Kathleen's mission statement of "FUN" is shown throughout her store. Her business is a shining beacon to others, especially those who are faced with tribulations. A positive attitude, sound preparation, hard work, and resolute dedication often make the difference between success and failure. At Kathleen's Fudge & Fun Stuff you buy fun and the sweet verdict is definitely "success."