Sign up for email updates from SBAReceive helpful business tips and upcoming events in your area.


It takes more than a Wizard to make a small business success

It was a cool December day in 1999 when Jose Ricardo and Fabiola Rendon left their natal land, Colombia, South America for the State of Virginia, U.S.A. in search of what their country could for afford to provide them at that time: the ownership of their business. With their hopes in high gear, they left to unknown lands where different traditions, language and customs would be the hurdles they would have to work against.

They spent their first Christmas in their friend’s home, enjoying the traditions of the season, and learning new experiences. “It never snow in our country and definitely it never gets this cold there” says Mr. Rendon.

After hard work and long wait, they managed to get a legal status in the United States. Mr. Rendon began working for a cleaning company where he learned the carpet cleaning business and met Arnaldo Paredes, a Guatemalan indigenous, who in time would become his business partner.

Mr. Rendon, have heard of the Business Information Center at the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and made an appointment to speak with Luis F. Garcia, the Business Information Specialist in the center at that time. In describing the assistance received from the SBA, Mr. Rendon says: “ Mr. Garcia educated us in the way of opening a business correctly and choosing a business structure. He assisted us getting the licenses and permits, instructed us about tax liabilities and the use of each tax form affecting our business. He gave us ideas about marketing and business expansion, hiring and training, and to date, we still seek his assistance in matter we are unfamiliar which could affect the success of our business”.

Mr. Rendon is the president of the corporation, Mr. Paredes the vice president and Ms. Rendon the secretary / treasure of the business. In 2003 they acquired their first custom installed carpet cleaning machine van. In 2004, they acquired their second van, the third was purchase in 2005 and now they have 4 vans, producing an income of over $200,000 a year. To date they have 5 employees and “we plan to keep growing” says Mr. Rendon.

We are sure the key to our success has been the hard work, persistence, planning, and the collaboration we had from our family and the SBA. Thanks to that, we have come to realize our dream of owning our own business.


Hines Funeral Services

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.”


Virginia's Minority Small Business Person of the Year

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 or contact the Richmond District Office at (804) 771-2400.

Encore Entrepreneurs

An Introduction to Starting Your Own Business


Need Help Writing a Business Plan? Our step-by-step tool makes it easy.  Start Your plan.

Get Local Assistance Right in Your Area

Counseling, mentoring, and training from an SBA District Office, SCORE Chapter, Small Biz Development Center or Women’s Biz Center in your area.