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Inventor Makes a Splash
Minneapolis graphic designer and life-long musician Sid Tincher found herself in a familiar predicament in 2001. While playing her guitar, she reached for a drink. She recalls, “What should have been a simple task turned into a chaotic domino effect – my headstock hit my microphone stand, knocking it into my music stand – they both fell over sending equipment and paper tumbling down onto the very drink I was trying to retrieve.”
Sid started looking for a safe home for her future beverages. Not finding a holder to her liking, she went down to her basement and started tinkering. Sid came up with a slick, fun design. “Musicians began clamoring for one of their own when they saw my SwirlyGig on stage. I made a few more in my basement, but realized quickly that I had a viable and needed product.”
Now, SwirlyGig is the premier cup and beverage holder for musicians and stage artists. “I think that what people responded to the most was the fun, playful simplicity of the design. There are no clamps or screws – it functions simply and swiftly with its own friction and gravity. It’s lightweight, sleek, and the swirly shape just looks cool!”
SwirlyGigs offer a safe, convenient, stylish and lightweight beverage holder that attaches easily to microphone stands. SwirlyGig Industries offers the Original SwirlyGig, SwirlyGig II for larger microphone stand and tubing, and SwirlySchtick drumstick holders.
SwirlyGigs are beginning to make an entry into other markets as well with sales in the medical industry already mounting. Because SwirlyGigs work on any standard tubing, the possibilities for new markets are many.
Early on, Sid sought help in building her business by completing the Neighborhood Development Center’s (NDC) Entrepreneur Program – subsequently earning both the Seward Neighborhood Entrepreneur Award and the Paul and Sheila Wellstone Innovative Product Award. She learned of the SBA and all its resources through the NDC, and was paired with SCORE counselors. SCORE provided valuable advice, boosted her confidence, and helped her make valuable connections.
As a resource partner with the SBA, SCORE provides information vital to small business success. This includes counseling on financing options, business planning, marketing strategies, product development and more. Individual members and counseling teams with diverse business knowledge and experience provide one-on-one, confidential counseling at no cost to the business owner. Currently, Sid is receiving one-on-one assistance from the Minnesota Trade Office to export SwirlyGigs.
Maintaining a business in these recessionary times is difficult enough. But to grow a business now, and to do so in what is arguably the most ethnically diverse county in the country with its ongoing influx of immigrants speaking 150 different languages, must require some sort of exceptional service. And that’s the secret to success for the Rosedale Gifted Academy Elementary & Preschool.
Coming from Jamaica herself at age 33 to explore new opportunities, Rosedale Owner, Pauline Brown, first tried a career in geriatric nursing. It took only a year for Brown to decide that the profession, with its overnight hours, would not accommodate the lifestyle she desired.
One day a friend asked her to baby sit her two-month old. Subsequently, another friend asked her to sit a three-month old, and another, a five month old. Brown soon realized she had found her calling and opened a daycare business— first in her home and then growing to a rented facility. She now owns that facility and enrollment has grown to 60 children.
That enrollment ballooned primarily by word-of-mouth marketing. "I have parents from as far away as Brooklyn, the Bronx and Exit 32 of the LIE dropping off their children," said Brown. "We’re also ‘multi-generational’ now, with parents enrolling their first-borns, second-borns and third-borns."
Wanting to grow her business further, Brown required a loan with which to acquire additional classroom space. So she approached several lending institutions with her proposal to acquire a second building, just steps away from the current facility.
None of the lenders entertained her proposal, but fortuitously one of them referred Brown to the York College Small Business Development Center. The SBDC is funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration and offers free business counseling and training. The SBDC counselors sized up her project and decided the Greater Jamaica Local Development Corporation might be interested in her proposal.
The counselors helped Brown tweak her business plan and arranged for several meetings with the GJLDC. The GJLDC ultimately extended Brown a $150,000 loan at an extremely attractive 5 percent interest rate. The capital infusion allowed Rosedale to grow its space by 25 percent and will accommodate enrollment to over 100, and hire five new employees in addition to its current roster of 14.
"Our schools are growing with daily enrollment and that gives us the opportunity to change young lives for the better," said Brown. "That’s attributable in part to the work of the SBDC team and I highly recommend that other entrepreneurs take advantage of them."
Dan Nanigian, president of Massachusetts-based NANMAC Corporation, has been named the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2010 National Exporter of the Year according to an announcement made by Karen Mills, Director of the U.S. Small Business Administration.
After winning the state and regional awards, Nanigian’s information was sent for National competition where he was also named the National Small Business Exporter of the Year.
The Small Business Exporter of the Year Award is presented annually to an individual or individuals who own and operate a business engaged in exporting. Nominations are evaluated on several criteria, including: (1) Increased sales, profits and/or growth of employment because of exporting. (2) Creative overseas marketing strategies. (3) Effective solutions to export-related problems and (4) Voluntary assistance with other firms engaged in exporting.
Dan accepted the award during ceremonies in celebration of the National Small Business Week in Washington D.C. A guest of the White House, He spoke briefly to President Obama, acknowledging the President’s export initiative, and the commitment of NANMAC to help achieve the goal of a 50 percent increase in exports over the next five years. In accepting the award, Nanigian said, “I’m honored that NANMAC is being recognized for its performance, both in the quality of product and in our persistence to continually improve within our industry, and that which is manufacturing in the United States.”
Nanmac designs and manufactures temperature sensors and related products and services to automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, plastics, energy and electronics companies in the U.S. and thirty other countries. Learn more at http://www.nanmac.com.