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Long Islander Wins New York State: Now in Competition for National Small Business Person of the Year
At a Manhattan ceremony in celebration of presidentially declared National Small Business Week 2009the New York District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration today presented Teresa M. Ward, owner of Teresa&rsquo's Family Cleaning, Inc., with the award for New York State’s top small business. Ward also won for Small Business Person of the Year in the SBA’s Region II, which includes New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Ward founded her residential cleaning company, Teresa’s Family Cleaning, Inc., in 1992, providing the traditional cleaning services one expects for this type of business. Along the way she added non-traditional services such as organizing and management services for senior-living facilities throughout Long Island.
That ability to adapt and grow enabled Family Cleaning to weather the current economic downturn. And rather than submit to the crisis, Ward ensures that her core group of customers is always satisfied with her company’s service. In fact, she still has her pre-crisis 12 to 14 crews out on any given day. "With the traditional spring cleaning time upon us, I feel as though we have gotten through the worst," said Ward.
Ward started her business— not in the infamous entrepreneur’s garage— but she did start as a one-woman business in her basement. The company now owns it own building in Rocky Point, NY, employs upward of 40 cleaners, office staff and sales personnel, has a fleet of 15 vehicles and grosses well over a million in sales. Also environmentally conscious, the company now uses only "green" and eco-friendly products in its cleaning arsenal to help ensure the safety of its customers, employees and the environment.
Family Cleaning was helped through its growth stages with a loan from Community National Bank which was partially guaranteed by the SBA, as well as business management counseling from the SBA’s Stony Brook Small Business Development Center.
When her sister passed away from cancer in 2003, Ward embarked upon another mission and helped launch the Cleaning for a Reason Foundation in New York in 2006. The non-profit, along with 500 cleaning companies across the nation provides free or at-cost cleaning services for women undergoing chemotherapy. Last year she began donating company services to Habitat for Humanity, to prep the homes for their new inhabitants.
Ms. Ward’s awards prove you do not have to be some sort of exotic, high-tech business owner to win this honor," said SBA Spokesman John J. Miller. "You just need to be good at what you do."
The recipient of the country’s most prestigious small business award---National Small Business Person of the Year--- will be selected from among 50 state winners and announced at the National Small Business Week 2009 ceremony in Washington, DC, May18-22, 2009.
Other SBA New York District award winners at the SBA event today included:
Family-Owned Business of the Year
Peter Negri, President & CEO Jamaica Bearings Co. New Hyde Park, NY
Financial Services Champion of the Year
Patrick Mackrell, President & CEO New York Business Development Corp. Albany, NY
Veteran Small Business Champion of the Year
Benjamin B. Hunt, Director Department of Defense Procurement Technical Assistance Center, LaGuardia Comm. College Long Island City, NY
Minority Small Business Champion of the Year
Rev. Carmen Hernandez, Founder & President New York City Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender Chamber of Commerce Bronx, NY
Women in Business Champion of the Year
Deborah Brenner, Founder & CEO Women of the Vine Cellars, LLC Piermont, NY
Small Business Journalist of the Year
Joan Hamburg and Liz Hamburg, Co-hosts WOR News/Talk Radio 710 New York, NY
Edgardo Rodriguez, Business Consultant at the Metropolitan Economic Development Association (MEDA), has been named the Minnesota Minority Small Business Champion of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
The Minority Small Business Champion award is presented annually in each state to individuals who assist small businesses through outstanding advocacy efforts on behalf of minority-owned small businesses. Yvonne Cheung Ho, President and CEO of MEDA, nominated Rodriguez for this award.
After decades of working in the corporate sector in senior positions, Rodriguez joined MEDA in 2002 as a consultant and has utilized his wealth of knowledge and resources to benefit the small business community. His specialties include coaching, analyzing complex and challenging business opportunities for growth, mergers and acquisitions, negotiations, document review, certifications and day-to-day business management issues.
George Jacobson, director of MEDA’s Business Consulting Services and Loan Program, said, “Edgardo possesses the talent and capability to connect to clients in a way that is very rare. He intuitively knows what to do and how to approach even the most daunting business problems. He is a true advocate for small and minority business – anyone who knows him will tell you that.”
Through Rodriguez’s personal efforts, over 150 small business owners were served, many of whom were connected to opportunities that resulted in job creation. Over the past year, he has coordinated MEDA’s premier consulting effort, the Pacesetter program, to help accelerate the growth and build capacity of a select group of high potential clients. He has also been instrumental in developing and implementing the MEDA Leadership Program for advanced business owners with the intent of fostering business and civic leaders of color.
Bilingual in English and Spanish, Rodriguez is involved in the community through participation on the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Advisory Board and a Council member and treasurer of the Chicano Latino Affairs Council, where he was just reappointed to his second 4-year term. He trains and coaches Latinos aspiring to become entrepreneurs on preparing a Business Plan and opening a Small Business in cooperation with the Latino Economic Development Center. He is also a 2007 Fellow with the Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota’s Hendrickson Institute for Ethical Leadership as well as a professor in international economics at the same university. He is a valued advisor, trainer and educator to government, government agencies, neighborhood development associations and the community-at-large.
Los Angeles area entrepreneurs are finding a way to “open for business” with the help of small SBA loans, underwritten by a unique program spearheaded by Innovative Bank (IB). This plucky little financial institution recently acquired the Bank of Oakland and then proceeded to carve out a niche in the $5,000 SBA Loan marketplace, using Nevada as a testing ground. Now IB has entered Los Angeles and in a dramatic fashion and is focused on Minority Business Enterprise and its limitless number of small office home office based businesses. Thus, evolved the acronym for IB’s product ---SOHO. Recently, IB has increased its lending policy and has added $10,000 and $15,000 loans to its lending arsenal to satisfy a growing demand for micro-business working capital.
IB’s novel program employs community intermediaries to host loan application workshops, during which the application is completed. The intermediary also reviews poignant information that may accompany the application. Usually within a week to 10 days of receipt of the application by the bank, the intermediary will be able to apprise the applicant of acceptance or whether additional work is necessary to proceed. Loan funding often follows several days after approval by the bank and acceptance by the prospective borrower.
Los Angeles SBA Director Alberto G. Alvarado welcomes the advent of this SOHO SBA loan product as an economic development tool for his tri-county service area. “Innovative Bank has devised an approach which has allowed loan aspirants to “get into business” with little or virtually no cash outlay. It is a true ‘open door policy’ for which we are grateful to the bank,”mused Director Alvarado.
The North LA SBDC, hosted by Valley Economic Development Center, is one of the inaugural intermediaries and has within the last three months generated more than four dozen of these SOHO loans. The strongest contributor to this SBDC’s small loan production success is Marlen Bello, a Business Development Officer (BDO) for North LA SBDC.
As a BDO, Marlen consults with small businesses in need of technical assistance, marketing and business planning, and, in particular, access to capital. She also adds additional value to her consulting repertoire by virtue of the fact that she is fluent in Spanish. This language ability has led to her uniquely and successfully disseminating the message of the SBA’s Loan Programs throughout the Latino small business community in Spanish. Since joining the program, Marlen has hosted and been a facilitator at numerous Spanish and English language loan workshops. These workshops have remarkably attracted an average attendance level of 20 small business owners. As a result of these capital access sessions, more than 100 loans packages were generated for the bank.
Gamaliel “G” Padilla, a Spanish speaking intermediary from the Southwest Los Angeles SBDC, also hosts Spanish language small SBA Loan workshops. However, unlike Marlen Bello, G prefers to meet one-on-one with Spanish speaking entrepreneurs to process their loans. Mr. Padilla a fanatical baseball fan whimsically defers to Ms. Bello’s prowess and leadership in small loan production, respectfully referring to her as the Babe Ruth of micro lending, stating with humor and camaraderie, “Marlen has been lighting up the scoreboard”.
Marlen’s first assignment had her broadly covering the greater LA County area. As part of her functional responsibilities, she would often assist Spanish speaking SBA Economic Development Outreach Specialists, Juan Urbina and Fernando Olivares by inviting their referrals to her workshops. Both men were pleased with Marlen’s professionalism, responsiveness, and productivity. Recently, she transferred to North LA SBDC’s Pacoima Office to focus on that municipality’s Latino and Latina small business community, which is experiencing dramatic growth and in need of working capital. Since her arrival, Marlen has already booked 5 loans with many more in the pipeline.
District Director Alvarado expressed pride in Ms. Bello’s achievements stating, “Marlen Bello has worked this small office home office loan program to successfully access capital for her constituent micro businesses. I hope every SOHO business in Pacoima reads this article and considers registering for one of her workshops”.
For information on SBA loan workshops offered by Marlen Bello, please call her at the Pacoima Office (818) 834-9860. G Padilla can be reached at (310) 973-3157.
To find out more about SBA Loan Programs and Services visit the Agency’s user friendly web site www.sba.gov or call one of the following Economic Development Specialists at the SBA’s Los Angeles District Office:
- Sandra Buck (818) 552-3308
- Chuck Edgington (818) 552- 3241
- Barbara Madel (818) 552-3314
- Fernando Olivares (818) 552 -3256
- Juan Urbina (818) 552- 3244