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Miami Security Business Owner Protects and Invests in His Community

 Ricky Brantley

Miami Security Business Owner Protects and Invests in His Community

Ricky Brantley is on a mission to keep things a little safer in his hometown of Miami and at the same time, help his community by creating more jobs with his business, Viking Defense, Inc. 

Small business ownership was always a dream of his. In early 2008, Ricky and his wife Annette started Viking Defense, Inc. with the help of a family relative.  Licensed by the State of Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the company provides security services for construction sites, homeowner associations, office building, and other customers who require qualified security services.  Before journeying into small business ownership, Ricky had a successful career as a Federal Immigration Officer.  Now in control of his own business and with the desire to lead people in accomplishing better things for the neighborhood, he needed help. 

“Almost every job I worked, I eventually ended up as a supervisor or manager.  When we started the business, it was a lot of trial and error.  I called a few of my friends for assistance, ‘’recalled Brantley.

Marketing and trying to grow his business was slow work.  Leaving pamphlets on car windshields, visiting Construction sites, and making phone calls was not producing the results he hoped for.  In 2012, Ricky received an email about a business workshops being presented by the local Miami SCORE Chapter.  It was a turning point for Viking Defense, Inc.

“I wanted to grow my business by getting larger contracts and with Miami-Dade County, but I lacked the working capital.  I went to the SCORE workshop and met Marjorie Weber, the chapter chairperson.   Within two weeks, she helped me secure a $50,000 loan from the Miami Bayside Foundation, a local non-profit organization that helps build small business in Miami-Dade County,” said Brantley. 

That initial surges of financing helped Viking Defense, Inc. receive its first large contract.  Viking Defense, Inc. was also one of the first minority-owned businesses to be approved for a loan from the foundation. 

Realizing how valuable his initial meeting with Miami SCORE went, he went back for more workshops and counseling.  According to former Miami SCORE Chapter Director Marjorie Weber, Ricky was different than most business owners she has helped.

“Ricky was willing to ask for help with his business and he wasn’t afraid to ask for assistance.  That’s not something that’s easy for small business owners to do.  Unfortunately too many business owners wait until they are in a crisis mode before they ask for help.  Ricky wasn’t like that and it made a big difference,” said Weber. 

With the $50,000 loan from the Miami Bayside Foundation, Viking Defense, Inc. was able to get its first large security contract. Success with his first contract allowed him to obtain a line of credit for $100,000 from Bank United, made possible through his connections with SCORE of Miami. 

“Whenever I had a business problem, I’d call SCORE and they would put me into contact with the right people,” said Brantley. 

Viking Defense, Inc. believes in investing into their community as well as protecting it.  The company donates school supplies to local schools, donated and assisted in distributing Thanksgiving dinners to senior citizen housing complexes and is active with many local charities that assist youth and those less fortunate. 

Viking Defense, Inc. also started a new service in their business.  The company earned their Security Officers Instructor License to help people seeking to become certified class D-License security officers.  The training program made perfect sense.  Ricky’s wife and business partner Annette, is a retired Miami-Dade county school teacher. 

“When I started to advertise this service on social media, the phone started ringing off the hook.  Running the course was another thing I had to juggle but I love doing it!” said Brantley. 

What started out as a company with one contract and two employees has grown to a full-service security firm working 18 contracts and more than 35 employees?  Viking Defense, Inc. is also putting itself in a position to grow further by enrolling in SBA South Florida District’s Inaugural Emerging Leaders program. The company’s growth previously earned them recognition by the Miami Herald as one of the city’s outstanding Black Businesses.  Recently, Brantley was recognized as the SBA South Florida District 2014 Small Business Person of the Year.

Entrepreneurs and small business owners can learn a lot from Ricky’s experiences.

“If you want to make a difference in your life; find something you love to do that motivates you. You need to be very passionate about your business. Don’t let anyone tell you it can’t be done, follow your dream.” Brantley said.