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Agency MABU Graduates from 8(a) Program
Building a successful business from scratch is one of the most challenging endeavors anyone could undertake. This process often requires business owners to start on a shoestring budget and reinvest earnings back into their business for several years until the company has enough capital to sustain its operations. Such was the case for Agency MABU, a North Dakota-based company specializing in marketing, advertising and website development.
Agency MABU’s owner Mike Mabin had a burning desire to start a business from a very early age; however, his parents who were successful entrepreneurs during his childhood went through a devastating bankruptcy in Mabin’s Senior year of high school. The family lost nearly everything - an experience that deeply impacted Mabin’s dreams of starting his own business.
He worked his way through college on a part-time basis and attained a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree over a 10 year time period. While attending college, as well as after graduating, Mabin worked for over 20 years at a regional medical center where he ultimately served as a member of the administrative council. Although successful in his career, Mabin decided to fulfill his life-long goal to start a business at the age of 43.
With $5,000 in cash, a computer and desk, Mabin opened Agency MABU on November 19, 2001, as a one-person consulting company. As his client base has grown, Mabin has slowly and steadily expanded staff and services. Today, the company has nearly 20 full-time and part-time employees, offices in North Dakota and Virginia, and revenue exceeding $2.5 million annually.
During his 30 year career as a business executive and entrepreneur, Mabin has been actively involved in his community as a board member of the area Red Cross, Chamber of Commerce, United Way and other non-profit service organizations. He is an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, and has proactively hired and contracted with numerous minority individuals and organizations.
According to Mabin, the SBA’s 8a Business Development Program has enabled his firm to compete for federal contracts among a smaller pool of competitors of similar size and service offerings (e.g., other 8a firms and small business enterprises). “By narrowing the field of competition, my firm was able to secure a handful of federal contracts which had a significant and positive impact on my company’s growth and development,” says Mabin. These contracts tended to be long term in nature and substantial in scope. Thus, they had a positive effect on growing Agency MABU’s revenues, workforce and capabilities.
Mabin says this also contributed to building a strong reputation for his company among non-federal clients. These clients were impressed by the fact that his company had experience working on large federal contracts; therefore, they felt confident MABU could handle their project requirements. Lastly, the program offered Mabin and his company with access to a wide variety of technical assistance services and networking opportunities.