E& H Piping in Hanley Falls is SBA’s Minnesota 2018 Minority-Owned Business of the Year

Release Date: 
Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Release Number: 
Sarah Swenty, 612-370-2316, sarah.swenty@sba.gov

MINNEAPOLIS  – The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has named E & H Piping as the Minnesota 2018 Minority-Owned Business of the Year. Sergio Espinoza’s company in Hanley Falls, Minn., provides piping installation and maintenance to ethanol and sugar beet plants, as well as bio diesel refineries within a 250 mile radius of Yellow Medicine County in southwest Minnesota.

“Small businesses that provide good paying jobs in rural America are helping make sure the ‘American Dream’ lives on for future generations,” stated Brian McDonald, deputy district director for the SBA in Minnesota.

Coming to this country at age 18 to escape the Guatemalan Civil War, Espinoza first settled in Texas before coming to Minnesota in 1991. Working his way up from laborer to supervisor on piping jobs, he began to do more than dream about owning his own business. In May 2012, he registered his business with the state, contacted the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for technical assistance and hired his first employee in 2014. Since that time, Espinoza has built a company that employs 20 people at wages from $20 to $30 an hour in rural Minnesota.

The SBDC, which nominated him for this award and is funded in part by the SBA, is hosted by Southwest Minnesota State University. It helped Espinoza by providing nearly 40 hours of free business consulting on topics such as business planning, financial projections and hiring employees.

“The SBDC is a strong believer in the future of rural businesses such as E & H Piping, said Liz Struve, Southwest SBDC Director. “Seasoned consultants offer clients a better understanding of their business and at the same time, peace of mind, which allows them to concentrate on their own efforts of starting and growing their business.”

Sergio’s SBDC consultant, RuthAnn Karty, also shared, “Starting very small and bootstrapping his way to success, Sergio Espinoza is a shining example of the hard work it takes to make a small business dream a reality.  It has been my pleasure to work with him from the beginning.  I am so proud of his achievements and look forward to his future success.”

Being a minority-owned small business has its challenges, but E & H Piping continues to meet those challenges and grow. Plans are in the works to create a welding workshop and explore additional markets in the year ahead. To help with that, the company continues to work with the SBDC, this time on marketing and website development.

In addition to providing good jobs, E & H Piping contributes to its local fire department, church, school as well as other charities. 

The SBA Minnesota District Office, along with the SCORE Association, will honor all the 2018 winners at the Minnesota Small Business Week Awards Luncheon on May 11, 2018, at the Doubletree by Hilton Park Place in Minneapolis, Minn.

Registration is open for the event until May 8 at https://conta.cc/2uCnW5b.

For more information on Small Business Week, which is April 29 through May 5 this year, please visit www.sba.gov/NSBW.