COVID-19 relief options and additional resources

Vet Uses COVID EIDL, PPP and other SBA Programs to Survive and Grow


  • In 2013, Alejandro “Alex” Ramirez retired from the U.S. Army after 22 years of service.
  • Before retiring, Alex participated in the SBA Boots to Business entrepreneurial training program on the Ft. Knox Army Base.
  • He learned how best to start a small business and sought guidance from an SBDC counselor and SBA Veterans Business Development Officer.
  • With that guidance, Alex completed his business plan and started Universal Spartan, LLC.
  • The company is a one-stop federal government product sourcing solution for tactical, IT, electrical and medical equipment.
  • It is also certified as a Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB).

Solution: How the SBA helped

  • The connections enabled Alex to also obtain SBA State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) export grants and receive federal contract assistance from the Kentucky Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC).
  • With help from the SBA and its resource partners, Universal Spartan has  secured contractors in multiple countries around the globe.
  • Alex later worked with the SBA to obtain certification in the 8(a) Business Development Program.     
  • In 2018, he was awarded the SBA Kentucky Veteran Owned Small Business of the Year and inducted into the Kentucky Veterans Hall of Fame in 2021.
  • In 2019, Alex  participated in the SBA Emerging Leaders program. But in between was COVID-19.
  • Universal Spartan obtained a PPP First and Second Draw Forgivable Loan, an EIDL and EIDL Advance grant to survive the pandemic in 2020 and early 2021.
  • Alex recently formed a joint venture with a recently graduated 8(a) firm in West Kentucky, also an SDVOSB. They recently obtained a large federal contract.

          Successful Impact/Outcome

  • Universal Spartan is on the 2021 Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing private companies in the U.S.
  • In 2020, Alex received the Hispanic Veteran’s Business Enterprise of the Year Award from the National Veteran-Owned Business Association.
  • He has received numerous other awards and started several nonprofit organizations.   
  • Alex stated: “The SBA and the SBDC have super-charged my business in so many ways. I know they will continue to support Universal Spartan in the future.”
Company Name: 
Universal Spartan, LLC
Vine Grove, KY
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