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Success Stories

Baking People Happy


As a young entrepreneur with a passion and a dream, Joshua Wortham took an obstacle and turned it into an opportunity. Peaceful Pastries & Sweets was birthed in 2015 by Joshua at the tender age of 10 years old. Like all entrepreneurs he had a desire and a need that he believed he could fulfill through the creation of a business. After receiving the devastating news that he would not be able to attend summer camp for financial reasons, it was suggested by his parents that he start a business to raise money to cover his expenses.   


Joshua decided to take something he loved and had a knack for, to create a money-making opportunity. He sought the help and guidance of SBA resource partner, The Catalyst Center for Business & Entrepreneurship and they helped him navigate through the realms of entrepreneurship and business formation. Through the assistance of The Catalyst, Peaceful Pastries & Sweets has grown... Read More


Nicholas Dowdell, a disabled Army veteran, had a desire to do something impactful in his community as well as become his own boss. He started out as an employee of a prominent construction company through which he gained invaluable experience that would afford him the technical knowledge and expertise he would later need. After a few years working in the capacity of a project manager, he decided to turn his dream of entrepreneurship into a reality and he started Provision Contracting Services, Inc in 2010. As a startup business, Nicholas Dowdell and Provision faced many challenges. They lacked sufficient past performance to successfully win contracts and were turned down for several opportunities.


Nicholas knew that there had to be a way to overcome these challenges, so he sought the assistance of the SBA’s resource partners at the Small Business Development Center (SBDC). There he was introduced to the 8(a) Business Development program,... Read More


All Maintenance is a great example of a Hispanic-owned Alabama company that has flourished with SBA assistance. Adolfo Ruiz relocated his business, All Maintenance, from Miami, FL to Russellville, AL in 2003.At that time, the company's primary service was carpet cleaning and restoration of water damaged dwellings. Later, he expanded his business with commercial accounts rather than residential dwellings. After working for six years to establish the business and overcome the stigma Hispanic businesses faced in the area, Mr. Ruiz decided he needed to expand his business. He approached the University of North Alabama Small BUsiness Development Center for assistance with obtaining financing and to get assistance in breaking into the larger commercial market and establishing regular maintenance accounts to generate steady revenue. He received SBA funding with a $50,000 Community Express Loan through Borrego Springs Bank and the SBDC worked with him to obtain certifications for... Read More

Originally in the painting business, Jack Roper, now 65 years old, has many years experience in the construction business in Birmingham and St. Petersburg, FL. He owns Southeastern Industrial Construction, a $28 million annual revenue company headquartered in Pelham. He employs roughly 80 employees, but that number grows with job contracts and the use of subcontractors.

Jack is married, and has three grown children.

Some years ago, he owned another company, Roper Painting, now subsumed into his current, larger business. His painting firm was hired to do some subcontract work by a more experienced master contractor. That gentleman asked Jack if he had minority participation. He didn’t although he employed many minority workers. The master contractor’s advice was instrumental in changing Jack’s approach to his business.

When he started his new company, Southeastern Industrial Construction, Roper sought and gained 8(a) certification after his company... Read More