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Success Stories


Valeria Franklin, owner of Touch of Anointing Janitorial, has grown her business from a one-person operation to providing employment for more than 48 people, thanks in part to assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). 

“We are a company founded on faith, strengthened by education, customer service, commitment, and Spirit,” said Franklin, who is a graduate of the SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program and Emerging Leader’s Initiative.  Franklin has also received assistance from SCORE Business Counselors, a resource partner of the SBA. 

SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program is a business assistance program for small disadvantaged businesses. It offers a broad scope of assistance to firms that are owned and controlled at least 51% by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. The SBA Emerging Leaders Initiative is a federal training initiative that... Read More


Central Research Inc. (CRI) in Lowell, Arkansas, is a people-information firm specializing in the identification, verification, and documentation of deceased and incarcerated individuals, as well as Freedom of Information Act support services. Within the last year CRI has started two new major contracts with the federal government. These contracts with the Department of Education and Department of Homeland Security increased CRI’s staffing to over 400 full-time employees.

Johnny Dillard, a service-disabled veteran, and his son, Scott, started the company in 1999, working part time from their respective kitchen tables. With hard work and a lot of luck, CRI has grown to a $15 million business in 2016.

A successful participant in SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program, Johnny was the 2011 Arkansas Minority Small Business Person of the Year, and the 2012 Arkansas Veteran Small Business Champion. He was also one of eight... Read More


Greg Durham, owner of Durham Haus Working Dogs of Arkansas, has made a dream come true on 17 acres of land in far west Little Rock.  His business is recognized nationally and internationally for training dogs in many areas including police work, protective service, medical service, and obedience training.  

Greg grew up in a family that worked with animals.  By 1987 the time had come for him to live the family tradition.  “I’m going to start a business,” he decided, “a kennel service.  I’m going to train dogs.”  Greg developed his business plan, working with the Little Rock Minority Business Development Center, and “the rest was history,” he said.

He received an SBA 7(a) low documentation loan through Regions Bank and bought the original 27 acres of land.  Greg said his biggest challenge was convincing the bank that his business would generate the revenue to pay back the loan.

Regions Bank... Read More

Genesis Child Learning Center

In April 2011, Arkansas Women’s Business Center (AWBC) client Brenda Gatewood and her husband, Odis, launched Genesis Childcare Learning Center in El Dorado.  Their goal is to serve the growing community while meeting the needs of children and parents.  Their daycare provides a balance of “home-like” care and appropriate development activities while nurturing children and encouraging them to grow to their full potential.

Starting with an idea, AWBC helped Brenda and Odis to prepare a business plan, develop financial projections, marketing, and more so they could acquire a loan to get the business started and file as a limited liability company in Arkansas.  In the end, the Gatewoods did not take out a loan, but did fundraising so they could make updates to their building to bring it to code.  Genesis is one of the only daycares in South Arkansas to offer a unique perk: online viewing.  Parents love the ability to watch their children at any time, or all day long, from their... Read More