Success Stories


Tobacco World and Variety

Sometimes life’s best lessons take the long way home.  Ervin Lewis, from Cotton Plant, Arkansas, went to Iraq to learn his.  While serving in Iraq with the Arkansas National Guard, a roadside explosive device severely injured his legs.   He spent three months in an Army Rehabilitation Hospital and was discharged from the National Guard.

Wounded but not broken, Ervin and his wife, Terrie, returned to Cotton Plant and began to pick up the pieces of their lives. In this small town, like much of the Delta, jobs are hard to come by.  With few options, they decided to create their own jobs and open a smoke shop and small convenience store. This business, at best, was problematic. For many years people and businesses had been leaving Cotton Plant. Much of the downtown was gone or decaying with whole blocks missing. The nearest grocery store was at Brinkley, 11 miles away. 

Using their own money, they took over a long... Read More


Woods Group Architects


SBA’s 2013 8(a) Graduate Firm of the Year is Woods Group Architects, Inc. of Little Rock, owned by Ron Bené Woods. 

Ron Woods always had an intense desire to be creative and be of service to others.  He loved to draw and work with arts and crafts, and his goal coming out of high school was to be an architect.   Those plans were slightly derailed after he received a scholarship to attend Morehouse College in Atlanta, Ga., in a dual-degree program with the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) in mechanical engineering.  After two years at Morehouse, Ron’s mechanical drafting professor, who was also an architect, noted Ron’s talent and convinced him to switch majors.  Ron gave up the engineering scholarship.  With the support of his parents, financial and otherwise, he transferred full time to Georgia Tech into a field of study he really loved.  Upon graduation he was immediately offered an internship with... Read More

ADVANCED AESTHETICS OF ARKANSAS, INC. Chotsie Adney, owner of Advanced Aesthetics in Little Rock, welcomes clients to a new concept in health & beauty. Under the guidance of plastic surgeons certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, Adney and her team incorporate the most advanced skin care, cosmetic products, and skin and laser treatments into their services. A primary emphasis is put on client education and the integrity of their products and services. As a member of the Society of Plastic Surgical Skin Care Specialists, the company is held to the highest standards of care in the industry. Adney received her Aestheticians License in Oklahoma City in 1985. After practicing in Oklahoma City and Boston, she returned to Little Rock in 1989 where she practiced in various salons and also with the Chief of Plastic Surgery at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). Seeing the advantage of using medical aesthetics to enhance healing and recovery,... Read More




Power Technology of Little Rock, Arkansas is an experienced exporter in the high-tech laser industry. When searching for ways to further increase their exports they found assistance from the State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) program. Through this opportunity Power Technology found ways to expand into their highest growth global market.


Founded in 1969 by Thomas Burgess, just nine years after the invention of the laser, Power Technology is one of the oldest laser manufacturers in the industry. The company, now managed by Burgess’ twin sons Walter and William, exported to 30 countries in 2012 and more than 40 countries in the last decade. When William heard about the STEP Program he saw an opportunity to expand and strengthen Power Technology’s Asian market.


“Lasers are a global product. Asia represents the highest export growth opportunity for the future,” says William Burgess. “Asia is a... Read More