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Success Stories

Stevenson Fitness Gets Lift from Local Small Business Development Center

When athletes—be it an NFL quarterback, or a working mother of two—want to bring positive change to a workout routine, they seek out a personal trainer.  When an aspiring or existing business needs that same kind of inspiration and motivation, the owner should look to a Small Business Development Center.

That is what Chris Stevenson, owner of Stevenson Fitness, did, almost by chance, in the summer of 2010 while finalizing his plans to open a new 7,000 sq. ft. fitness center in Oak Park, California. 

Stevenson, a man of many talents, grew up in Ohio and graduated with a business degree from a liberal arts university.  He is a martial artist, who competed at a national level, with a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and in Hapkido.  After college, he moved to California and found himself waiting tables, doing stunt work in the television and movie industries, and teaching martial arts.  This continued, until his mom, one day, said, “Chris, you have a degree, you should use it... Read More

Los Angeles area entrepreneurs are finding a way to “open for business” with the help of small SBA loans, underwritten by a unique program spearheaded by Innovative Bank (IB). This plucky little financial institution recently acquired the Bank of Oakland and then proceeded to carve out a niche in the $5,000 SBA Loan marketplace, using Nevada as a testing ground. Now IB has entered Los Angeles and in a dramatic fashion and is focused on Minority Business Enterprise and its limitless number of small office home office based businesses. Thus, evolved the acronym for IB’s product ---SOHO. Recently, IB has increased its lending policy and has added $10,000 and $15,000 loans to its lending arsenal to satisfy a growing demand for micro-business working capital.

IB’s novel program employs community intermediaries to host loan application workshops, during which the application is completed. The intermediary also reviews poignant information that may accompany the application.... Read More

Lillian Pernell started L.E. Pernell & Associates as a sole proprietorship. Her initial product line consisted of management consulting services in areas that Ms. Pernell had personally garnered specific experience while working in different industry situations. Office automation, business application, electric data interchange, and funds transfer were several of her areas of expertise in which her clients expressed an interest.

As is often the case with start-up businesses in general and fledgling consulting enterprises in particular, success is incumbent upon building a revenue base sufficient to maintain business continuity and cover fixed costs as quickly as possible. In 1995, the company’s revenues were slightly below $70,000 and the health of the company was seriously in question. In short, Ms. Pernell needed help.

She had heard about the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and its Business Development Program referred to as the 8(a) Program,... Read More

How does a start-up construction company go from being a home-based business to arrive at a level where it operates from two offices, has a dozen contracts, supports 15 full-time construction managers at multiple sites on an aggregate of nearly $10 million of awards?

Jaime Pinedo, can answer the question, “Work with the Los Angeles District Office of the U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA).” Mr. Pinedo founded his Miramar Construction, Inc. in 1999 with expectations to grow into an entity that could handle large construction and general engineering and public works projects. He recognized the potential in joining the SBA 8(a) program and quickly sought the Agency’s assistance.

The SBA’s Section 8(a) Program is a business development program to help businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals gain equal access to the resources needed to develop their ability to compete on an equal footing in the mainstream of the American... Read More