Ayuda Companies leverages SBA programs for business success

Ayuda Companies leverages SBA programs for business success

When Maria Velez began Ayuda Companies in 2002 she knew the focus of the business needed to center around her core values of commitment, courage, creativity, consistency, challenges, compassion, and community. In the beginning the business had one employee and $33,000 in revenue. Today, Ayuda Companies has grown to 40 employees and $16 million in revenues. 

Maria Velez learned very early in life about the importance of hard work and treating people fairly. She learned these principles from her grandfather who taught himself English and worked his way up to becoming the head chef at Jack Dempsey’s Broadway Restaurant in New York City. Maria Velez comes from an Ecuadorian family of entrepreneurs including her dad who started an IT company, and her aunt who ran a successful snack stand in Cuenca, Ecuador.  She was taught that nothing would be handed to you in life, and no task is worth doing unless you are willing to go above and beyond and do it right.

Ayuda Companies provides environmental remediation, environmental consulting, and construction management to customers in both the public and private sectors.  In order to help spur revenue growth at her business Velez applied to and was accepted into the SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program. The positive results were immediate and Maria eventually needed to find a business partner that complemented her skillsets.  In 2006,  Sonya Yungeberg joined Velez as executive vice president and co-owner of the business.

Along the way Ayuda Companies utilized other SBA programs including the Surety Bond Guaranty Program which helped the business win construction contracts at Buckley Air Force Base and the Blue Grass Chemical Depot. In 2013, with the assistance of an SBA 504 loan, Ayuda’s owners were able to purchase an old mansion located in a Denver HUBZone which they converted into their corporate office.

In 2014, Ayuda became a participant in the SBA’s Mentor Protégé Program which connected them to a large business mentor on environmental remediation contracts. Ayuda has gained valuable expertise and greatly benefited from this business opportunity. Both Velez and Yungeberg look forward to paying this assistance forward by mentoring another less experienced company following their graduation from the 8(a) program.

Community is one of Maria Velez’s core values that she feels most strongly about. Ayuda Companies has a policy that allows each employee to give two hours of paid work time each month towards any charity the employee chooses. Maria is committed to speaking at training sessions throughout Colorado targeting minority women, small business owners, and service members leaving the U.S. armed forces.  She has also spoken at high schools to encourage students to find their sense of creativity and overcome challenges in order to graduate on time.  Ayuda Companies has certainly become a Colorado and SBA business success story!