Success Stories

Photo of Heather Sams

Jacksonville, FLA- Heather Sams, Owner of HAS Art Solutions, LLC. (HASAS) has increased her revenue by 50%, has hired 7 new people, and has expanded her space as a result of her participation in ScaleUp North Florida, funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and administered through the Small Business Development Center at the University of North Florida.

The ScaleUp America Initiative is designed to help small firms with high potential “scale up” and grow their businesses so that they will provide more jobs and have a greater economic impact, both locally and nationally. The SBA has structured this community-focused initiative with local entrepreneurial ecosystems in mind: a key emphasis of the program is building and strengthening entrepreneurial networks within a particular community, so that firms can grow by leveraging and complimenting the existing resources and expertise in their areas. Jacksonville, Florida is one of the handful of metropolitan areas... Read More

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Andrew “Andy” Harold, President, A. Harold and Associates (AHA) has grown from a one-man operation to a multi-million dollar business with over 260 employees in 13 years.  AHA is a Service Disabled Veteran-Owned (SDVOB), 8(a)/Small Disadvantaged Business certified firm which provides training, logistics, support services, and construction products or solutions for government and other entities. Harold received his B.A. in Piano Performance from Oberlin College, but he couldn’t have guessed that his calling would be as a business owner at that time.  He later served in the United States Navy as helicopter pilot after attending flight school.  He was stationed in Jacksonville as part of his final tour of duty and eventually began to work for a defense contractor specializing in multimedia training for helicopters in 2001.

Harold started his own small business on the side in 2003 when the contract he was working on was set to expire. The business was... Read More

Photo of Kelly Munoz

Jacksonville, FLA. -  Kelly Munoz, President, Central Southern Construction (CSC), has grown the company from a 2-person operation to a multi-million dollar business with 72 employees within 7 years of starting. CSC is a heavy civil federal contractor and a participant in the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) 8(a) Business Development Program since 2012.

The 8(a) Business Development Program is a business assistance program for small disadvantaged businesses, designed to help them compete in the federal contracting arena. The 8(a) Program offers a broad scope of assistance to firms that are owned and controlled at least 51% by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. Visit the SBA website for more information on the 8(a) Business Development program.

Many firms start out selling their services at the local or state levels, but Munoz started CSC with the intention of serving the federal Government as the primary client.  Munoz is a Civil Engineer... Read More

Sarah Blake Elipsis Engineering and Consulting

Orlando, FLA. -  Sarah Blake, President, Elipsis Engineering & Consulting, recently won the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) State of Florida Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year. Blake attended George Mason University, and was interviewing with one of Orlando’s largest employers after graduating in 2002 but she accepted a position with a large engineering firm because the interview process was so lengthy. 

Armed with a business degree and a drive to succeed, Blake rapidly climbed the ranks at the company. Blake was promoted to project manager, over contracts worth several million dollars within a year of being employed.  Blake felt that she reached her career growth potential after 5 years at the large engineering firm and accepted a position at a smaller engineering firm as the service operations manager responsible for the day to day business operations as well as project/contract management and oversight.  In 2009, Blake found herself like many others in... Read More