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Success Stories

Aston Lu, founder of Ocho Rios-Miami

After nearly three decades in business, the owners of specialty foods distributor Ocho Rios International are no strangers to the challenges and demands of growing a business. In 2014, when a credit line became vital when negotiating with potential suppliers, COO Aston Lue sought the guidance of the SBDC at Florida International University.

The quest for cash had drawn Lue away from the daily operations of the business and he needed to act quickly. “As the number of credit worthy customers grew, we required a line of credit because the products we import are in high demand and require prompt payment,” said Lue, who founded the company in 1987.

“We needed a cash outlay because many Far East suppliers are C.O.D.” Lue describes the SBDC at FIU mentor that worked with Ocho Rios as “a wizard at financial matters,” helping secure a line of credit from Capital Bank. Working closely with Lue and his partners, they put Ocho Rios on the right track for continued growth. “The... Read More

DORAL, Fla. - DemeTECH Corporation is a South Florida-based manufacturer of surgical sutures and blades that exports to more than 100 countries around the world. When its Chairman and CEO, Luis Arguello Sr., purchased DemeTECH in 2000, the company was doing less than $100,000 in sales – all of it from domestic buyers.   Today, more than 90% of its revenue – more than $10 million - comes from exports, including sales to the Middle East, Europe, Asia and Australia. In 2011, DemeTECH opened a new manufacturing facility in Miami Lakes which has helped to nearly quadruple its workforce since its modest beginnings.   Although DemeTECH’s road to success was paved with some challenges, Mr. Arguello’s foresight enabled his company to flourish by leveraging thesupport of various state and federal partners – including the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the Export Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) and the U.S. Commercial Service (USCS). Initially, one of Mr. Arguello’s greatest... Read More
Photo of Dawn Dickson
Dawn Dickson may be donning flats, but she’s walking tall these days. Dickson, founder of Miami based shoe company Flat Out of Heels, was named the 2016 second place winner in the Small Business Administration’s InnovateHer Business Challenge.   The national competition was created by the SBA to highlight and empower women entrepreneurs. With nearly 2,000 competitors, the second round of the InnovateHER Business Challenge began in August 2015.   The live pitch competition took place in March before a panel of expert judges that included media entrepreneur Nely Galan, MSNBC host JJ Ramberg, and haircare entrepreneur Lisa Price. The event “was a great opportunity to focus on products geared toward women,” says Dickson. “It brings to the forefront the issues women entrepreneurs are facing.”   The $20,000 reward for winning second place isn’t too bad either. “Winning the money definitely helped me with my business,” shesays, noting the money is being used to develop a new web site for the... Read More
Margaret Anglin, owner of Mr. Wireman, an electrical company, had been in business for 15 years before she came to the Florida Women’s Business Center.  The business was providing a livable income, Anglin was comfortable, but the business was not growing and was not moving forward.  In addition, she did not have a business or strategic plan, therefore she did not know whether there was a potential for growth nor how to make it happen.    When Anglin came to the FWBC and was asked if the business was certified, which it wasn’t; she was urged to become a vendor with the State of Florida and pursue certifications not only with the State but with Federal, County and local government.  But, self admittedly she didn’t take those directions.   “It wasn’t an easy task to start with. I came to Victoria, and she would give me instructions; but I kept thinking ‘I’m a small business, I can’t function in that space yet,’” said Anglin who credits growth strategies to FWBC Director Victoria Hughes... Read More

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