Success Stories

At a time when people turn 50 years old and start to think about retirement, there are some people like George Brydon who are just catching their second wind.

Brydon is part of a new clique of entrepreneurs known as encore entrepreneurs who are starting their own businesses just when others their age are planning on slowing down and taking it easy.

“I was a regional vice president for a large corporation that was involved with paper and janitorial supplies,” recalled Brydon.  “I worked in the business for 30 years.  In 1999, the company was sold and went through a reorganizational change with new leadership.  I guess my tolerance for change wasn’t that high so I decided it was time for me to leave.”

After a stress inducing corporate career, you can literally say George went sailing off into the sunset.  He and his wife moved to St. Petersburg, Fla. where they moved aboard a sailboat with their daughter.   But that wasn’t the end of this story.  George wasn’t... Read More

What can you learn from SBA South Florida District Small Business Persons of the Year?  Read about Steve Miller who found a business idea at work. Lisa Hickey expanded a woman-owned screen printing business.  John Diaz lost his job then started his own industrial supply business. What are you waiting for? Become a small business owner like these pros!

On-The-Job Idea Turns Into Successful Small Business for Owner Steve Miller


Simply put, Steve Miller likes to tinker.

                Once Steve gets an idea in his head, he’s not letting it go until after he’s studied it closely, taken it apart, reassembled the pieces, and see if he can’t make it perform better.  He’s not afraid of getting a little dirt under his fingernails in the process.  The Boynton Beach, Fla., registered nurse created his own small business success in his spare time simply by chasing his ideas.

                “When I started in nursing, more than one of the other nurses told me that I wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer because I couldn’t remember step-by-step procedures and had to write them down on three-by-five cards.” said Miller.  “So instead of letting their negative remarks get to me, I started to view myself as a really good spoon and not a knife.  I realized I needed to find a role where spoon qualities were essential because I considered myself the best there was.”   

               ... Read More

Lisa Hickey Has Been There, Done That AND Prints the T-shirts

When Lisa Hickey took over the ownership of her father’s business, Douglass Screen Printers in 1996, she not only faced a transforming industry driven by technology change but a more daunting challenge:  being a female CEO in an industry where there were few peers. 

“My father brought me into the business in the 1980s so I was very familiar with the screen printing business,” said Hickey.  “When I took over as owner, I knew of very few women who owned businesses, and none like mine.  It’s very important to have a network of trusted peers”. 

Hickey accepted the challenge and moved forward to grow the business.  Today, with three locations, employing more than 45 people and being ranked in the top 10% of all screen printing businesses in the nation, Hickey’s Douglass Screen Printers is a testament to success.  She credits the company’s livelihood with taking advantage of entrepreneur programs at the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of South... Read More