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Success Stories

Sandra Harris worked as a community manager for 20 years, but always had the dream of owning her own business. As someone who overcame living in subsidized housing, she cultivated her passion by assisting single mothers living in low-income housing to become self-sufficient homeowners.

In 2018 she became a real estate broker for her company, Virtue Realty LLC, whose mission is to educate, equip, and empower women in business and to combat the wealth gap by helping them to become homeowners.

After learning about and attending a workshop for women entrepreneurs hosted by the SBA Georgia District Office, she knew her life would change if she followed the steps presented in the class. “The SBA staff made me believe that entrepreneurship was possible and that my dream doesn’t have to remain a dream – it can become a reality,” she said.

The next year, the pandemic hit and Sandra realized she needed a plan to continue thriving as a small business owner.

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Kraig Torres always had a love of beer. After departing the Coast Guard and moving with his wife to Atlanta, he eventually opened up his dream business, a store offering craft beers from all over the world. Hop City Craft Beer & Wine opened in 2009 when the economy was still struggling to recover from a recession. He had some capital from the sale of a previous auto repair business but still needed a bank loan.

What challenge did you have? “We thought of Atlanta as a city of opportunity and it has been,” he says. “It was a terrible economy to open a business but I saw an opportunity to offer something that was not being offered in Atlanta,” Torres says. “I had some capital from the sale of the auto repair shop but also needed a bank loan. That proved to be very difficult. They kept telling me ‘nobody else is doing what you want to do.’ I ended up going to 32 different banks before finally getting a loan from a private bank that was opening a branch in Atlanta.”

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SBA Helps Concrete Contractor Build a Solid Foundation


 In 2010, Billy Freeman started Technique Concrete, a small concrete finishing company in Atlanta. Billy started the company so that he could spend more time working together with his aging father, a lifelong concrete mason and carpenter. What started as a father and son operation has grown into a major construction company that employs more than 100 workers, with annual revenues exceeding $ 45 million. Technique’s success and growth has not come without its share of challenges. 

Shortly after launching the company Billy’s father passed away leaving him to run the business alone. Looking for help to guide his decisions, he visited the Georgia District Office and found a wealth of resources. He was connected to SCORE, Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center for counseling and training workshops. It wasn’t until he enrolled into the 8a program that was he able to fully appreciate the value of the SBA assistance he received. 

Billy credits the SBA and his... Read More

Restaurant Owner Diego Velasquez


 Meet Diego Velasquez who, after working more than 14 years in the Georgia restaurant industry, decided to open his own restaurant, Tacos and Tequilas Mexican Grill, in Atlanta. What started in 2010 as a small restaurant quickly became successful; prompting Diego to open a second location. The dream and the success continued and today Diego owns four locations spread throughout metro-Atlanta, that have altogether created more than 120 new jobs. 

When Diego launched the first location he used his saving and support from his family. However, when he wanted to expand to additional locations he knew he needed help. He was advised to visit the local SBDC to discuss financing options. In addition to discussing financing options, he received assistance with revenue forecasting, competitive analysis, demographic reports and help compiling all of the information required for his loan package. “I was impressed by how much they helped me. Usually when you apply for a loan, you... Read More