Success Stories

Every other Tuesday retired PepsiCo executive and SCORE volunteer Tim Martin brings a unique big business perspective to a group of successful Indiana small business owners who hope to learn how to more effectively grow their companies.  Martin teaches the SBA’s Emerging Leaders program.

Emerging Leaders is a free training program implemented by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) which offers small business owners powerful benefits and learning experiences including innovative growth strategies, financing know-how, access to new markets and networking with peers.  The seven-month program is for established small businesses that have been in business for at least three years with revenues between $400,000 to $10 million per year.  This is the third year that the SBA Indiana District Office has offered Emerging Leaders, and District Director Stacey Poynter says this intense “mini-MBA” style training is a great way for entrepreneurs to take the next step forward.... Read More

For Chris Walls, it all began with a love for maps.

“I always loved maps.  When we were in the car when I was growing up, I was always looking at where we were going.”

Walls says his favorite maps were made by Rand McNally, who was the premier publisher of paper maps and atlases in the United States.   Being on the road with his family taught Walls an important thing—geology doesn’t change, but with the evolution of tech, how maps were presented to consumers had to.  So, Walls went to Indiana University, obtained a degree in geology and began a career in Geographic Information Systems.

Geographic Information Systems, or GIS, is computerized mapping.  It takes all the information needed for a flat paper map; coordinates, topography, roads, etc.; and inputs it online.  As Walls says, working in GIS, “is kind of like being immersed in Rand McNally, and creating it for the 21st Century.”

After school, Walls worked as a GIS Tech at the Indiana Geological... Read More

The Real Taste of Community Stewardship

SBA programs help Indiana businessman give back to his Martindale Brightwood neighborhood

“Have you ever been walking down the street, smelled the best fried chicken you’ve ever smelled in your life and wondered, ‘where’s that coming from?’  Well, you don’t have to wonder any more.  It’s coming from Real Taste Catering, right here in Indianapolis, Indiana!”

This pitch almost won Mark Webster $10,000 at the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit in 2015.  Webster owns Real Taste Catering, which began when he and his wife were approached by her cousin to cater her wedding in 1997. 

“When I was in college, I majored in criminal justice, but was always known as the chef for frat parties,” says Webster.  “After I graduated and got married, I was a Parole Officer in Indianapolis but my wife and I still threw epic house parties with great food.  When my wife’s cousin asked if we’d cater her wedding, we didn’t know anything... Read More

Tom and Joy Shaver opened Tom’s Marine Sales in 1969 in Crawfordsville, Indiana.  They had joined a boat club at nearby Lake Holiday and found that no one knew how to fix motorized boats.

“Tom’s family owns a farm, so he knew how to fix things,” daughter-in-law Lori Shaver said.  “He spent a lot of time fixing farm equipment and figured boat motors couldn’t be that much different.  Tom saw the need, so he and Joy opened a shop basically to fix their friends’ boats.”

Lori said that Tom and Joy’s son Ken had always worked at the shop.  Ken and Lori met when they were both students at Purdue University.  After graduation, they moved to Crawfordsville and Ken went back to working with his dad.  Meanwhile, Lori went to work at Temple-Inland, a corrugated box and container manufacturer.   “Working at Inland was good,” Lori said, “because it gave me experience in the corporate world and gave me an outside perspective of how to do business.”  Lori stayed at Temple-Inland for... Read More