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Success Stories

Dedrick Tool & Dye CEO Deb Dedrick in her family's precision machine shop where they "make and fix the little parts that make the big parts work."

Deb Dedrick is a fireball of energy and a self-proclaimed “serial entrepreneur.”  Over the past 20+ years, she has run as many as five companies at one time, and raised four children. And, in her most recent one, she’s led a sales expansion and growth with help from the SBA and its resource partners.

In 2000, she took on the entrepreneurial venture as CEO of her family’s struggling tool & die shop, Dedrick Tool & Die.  Dedrick saw the precision machine business as “having become complacent.”  Equipment was old and production processes hadn’t been changed in over two decades.  She implemented a new software package to streamline production which she says was a “…big challenge.  I had to do a lot of persuading and act as an influencer in order to get buy-in from staff and clients.”

Dedrick’s powers of persuasion worked.  The company became more in-line with the times, productive, and landed some stable clients.  This allowed Dedrick Tool & Die to, as Dedrick... Read More

39 Degrees North Co-Owner Chris Walls

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—geography 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 geography 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 into online databases.  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... Read More

Real Taste Catering Inc. owner Mark Webster stands outside his corporate offices in the Martindale Brightwood neighborhood of Indianapolis.  Webster, a participant in this year’s SBA Emerging Leaders Program credits SBA with “putting hands on people who need it.”

SBA Programs Help Caterer’s Business Give Back to Indianapolis 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 about catering, but we did it anyway and it was just great... Read More

The owner of Indianapolis based RYAN Consulting Group, Keith Harding poses with SBA Administrator Linda McMahon after accepting his award as SBA Indiana District Office National Small Business Week 2017 8(a) Graduate of the Year.  Photo by Katie Maynard.

For Keith Harding, being an entrepreneur wasn’t his initial calling.  It became his reality after a car accident during high school left him a paraplegic. He applied for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) through the Social Security Administration and realized that it wasn’t an income on which he could survive. 

“I got my first check from SSI and it was $461. I knew I couldn’t sustain on that,” Harding says.

Almost 30 years later, Harding owns the Indianapolis based multi-million dollar tech company RYAN Consulting Group, which boasts close to 100 employees. His yearly net profit is well over 1,000 times as much as that first SSI check. 

After his accident and that first paltry check, Harding decided he wasn’t going to sit on his laurels and be content with life. Harding enrolled in a local training program and learned Common Business Oriented Language (COBOL), a computer programming language designed for business use. Harding began working for IBM in 1989, for... Read More