Success Stories

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


After a 25-year project management career working with NASA and later in commercial banking, Stacey Smith opened Prairie Quest Consulting (PQC), in 2004. The professional services company provides program management, training and IT management support to local, state, and federal government and commercial customers.  Headquartered in Fort Wayne, PQC got its start with a contract converting HR and payroll data for the state of Indiana.

How SBA helped Stacey’s business grow:

“Having worked as a contractor for the federal government, I was already familiar with 8(a),” Stacey said, “so I applied for and was accepted into the program almost immediately.”

The SBA 8(a) Business Development Program is a 9-year program established to help socially and economically disadvantaged entrepreneurs develop and grow their business.  Business development assistance includes one-on-one counseling, training workshops, matchmaking opportunities, and increases... Read More

B2S Life Sciences is a biotherapeutic enablement company advancing improved analytical methods and outcomes for developers of biotherapeutic drugs and diagnostics.

What does that mean?

B2S Life Sciences develops tests. Pharmaceutical and biotech companies use these tests to ensure “safety and efficacy” to meet FDA regulatory guidelines for the biotherapeutic drugs and diagnostics they develop.  These drugs and diagnostics include ways for diabetics to take insulin without shots, drugs that will help a person's body fight its own cancer, and gene therapy to help Alzheimer's patients.

B2S started as a life sciences consulting firm in 2002.  By 2013, they knew they wanted to expand so B2S approached the Central Indiana Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Indianapolis for help with their business plan. Chief Executive Officer Aleks Davis said this decision proved to be extremely valuable.

"SBDC helped us fine-tune our strategy," Davis said.  "They... Read More