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Success Stories


Estimates show that developing a single prescription drug that gains market approval cost $2.6 billion. The further a drug goes into this process, from R&D to clinical trials to manufacturing, the more costly this financial roadblock becomes.  Kentucky-based Bexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc., is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the development and commercialization of innovative cures for cancer. Although it has been a challenge, the Bexion team will not give up on what is perhaps life-changing and sought-after cancer treatments.


Bexion received a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Institutes of Health in 2009. The U.S. Small Business Administration, which helps Americans start, grow, expand and recover their businesses, administers the SBIR and its  sister program, Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR). Through these competitive award programs, SBA ensures that the nation’s high-tech,... Read More


Chella Subram immigrated from India to the U.S. in 1992 to attend engineering graduate school. After graduation, he took a consulting job in Louisville, KY. Later, he opened Cornerstone Engineering, Inc. in Louisville. An engineering and design-build firm, CEI offers over 175 years of combined experience and has completed over 500 projects in more than 12 states. CEI core services include architectural and engineering design. The company also focuses on special inspections for new above ground and below ground buildings and utilities, assessments, restoration and strengthening for existing aging infrastructure. CEI specializes in modern strengthening technologies, including Carbon-Fiber and Glass-Fiber Reinforced Polymers (CFRP and GFRP), which has saved hundreds of hours of on-site-time and tens of millions of dollars on projects for the owners.  The business is minority and family-owned by Chella Subram and spouse Gloria Manimuthu.... Read More


Asian carp is an invasive species brought to the United States in the 1970s to control weeds and parasites on aquatic farms in the Southeast. This type of fish has spread rapidly and uncontrollably, particularly in the Mississippi River and its tributaries. Because of its large size, voracious appetite and ability to reproduce rapidly, Asian carp have crowded out native species fish and threatened the ecology. Yongqin “Angie” Yu, a native of China, is an entrepreneur with a banking background. She has been in the import-export business in the U.S. since 1991. Ms. Yu saw the Asian carp problem as an opportunity to export the fish back to China and Taiwan, where the fish is a delicacy.

Solution: How the SBA helped

In 2012, Angie Yu moved to rural West Kentucky to open a business focused on harvesting and processing fish, then shipping the product back to Asia. She approached the Murray State University SBDC for... Read More


C&R Beauty Bar is a premier salon for curly and natural hair services. Since founded in  2015 by Rodricka “Ricka” O’Bannon and Chenica Racine, the salon has offered custom hair services, including cuts and colors, extensions and custom units. C&R also offers makeup, facial waxing and bridal services. 

C&R is also a nontraditional teaching salon that offers classes and seminars to meet the needs of its niche market. Ricka O'Bannon also is nontraditional. After earning an accounting degree, she decided to follow her passion for a career in the beauty industry. But in 2019, the owners needed guidance to better manage business growth. 

Solution: How the SBA Helped

Ricka and Chenica enrolled in the Louisville Small Business Development Center’s Scale Up Louisville, a 12-week strategic planning program. The SBDC is an SBA resource partner. The intensive coursework required them to examine business operations, market, competitive... Read More