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Success Stories


What happens when you fuse traditional Italian recipes with soul food grilling? You get The Black Italian Grill Kitchen. In 2008, Chef Paula Hunter was cooking and needed to add meat to her traditional marinara sauce. So, she used hamburgers just cooked by her husband, “Grill Master” Anthony Hunter. The combination of flavors was unique, and a fast-casual catering company was born. Paula, who had lost her job due to the 2009 recession, focused on growing her small business and expanding the menu with more Italian family recipes and Anthony’s grilled meats. The Black Italian business continued to grow.  Paula and Anthony honed their business skills by taking classes offered by the SBA and its resource partners – the Louisville Small Business Development Center (SBDC), SCORE and Women's Business Center (WBC) of Kentucky, as well as Louisville Metro Government, and Community Ventures, an SBA microlender. By participating in these business-... Read More


Apex Entertainment, LLC operates two multiplex movie theatres: the landmark Village 8 Theatres, which offers first-run discounted movies and hosts special events; and Baxter Avenue Theatres, which has exclusive first-run, foreign and independent movies. Apex is Louisville’s only independent theatre chain. Both Village 8 and Baxter Avenue have a loyal following. Customers love Village 8’s discounted movie ticket programs like “$2 Tuesday” and Baxter’s Midnight Movie showings of cult classics. They have a business model different from the big movie chains. The theatres are in middle class neighborhoods where patrons can walk to see a movie. They have a dedicated staff, loyal clientele and a work-friendly environment. Mr. Leslie (Les) Aberson, President and CEO of Apex Entertainment, is proud that the company offers employment to people with disabilities, along with employees who enjoy working with their local community, hosting film festivals... Read More


After holding mid-senior level positions in business development and strategic marketing roles with Fortune 1000 Companies and assignments with the U.S. Air Force Reserves and the Pentagon, Scott Allen decided to move back to his roots in west Kentucky and open Wisdom Tree Technologies, LLC (WTT) in 2007. WTT serves the defense, law enforcement, national security and inter-agency industries as well as corporations. The company is an SBA 8(a) certified business that is a Native-American and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) headquartered in Murray, KY. Despite the unique skills offered and SBA certifications, WTT had difficulty obtaining federal government contracts.

How the SBA helped

As President and CEO, Scott met with Cherie Guilford, Business Opportunity Specialist with the SBA Kentucky District Office. Cherie had over 20 years of experience with various federal government agencies as... Read More


In 2012, Mavis Linnemann-Clark opened The Delish Dish, a catering company in Covington, KY. She obtained a Catering and Personal Chef certificate in 2011, having combined her passion for travel, cooking globally inspired dishes with almost two decades of experience in the food service industry.

The following year, Mavis was a finalist for admittance to Bad Girl Ventures, a woman-focused startup accelerator in the region. She also joined the Northern Kentucky Incubator Kitchen and launched her artisan line of jams and jellies, called Made by Mavis.  

In 2015, Mavis became a member of the Kroger Buys Local Campaign through the Kentucky Proud® program for food certified as “raised, grown or processed in Kentucky by Kentuckians.” However, despite these successes, Mavis, needed help running the business side of her business. 

... Read More