Success Stories

Situation:

Oscarware, Inc. is a family-owned manufacturing business, founded in 1989 by the wife and husband team of Debra and Reg Dudley. Sensing the anything-can-be-grilled trend, they invented a new product they called “grill topper,” making it possible to cook a variety of meals on an outdoor grill. The original grill topper product transformed the traditional backyard barbeque menu from hamburgers and hotdogs to fish, vegetables and pizza as grillers became more creative. In 2001, three major national accounts filed for bankruptcy, creating a severe cash crunch. Two years later, Debra’s husband of twenty-four years had two strokes. In 2005, Reg passed away suddenly from a heart attack. Reg had manufacturing technical knowledge as well as how the equipment and machines worked. Now Debra had to quickly learn the manufacturing side of the business. Insufficient cash flow made alternative sources of financing a premium cost, resulting in difficulties... Read More
Situation In 2013, Alejandro Ramirez retired as a U.S. Army combat officer after 22 years of military service. Mr. Ramirez started Universal Spartan, LLC in 2013, a company that provides a one-stop federal government product sourcing solution for tactical, IT, electrical and medical equipment. The company is a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business.     Despite the experience and contacts, company revenues grew slowly. Sales were mostly to individuals through e-commerce, not with federal agencies. Solution: How the SBA helped Mr. Ramirez connected with the Small Business Development Center in Elizabethtown, near the Ft. Knox Army Base where he had served. The SBDC helped him develop a business plan and financial projections for the business.   Before retiring, he also participated in the SBA Boots to Business program and later participated as a guest speaker for the program at Ft. Knox.   Alejandro Ramirez sought more advice from the SBDC on how to grow revenue. The SBDC... Read More

Situation

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 assistance.   Ms. Yu stated, “Chris Wooldridge with... Read More

Situation

In 2013, Alejandro Ramirez retired as a U.S. Army combat officer after 22 years of military service. Mr. Ramirez started Universal Spartan, LLC in 2013, a company that provides a one-stop federal government product sourcing solution for tactical, IT, electrical and medical equipment. The company is a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business.     Despite the experience and contacts, company revenues grew slowly. Sales were mostly to individuals through e-commerce, not to federal agencies.

Solution: How the SBA helped

Mr. Ramirez connected with the University of Kentucky SBDC in Elizabethtown, near the Ft. Knox Army Base where Mr. Ramirez had served.  The SBDC helped him develop a business plan and financial projections for the business.   Before retiring, Mr. Ramirez also participated in the SBA Boots to Business program and later participated as a guest speaker for the program at Ft. Knox.   Mr. Ramirez had sought advice from the SBDC on how to grow... Read More

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