Success Stories

When Mohamed Haji trained as an auto body mechanic he dreamed of opening his own shop. After years working in the industry he reached out to one of SBA’s Microlending Program partners, the African Development Center (ADC), to quit dreaming and start doing. However, with a low credit score and limited knowledge of finance, he had some work to do before starting.

How the SBA and partner helped:

Sitting down with ADC counselor Emma Kasiga in 2015, Haji worked on budgeting, paying down debt and disputing errors on his credit report. He also took an entrepreneurial class at ADC and began, with Emma’s guidance, to work on his business plan.

Upon reviewing the plan, his lack of capital and credit history revealed he was not ready to start the whole auto body shop but could begin with a small part of the big vision – the towing business. While it was part of his big picture, he hadn’t considered it as a stepping stone. With the help of ADC and an SBA... Read More


Helping others become better versions of themselves is something that comes naturally to Kirk and Amanda Hendrickson.  This is evidenced by both their current business, Iron Jungle CrossFit in Hutchinson, Minn., and by their previous work as youth ministers in the area.

When his dad died Kirk decided it was time to get more physically fit and joined a CrossFit gym. Discovering that his passion for helping others could be channeled in this way, he spoke with Amanda and they decided to jump into something new. Both come from families of entrepreneurs, so starting their own small business made a lot of sense to them. Deciding to move forward, the Hendricksons contacted SBA’s Microloan Program partner, Southwest Initiative Foundation (SWIF), for the technical assistance and capital needed to help start their business.

How the SBA and partners helped:

When the Hendricksons went to SWIF as a start-up business in 2014, they received a microloan that... Read More


Minnesota-based Fairway Dairy and Ingredients LLC, a leading seller and buyer of dairy commodities (cheeses, milk powder, whey, butter and dairy proteins) in the Upper Midwest, was established in 2002 by brothers John and Thomas Beatty. From a young age, the brothers found interesting ways to make money - from lemonade stands to selling sunflower seed starts to passing motorists. After college, they combined their experience to make money together with Fairway Dairy. The company had a rapidly growing animal feed division, and began looking at expanding via exporting, as they had done some indirect exporting to Asia in the past with agents.

How the SBA helped:

To support its growth, Fairway Dairy needed an additional funding source that wouldn’t interfere with its domestic business. To do this John and Tom began talking to their banker, Lowell Collman at Citizens Bank Minnesota, who introduced them to SBA Regional Export Finance Manager Carlos Sosa... Read More

From handsprings to business owner, Brenda Nolby learned cartwheels and more from her self-taught cheerleading mother and advanced her own skills through gymnastics teams in high school and college.  Her passion for self-growth was matched by her drive to help others succeed.  Giving back to her community by creating a thriving business and using it as a vehicle to improve lives is why she was chosen to be the 2018 Minnesota SBA Small Business Person of the Year.

Jam Hops Gymnastics Factory, Inc., in Ham Lake, Minn., is in the business of transforming children’s lives, strengthening their future and improving their community. Its core business offers many opportunities including youth classes and competitive programs for gymnastics and dance, cheer-leading and ninja classes, an academic preschool and a theater program. These provide families with activities that are beneficial for the over-all development of children.

Jam Hops was formed in 1997 with the merger of two... Read More