Success Stories

Five years out, SBA Emerging Leaders graduate is thriving better than ever

What do you do when corporate downsizing makes you rethink your career goals?  Well if you’re like Gloria Carter-Hicks, CEO of Hicks-Carter-Hicks consulting firm, you take your severance pay and invest in control of your own destiny.  You start your own business. A graduate of Alton Senior High School and the University of Missouri-St. Louis, Carter-Hicks was raised in an entrepreneurial household.
“My father ran Carter’s Groceries in Alton, Illinois, a business of 37 years.  So I had a role model to look up to and then I entered the corporate world so it wasn’t like I was new to business, “she said.
Prior to launching her business in 1999, Carter-Hicks attended free start-up classes offered by SCORE, a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration.  As her business grew she took advantage of every class and networking opportunity offered by the SBA, including the very first session of the Emerging Leaders Initiative, executive level training... Read More

The U.S. Small Business Administration offers a variety of programs to help entrepreneurs start, build and grow their businesses. But even if a business never requires extra help with capital or counseling they can still receive a boost in business from participation in some lesser known SBA programs. That has been the experience of O’Fallon Casting, a nonferrous investment casting company based in O’Fallon Missouri.  

O’Fallon Casting produces a specialized foundry product for a relatively small international market. Purchased in 2003, O’Fallon Casting has evolved from being an above average foundry to a vibrant world class operation that more than doubled its annual revenue, from $10 million to $25 million, and added 70 additional jobs to the St. Louis economy. As it has grown the company also increased its focus on expanding technology and reaching out to the community.

Among the many initiatives implemented by the company was an increase in community involvement... Read More


When Elliott Henry arrived in St. Louis in the late 1950s, he had $35 in his pocket and a burning desire to land a factory job. With patience and a lot of determination Elliott landed his dream job at McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Company as a utility worker. But despite, good pay and benefits and constant recognition for his work, something was missing. Little did he know that a call for help from a local cleaning company was about to take his life in a completely different direction.   

After responding to a help-wanted ad in his neighborhood, Elliott took on a part-time job at a local janitorial company. He enjoyed the work so much that he often worked a full 8-hour shift after leaving his day job at McDonnell Douglas. He learned the cleaning business first hand and attended evening seminars to expand his leadership skills. His hard work and dedication paid off in the form of a promotion to vice president of the janitorial company, enabling Elliott to leave his day job at... Read More

The staff of the SBA St. Louis District Office enjoyed the atmosphere while dining at the South City Diner located at 3139 South Grand in St. Louis. Owner, Peter Spoto is a recipient of an SBA 7A loan and now has opened a second diner near the Fox Theater.

During this holiday season, you have the power to make a big difference in your local community by shopping and dining small on the Saturday following Thanksgiving. When you help your local economy, it benefits the larger economy because small businesses create two out of every three net new jobs and employ more than half of the country's private workforce.

Since you're going to be shopping and going out to eat anyway (and, you know that you are), why not make a concerted, conscious effort to shop and eat at local small businesses.

Saturday, November 28, 2015 is Small Business Saturday® – a day to celebrate and support small businesses for all they contribute to our communities.

On that Saturday, visit... Read More