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Vera Hall of Innovative Performance Construction Co.

Vera Hall
Principal & Managing Member
Innovative Performance Construction Co.

Jackson, MS

With guidance from the SBA Mississippi District Office and her local Procurement Technical Assistance Center, Vera Hall positioned her small business to better compete for government contracts. Vera has over 10 years’ experience in construction management.

A college vocational ed class sparked her interest in the industry. As part of a class project, she helped replace her grandmother’s door—still standing as a reminder of her first project and how a small thing can do a world of good for someone. Vera knew she wanted her small business to capitalize on local SBA assistance so her team and community could benefit. A lifelong resident of Mississippi, Vera is working for change in her community of Jackson, helping renovate historic churches and affordable housing. Using SBA contracting assistance programs and surety bonding, Innovative Performance Construction has risen to prominence in the industry.

Challenge
It’s difficult to be a woman competing in the construction industry. Vera is not just doing the hard work to secure the contract; she’s also working to correct a perception. She knew that becoming a government contractor would empower her while also scaling up her small business. One of her biggest obstacles was figuring out the government contracting process. Bidding on and winning these projects can be a daunting process for a small construction firm. She needed expert business counselors who could guide Innovative Performance Construction through the process and provide best practices at no additional cost.

SBA Solution
The Hinds Community College Small Business Development Center helped Vera startup her new small business. SBA Resource Partners across the state offer mentoring, counseling, and training for free or low cost to help entrepreneurs like Vera. Business Adviser James Bennett guided her on how to succeed as a government contractor. She took advantage of every course she could, increasing her business know-how on Requests for Proposals, negotiating, contract types, and the GSA schedule.

Innovative Performance Construction has also successfully completed large contracts with the help of SBA-backed surety bonding. Surety bond guarantees help small businesses get the bonding support they need to more successfully compete for construction contracts until they can qualify for bonding in the conventional market.

Also essential to Vera’s growth was the SBA Emerging Leaders program. She received business training and networking opportunities that accelerated the growth of her small business. In the class, she created a three-year growth plan, which requires the entrepreneur to review the fundamentals of business ownership. Vera committed to the seven-month program because she wanted to develop that long-term growth plan with business experts.

The SBA Mississippi District Office staff then directed Vera to the SBA 8(a) Business Development Program, which provides free business development education to better compete in the public sector. She had the opportunity to meet with government contracting specialists so that she could understand what agencies were looking for and how to best bid for these contracts. She got invaluable training on how to develop business systems and secured the Woman-owned Small Business certification. Innovative Performance Construction was also able to earn a HUBZone designation because its office is located in a historically underused business zone and employs people from this area, opening up more job opportunity for those who need it most. This designation allows special access to federal contracts.

Benefit
Vera says the key to success is executing effectively within your scope of financial capital and talent, ensuring you stay on schedule and within budget. Do that, and clients will keep coming back and referring you, she says. Vera started the construction company from her kitchen table and has grown it to over twenty employees with a second office in Jefferson County. She increased her employees’ earnings and added new benefits, like providing health insurance options, continuing education, and 401k profit-sharing plan. This has had a significant effect on the quality of life for her team. Vera believes in family and believes in creating a family atmosphere with her team, thus giving them the opportunity to invest their time, talents and efforts in IPC. The IPC team believes in the success of IPC, because of their vested interest and family-oriented atmosphere. The IPC family knows that completing projects on time and within budget reflects the family/team and will provide financial rewards and exhibit a spirit of excellence. Vera says, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, there is no space for doing less than your best.