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Lessons to be Learned from Tanya Chemodurow of Abatement Contractors of Montana
After eight years, Tanya Chemodurow finally has a place to hang her kimono.
Sitting in Tanya’s very modern office at Abatement Contractors of Montana, LLC, with a kimono hanging on the wall, it’s hard to believe she started in an old 100 square foot apartment building in East Missoula. Touring her new 6,000 square foot facility, Tanya’s passion and devotion for the business she has developed from the ground up is evident.
Chemodurow is an SBA all-star. She’s received an SBA 504 loan through Montana Community Finance Corporation, became 8(a) certified for federal contracting and graduated from SBA’s e200 Emerging Leaders program.
“All really go hand-in-hand,” said Chemodurow.
She learned about the 8(a) program while attending a PTAC (Procurement Technical Assistance Center) conference. SBA’s 8(a) Business Development program is a nine-year program established to assist eligible socially and economically disadvantaged individuals to develop and grow their business through federal contracting. Although the program does not specifically treat women as social and economically disadvantaged, Chemodurow was able to prove with evidence that she was in fact disadvantaged. (SBA defines socially disadvantaged individuals as those who have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias because of their identity as a member of a group without regard to their individual capabilities.)
“It wasn’t easy,” Chemodurow said. After two years and four denials, SBA finally approved Chemodurow’s application and certified Abatement Contractors of Montana, LLC, as 8(a). Chemodurow is currently in her fifth year of the nine-year program and has been awarded over 200 contracts for more than $16 million dollars with her 8(a) status.
As an 8(a) company, Chemodurow was invited to participate in SBA’s inaugural e200 Emerging Leaders program in 2011. She almost didn’t sign-up as it was a seven-month, 100-hour commitment traveling to Helena every other week, but she felt like it was important to learn more, to fill in her weak spots and become more comfortable with her business financials.
She said she is glad she didn’t turn down the opportunity to gain so much knowledge and make new contacts. During the e200 Emerging Leaders program, one of the segments was on financing and Linda Kindrick of Montana Community Finance Corporation was a guest panelist. That’s where Chemodurow learned about SBA’s 504 loan program and began wondering if that loan product would work for her business and her growth plan. After graduating from the e200 class Chemodurow approached Kindrick and began the process of obtaining a 504 loan for her new facility. The three-year strategic growth plan that she put together during the e200 program was instrumental in helping her obtain the loan.
Chemodurow credits her success to her commitment to taking advantage of every available opportunity and to always making time and a concerted effort to learn more.
“I’ve been in the right place at the right time many times, and it’s not by accident,” Chemodurow said.
As for her future plans, Chemodurow said she will continue to learn and continue to grow. “I’ve learned a lot by trial and error and I’ve learned that if I don’t try, I’m not only going to not get anything, but I’m also not going to learn.”