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Success Stories


U.S. Marine Corps veteran Frank Harris is a decision-maker.  Starting with his military service, in which he was assigned to military transport and artillery, Harris found his niche as a heavy equipment operator. After leaving the service, he continued working in the field, rising quickly to supervisory positions.


Harris is also a risk-taker and in 2009, he saw an opportunity to start Columbus-based small business, John Cecil Construction. Named in honor of his brother, Harris started building a reputation for quality workmanship.

SBA Resources

Working with SBA business opportunity specialists, Harris quickly became certified as an 8(a), veteran-owned and HUBZone federal contractor.


He also entered into the SBA All Small Mentor Protégé program, a joint venture initiative that allows new contractors to learn from small businesses that have had successful experience in federal procurement. Harris states that the partnership was invaluable, as... Read More


To U.S. Navy veteran Angie Beck, pets are family and should be treated with care. With three dogs, she often wished for an alternative to kenneling her pets while traveling and came up with the idea for Belpre-based small business, Boxers Bed and Biscuits.


When she proposed her idea to bankers, she was turned down again and again. She started her business, buying a small house that she converted into a business without a loan in 2011, but quickly found that she needed more capital.


SBA Resources

Frustrated, she turned to an SBA-funded business resource, Ohio University’s Small Business Development Center. Business counselors helped Angie develop a financial package, which included a business plan and budget projections for her business.


In 2017, Angie was able to secure an SBA-guaranteed loan through Huntington Bank to expand her business. In May 2018, she moved Boxers Bed and Biscuits to a large facility in downtown Belpre after... Read More

When the local Friendly's ice cream franchise closed in Ashland, Ohio, Nancy Pauly recognized an opportunity to open her own small ice cream and frozen yogurt shop, EVA's Treats.

Though she had visited a number of franchises specializing in frozen treats, Pauly decided to run her own small business so she could have more creative freedom to make business decisions.

"I wanted to be able to create a community-focused business that offered unique flavors and toppings that support and celebrate our city's small businesses," she said. To achieve that goal, Pauly partnered with local small business, Crazy Monkey Bakery, to provide granola toppings and sourced some of her other toppings from the local candy and nut shops in the downtown area.

Pauly worked with First National Bank to obtain an SBA-guaranteed loan to purchase top-of-the-line equipment to open her froyo shop in July 2013.

"The SBA's low-interest rate helped me buy the equipment that I needed to... Read More

Situation: Barbara Smith, owner of Cincinnati-based steel fabrication and erection company, Journey Steel, has never been afraid to make her own path to success. With more than 29 years of experience in the construction industry, working with Fortune 500 companies and preparing multi-million dollar budgets, Smith saw an opportunity to stand out as a small business owner.

"There are not a lot of black women in construction," Smith said. "I've always had a drive to succeed and, by becoming a small business owner, I saw my chance to create a niche business and stand out against my competitors."

Smith partnered with Tom Garten, who also had a strong background in construction and project management, to launch Journey Steel in 2009.

Solution: Smith has used SBA resources every step of the way in her business growth. To help prepare for government contracting, she tapped an SBA-powered Procurement Technical Assistance Center and Journey Steel became certified as... Read More