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Success Stories

Merry Korn, Pearl Interactive Network

When Merry Korn started her small business, Pearl Interactive Network, Inc., she initially struggled to find a niche for her small business. Even more daunting was the federal contracting certification process that she wanted to pursue. Merry reached out to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Columbus District Office to meet with Business Opportunity Specialist Jill Nagy-Reynolds.

“Jill had a massive impact on my business,” Merry said. “Even though I only had three employees, she treated me with respect and helped me through the process of becoming a certified woman-owned small business.”

Merry also received help from the local Procurement Technical Assistance Center and from Nancy Stoll at the Columbus Small Business Development Center. After becoming certified, Merry was able to secure a large contract with a prime contractor, helping her to expand her business to 550 employees and increasing her company revenue to $12 million. She was also able to move into a... Read More

Angela Petro, owner

Angela Petro’s self-described weaknesses of non-conformity and questioning the status quo became her biggest strengths when she began the path to small business ownership. After working for a hospitality business for a short time, she and a friend struck out into the catering industry, with their small business, Two Caterers. That small business fulfilled Angela’s desire to become her own boss and, with the help of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 504 and 7(a) loan programs, she has been in the catering business for 20 years, and branched out into opening her own local restaurant chain, Sweet Carrot.

 “As a small business, we initially struggled with understanding SBA lending requirements and why there were so many steps,” Petro said. “Over the years, I’ve come to understand that the SBA has specific requirements so that many small businesses can have an opportunity to succeed. If a small business doesn’t pay a loan back, they’re taking away another small business... Read More

Dr. Lance Chenault, ABDA President & CEO

In 2017, the U.S. Air Force celebrates 70 years of airpower, thanks in part to the innovation of small businesses. Entrepreneurs have helped the military research and develop top-of-the-line technology with new ideas and opportunities. Since founding Aerospace Business Development Associates in 1986, Air Force veterans Dr. Lance Chenault, Dr. Mike Braydich and Mr. Matt Di Biase have made it their mission to connect aerospace businesses with the Department of Defense.  Via the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Emerging Leaders program, ABDA is better poised to innovate and expand.

“The Emerging Leaders class helped us to make our message more impactful,” Chenault said. “The course was truly invaluable because it allowed you to network with other businesses and share best practices.”

The free program, which is offered at more than 50 cities across the nation, is designed for established small business owners interested in expanding an existing business. The... Read More

Zach Green, MN8 FoxFire

In 2010, Zachary Green created photoluminescent firefighting equipment to help him in his duties as a volunteer firefighter for the city of Wyoming, Ohio. He found that the steady glow from the equipment improved visibility in the dark, creating safer situations for emergency responders. Through the SBA exporting program, he was able to expand his business, delivering glow-in-the-dark safety equipment to 25 different countries.

“I tested the product at a local fire. Afterwards, the rest of the firefighters wanted to know who was glowing in the dark,” Green said. “When I showed them my helmet, they wanted to know where they could get one. Soon whole fire departments were ordering my product.”

The glow in his products is created by the element strontium and does not require electricity or an external battery. It is instead re-charged through exposure to light. As his product grew in popularity in the United States, Green met with the SBA in 2013 to talk about exporting... Read More

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