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Lancaster couple finds business success with SBA resource partner

Owner becomes advocate for local Community First Fund Women’s Business Center

When Cinthia Kettering moved to the United States from Ecuador with her husband Paul at 22 years old, she immediately went straight into entrepreneurship. Originally educated in law in Ecuador, Kettering created the company that has become the Bagnall Shaw Company, the insurance brokerage company where she serves as the President of Operations and Principal.  

Kettering first began her relationship with SBA more than five years ago through SBA’s resource partner, when she met Miriam Soto Director of Training and Business Lender and Counselor at the Community First Fund Women’s Business Center  

“As a successful and community minded business owner in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Cinthia is known in the local community as a person who will assist others in all areas, whether it is to translate and explain a letter received in the mail, finding a business that can provide the right service, teaching entrepreneurial skills or serving on the board of several community development organizations,” said Soto.  

The Women’s Business Center at Community First Fund provides training, customized business counseling, loan capital, and advocacy support to small business enterprises. The goal of the Center is to develop more knowledgeable, better prepared business owners through these services and outside resources.  

Kettering learned about the mission and goals of the Women’s Business Center at Community First Fund and worked with Soto to develop ideas to expand her business into new markets and with new products. Eventually, Kettering became an advocate for Community First Fund and its Women’s Business Center, even referring her own clients to the SBA resource partner and certified SBA lender.  

“Cinthia provides a wonderful example of how to pair leveraging SBA programs and resource partners into business success as well as how that success can serve not just as an example but also to support community involvement,” said Philadelphia District Director David Dickson.  

“When I found out Community First Fund existed and learned of their products, services and the mission of WBC I was beyond excited, I said to myself: finally there is an organization that will help to grow our economy with out-of-the-box thinking. Working with Miriam, Dan and their whole team has been extraordinary. Their knowledge, professionalism and the way they treat their clients and peers has exceeded my expectations. I will definitely continue working with them and referring as many customers as I can,” said Cinthia Kettering.  

In 2012, Kettering’s husband was looking for help to fund projects for his construction company, Monster Construction, LLC. One of the missions of Monster Construction, LLC is to refurbish residential homes in the city of Lancaster. This fits nicely with Community First Fund’s mission, which includes housing and community development in the areas it serves. With their similar missions in mind, the Ketterings turned to Community First Fund and the Women’s Business Center for support in order to receive a small business loan. The loan was used to help boost working capital as different construction projects were under way.  

Monster Construction, LLC has now rehabilitated many residential homes in low-income areas around the Lancaster community and has helped in the overall development of those areas.  

“Cinthia is not only a savvy business owner but she has also become a community leader. The Women’s Business Center at Community First Fund is proud to be able to call Cinthia a client and looks forward to her continued success,” said Community First Fund CEO Daniel Betancourt.