Success Stories

Michael and Tracey Benson

Tracey and Michael Benson started their business, MT Needles Embroidery in 2013, because they needed to be able to work from home while caring for their mother.  During the first two years, revenues grew 220 percent and today is on track to grow another 75 percent. The owners said assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has been key to their success.

“The advice that we received helped us to get our business started on the right foot, which was very important,” said Tracey.

The Bensons utilized three of the SBA’s resource partners located in El Paso: SCORE, the Women’s Business Border Center (WBBC), and the Small Business Development Center (SBDC). They received many hours of free counseling from each organization, including accounting assistance from SCORE, business plan development and SBA loan package preparation from the SBDC, and guidance in obtaining a Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) certification from the WBBC.“They... Read More

Frank Spencer

Frank Spencer III was born and raised in Pecos, Texas. After playing American Gridiron Football in Australia and graduating from Texas A&M University, Frank began his career in the mortgage lending industry, but his career path took a new direction after one fateful conversation with his father in 2006.

“I was having a conversation at the dinner table with my father about starting my own business, when my father offered to sell me his business for $1,000,” said Frank.

At that time, Aztec Contractors was a dormant business, but Frank purchased the rights to the business name. He has a strong desire to live up to the family legacy of building and construction, and wanted to keep the business name. Although Frank has experience in financial lending, he looked to his father, Frank X Spencer, for guidance in starting the construction business.

“When I acquired the business, my father had a business down the street and he gave me a space to work, but he still... Read More

Willie Jenkins Jr., Owner of Freedom Janitorial Services

Willie Jenkins Jr., owner of Freedom Janitorial Services, is a true example of the American dream. After serving active duty and reserve for 21 years in the United States Army, Jenkins struggled to find permanent employment. He found himself at a low point trying to support his family, after being laid off from a major contracting company and then turned down for other jobs because he was overqualified.

Jenkins sought guidance from his pastor, Dr. Mikel Brown, who is also the Founder and President of Dream Makers 99, a faith-based organization that provides business development assistance to aspiring entrepreneurs. Dr. Brown inspired Jenkins to create his own job by starting a cleaning service.

“I didn’t even own my first mop bucket,” said Jenkins. “I had to borrow that from someone else.”

Jenkins started his business by assisting the people in his church. The business continued to expand into what is now known as Freedom Janitorial Services. Freedom Janitorial... Read More

Yolanda Diaz, President of Mirador Enterprises

Yolanda Diaz, President of Mirador Enterprises, had always aspired to become an entrepreneur, but patiently waited for the right opportunity. She learned the ins and outs of developing a small business and competing for federal contracts by attending various free training courses offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration. In 2002, Yolanda opened her facility maintenance and management business with her two employees, Hector Martinez and Pete Diaz.  Hector still works for Mirador today and is the VP of Operations.

“As a single mother I was nervous, but I decided to take the plunge anyways. I was inspired by my brother’s success with his business, and when I heard about the Fort Bliss expansion I knew it was time to open a business of my own,” said Diaz.

In the start-up phase of the business, Yolanda generated just enough income to pay her two employees. She continued to work full time as a regional accounting manager for a local gas company. Eventually Yolanda... Read More

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