Success Stories


Nine years after graduating from the Texas Wesleyan University School of Law and earning her license to practice in the State of Texas, Sandra Cortes approached the Sul Ross State University-

Rio Grande College SBDC with one goal in mind. After working for a local law firm and gaining a vast amount of experience, the ambitious 33-year-old felt ready to open her own law firm in Eagle Pass, Texas.


Business Advisor Cynthia Gomez worked with Cortes to provide information on the appropriate legal structure, pre-venture licenses, and local permits associated with establishing an independent law firm. Gomez also guided Cortes in obtaining a commercial loan to support start up costs for her practice. In addition, Gomez assisted Cortes with human resources hiring policies and documents, including QuickBooks and Payroll services. To date, Gomez continues to assist in the areas of human resources, recordkeeping, and report... Read More

Samuel Maldonado left and Saul Maldonado right at Chase Tower in McAllen, Texas

Brothers Samuel and Saul Maldonado founded SAM Engineering & Surveying (SAMES) Inc. in June 2008 with only three employees and yearly sales of $400,000.  Today, the firm has grown to 55 employees with sales in excess of $4 million.  The brothers attribute part of their success with assistance provided by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

Starting initially as engineering and surveying firm, SAMES added general construction management services in 2010.  

“Early on, from a growth and expansion perspective, we felt that construction would bring in higher revenues as well as an opportunity to compete and be involved in bigger projects,” Samuel (Sam) Maldonado said.

The Maldonados soon discovered another essential strategy for growth when they learned about SBA’s 8(a) Business Development and the Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone) programs.

The SBA 8(a) Program helps socially and economically disadvantaged entrepreneurs gain a... Read More

Picture of Owner, Marlen Saenz

When Marlen Saenz began selling picture frames at a local flea market 12 years ago, she never dreamed her little business would grow to where it is now especially after receiving a SBA 504 Real Estate & Equipment Loan for $1.3 million dollars.

Marlen explains how a divorced gentleman enjoyed her frames and needed to add a feminine touch to his house.   The gentleman enthusiastically asked her if she’d be willing to decorate his home, and the rest is history. Guests at his housewarming party for Thanksgiving soon asked for her services and from there she started decorating schools, hospitals, attorney’s offices and the courthouse in the small rural town of Rio Grande City. She does not charge her customers for this service as long as the furniture and accessories are purchased from her store.

After two years at the flea market, she leased a location in Rio Grande City, Texas for two years before finding her current location that she owner financed and has been at... Read More

Mirna Davis

When Mirna Elizabeth Davis received a 30 pound box of pecans as a gift, she never imagined that gift would grow into two pioneering food businesses.

Davis owner of Nuts and Cows since 2015 and a mother of two began making pecan pralines as holiday gifts.  After receiving positive feedback from family and friends she decided to try her pecan creations at the local farmer’s market under Cottage Law. 

With an initial investment of $89, Ms. Davis began selling healthier versions of unhealthy snacks such as a pecan pie with 40% less sugar, double the pecans in a lightly sugared filling as well as vegan pecan products and natural, sugar free, no additive pecan butter.

“The result was amazing. My first weekend selling, I sold mostly pecan pies to Winter Texans. Then each weekend starting in September, I sold 135 pecan pies to Winter Texans. I was busy baking all week. I baked so much that now I like baking,” Davis said.

As demand for her products increased,... Read More