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Success Stories

SBA 8 (a) program offers Sustainable Floors mentorship, business assistance

Dana Pittman would tell any firm looking to enter into the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 8 (a) Business Development Program that it’s not about the number of sole-source federal government contracts the company can obtain, it’s the relationships that will develop and the high-level training that marks the program’s many benefits.

The 8(a) Business Development Program is an important resource for small businesses seeking business-development assistance. Named for Section 8(a) of the Small Business Act, this program was created to help small and disadvantaged businesses compete in the marketplace. It also helps these companies gain access to federal and private procurement markets. The 8 (a) program allows businesses many opportunities, including mentoring, counseling, training, financial assistance and surety bonding. Businesses can stay in the 8 (a) program for up to nine years.

The 8(a) program offers a broad scope of assistance to firms that are owned... Read More

Childcare teacher becomes Montessori preschool owner thanks to SBA assistance

Vanita Rodde has had the dream of owning her own business since she was 17 years old. That dream was realized after 20 years of experience working hard at prioritizing and planning, and receiving a little help thanks to the U.S. Small Business Administration.

She is the proud owner of the Blue Skies Montessori School Inc., one of West Seattle’s few Montessori preschool educational establishments. Starting up a niche business is not easy, and it was the culmination of more than 30 years as a childcare teacher, educator, director and ultimately, business owner. From assisting a friend with bookkeeping and creating staff handbooks at a daycare center to taking dozens of college classes and receiving several certifications, Rodde has been able to move up the ranks to obtain her dream of owning a Montessori preschool and is so happy to call herself “boss.”

Rodde discovered her passion for owning her own business after two years as a director at a major childcare... Read More

If home is where the heart is, the owner of Andelcare home health care in Bellevue has a big heart for her business and her clients.

Nine years into her business venture, Marla Beck has grown her passion for the home-health-care industry into a small business focused upon compassion for her clients.  The U.S. Small Business Administration recently recognized her efforts:  the SBA district office in Seattle named Beck the 2012 Small Business Person of the Year for Washington State.

Andelcare provides companionship, homemaking, personal care, nursing care, hospice care and care management, to name just a few of the company’s services.  “We care for the elderly, the disabled and adults recovering from surgery or illness and help them maintain as much independence as possible while continuing to live with dignity in the comfort of their own homes, wherever that may be,” said Beck.  

Her clients pay for care out of their own pockets.  “We compete with hundreds of... Read More

Anne-Marie Faiola turned a soap-making hobby into a multimillion-dollar business called Bramble Berry.  From shea butter to lavender essential oil to palm oil, Bramble Berry now sells raw materials to soap and toiletry artisans worldwide.  She practices what she preaches. “A good business comes from finding something that works and capitalizing on it…Success doesn’t happen overnight…It’s about replicating small victories every day.”

In 1998 when Anne-Marie Faiola was 20 years old and still in college, she pursued entrepreneurship-- her soap making hobby-turned-into-business quickly bubbled beyond her living room.  A driving force for Anne-Marie and the company is her sincere love of the craft coupled with a desire to help others.  Her mission statement is to “provide creative empowerment with LOVE – changing Lives, creating Opportunities, delivering high Value, and encouraging creative Expression through the five senses.”

With over 2500 products, Bramble Berry enables... Read More