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Success Stories

SBA District Director, Karen Friel; SBDC Business Coach Sharon Stratton;  Co-Owners Phillip Donnelly and Charles Penn

Initial Situation

After his favorite fragrance was discontinued, Charles Penn decided to start his own home fragrance company with business partner Phillip Donnelly in 2012. Starting with limited business knowledge the duo partnered with the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) resource partner the WV Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to garner advice on how to get started, file appropriate city documentation for a home business, and find access to capital.

How SBA Helped

Penn and Donnelly had a concept for a business but needed guidance. They ended up at an SBDC Business Fundamental’s workshop hosted by business coach Sharon Stratton, and as they say “the rest is history.” Through one-on-one counseling with Stratton the duo was able to identify and evaluate their opportunity, development a business plan, determine the required resources – including an SBA microloan through the First Microloan of West Virginia, and manage the resulting business.... Read More

Nominated by: Matthew Coffey, WV Small Business Development Center

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s West Virginia District Director, Karen Friel is excited to announce Scott Hedges, President and CEO of Power Sonix, as the SBA West Virginia 2016 Exporter of the Year.  Hedges was nominated for the award by Matthew Coffey, Business Coach for the West Virginia Small Business Development Center.

Power Sonix was formed in 1997 by former employees of Applied Electro Mechanics, including Hodges, following its dissolution. Located just 75 miles northwest of Washington D.C. in Marinsburg, their sound engineers and production management carry on a 50-year tradition of innovation in light weight, high-power, high-intelligibility speech projection for air, land and sea.

Power Sonix is committed to providing high-powered sound technologies for military and civilian authorities to use in homeland defense and emergency first response applications. In just 2015, recent... Read More

Nominated by: Sharon Stratton, WV Small Business Development Center

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s West Virginia District Director, Karen Friel is excited to announce Ralph and Amelia Garcia, owners of Garcia’s Latin Market (GLM), as the SBA West Virginia 2016 Encore Entrepreneur of the Year.  The Garcia’s were nominated for the award by Sharon Stratton, Business Coach for the West Virginia Small Business Development Center.

Ralph Garcia, one-third of GLM’s ownership team and West Virginia native, found entrepreneurship later in life. He started his career in Texas as a teacher and coach. West Virginia brought him home when his daughter enrolled at West Virginia University and he landed a vice principal position in the Albert Gallatin School District. The other two-thirds of the ownership team, his wife Amy and daughter Jennifer presented Ralph with an idea that would drastically change his career.

The Garcia family regularly hosted WVU international... Read More

Nominated by: Sam Payne, WV Small Business Development Center

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s West Virginia District Director, Karen Friel is excited to announce Nesha Sanghavi, founder of University Girls, as the SBA West Virginia 2016 Young Entrepreneur of the Year.  Sanghavi was nominated for the award by Sam Payne, Business Coach for the West Virginia Small Business Development Center.

Sanghavi, born and raised in Charleston where her company is located, founded the company immediately after graduating Magna Cum Laude from West Virginia University where she majored in Finance and Economics. She followed the traditional post college path and took a job in Pittsburgh as a financial analyst. After realizing her true passion she left her full-time job and enrolled in Parsons, The New School for Design in New York City and received an AAS degree in Fashion Marketing. She graduated and interned in Germany with PUMA, a sports and lifestyle brand. Following her... Read More

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