Adding Creativity to the Trades with Help from the SBA and Partners

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When Tobias Flood and Mark Eiden met in college in 2014, where they were studying machine tooling technology, the pair quickly decided to start a business together.  Luckily for them, the college connected them with SBA resource partner, the Central Region Small Business Development Center. Ahead of the curve, the SBDC helped them develop cash flow projections and a business plan before they’d even graduated.

Moving from Saint Cloud south to Winsted, Minn. the SBDC made a warm handoff to SBA microlender, the Southwest Initiative Foundation, as Flood and Eiden continued their entrepreneurial journey.

In 2017, Flood and Eiden began setting up shop to bring Metal Trade Solutions to life.  With help from SWIF, they received an SBA-backed microloan, which they used as gap financing to purchase their first machines.  After they paid off the first round of funding, SWIF helped them get a bigger SBA-backed loan to expand their equipment and capabilities, which allowed them both to quit their other jobs and work full time in their own business. Revenues have been steadily growing since inception.

In addition to funding help from SWIF, Flood and Eiden took part in the organizations technical assistance programs, including Startup Reinvention roundtables and Start Up Bootcamp. Before joining the effort, they were unclear of their niche, and the classes and roundtables helped them nail it down. “We didn’t have time to think about how or why we’re marketing, and the Bootcamp reminded us of why we started a business – to focus on creativity in manufacturing.” 

According to Flood, “The average age in the industry is near 50 and we felt like we were super limited by an older way of thinking. By owning our own business, we get to apply creativity and technology as we see fit to solve problems and better get our customers what they need.”

With help from SBA programs and partners, Metal Trade Solutions continues to grow, and Flood and Eiden are looking toward the future with hiring and expansion plans in their sights. And knowing that they have the support of SWIF and SBA programs will help them move forward with confidence.


This article does not constitute or imply an endorsement by the SBA of any opinions, products, or services of any private individual or entity.