A clear path forward
Donte Wilburn grew up in Lafayette, Indiana where he and his family fought racism and poverty as the only Black family in his neighborhood. In his youth Wilburn did illegal things to support his family and was arrested, convicted and sentenced for his crimes. While in work-release Wilburn worked at Premier Detailing as an auto detailer. He saw the effects low wages, no respect and lack of career advancement opportunities had on his peers and vowed to make a change -- for himself, the industry, and his community. As a result, he purchased the shop where he worked in 2018 and dedicated his life to creating safe spaces where kindness, generosity and respect were at the forefront of all he achieved.
How SBA resources helped:
Wilburn credits the Hoosier Heartland SBDC with guiding him on his entrepreneurial journey. “ I had no clue how to take my detailing business ideas to the next level,” Wilburn said. A friend told him about the Hoosier Heartland Indiana SBDC and what started out as a small request for marketing assistance, “turned into a life-long relationship.” Wilburn continued, saying “Hoosier Heartland is my go-to resource, the first place I turn when I have a question or need advice. They are always there ready to help me turn my ideas into plans and into reality.”
In 2020, Premier Detailing opened two more spaces and increased service capabilities. During the pandemic, Wilburn secured both an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan and an SBA Paycheck Protection Loan to keep his business on track and took advantage of the CARES-Act backed Digital Marketing Assistance Program offered by the Indiana SBDC to re-map marketing strategy in a more digital world. In 2021 Donte won Indiana SBDC Entrepreneur of the Year, was recognized for his accomplishments by Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb in the 2022 Indiana State of Union Address, and later in the year won the SBA 2022 Indiana Small Business Person of the Year award.
Wilburn continues to expand his entrepreneurial dreams and has ventured outside of the auto detailing industry. With the help of two SBA-backed 504 loans, Wilburn joined a diverse group of partners purchasing Legacy Courts, a youth basketball facility, and Legacy Sports, which features in-door and out-door soccer space. The partnership team plans to develop the separate entities into a comprehensive full-service in-door & out-door sports complex providing inclusive programming and sports options for socio and economically underprivileged kids in the community.