Indira “Indy” Vega, President and CEO of Indy Interpreting Inc. DBA CCI Group, started her business in 2012 with the vision that she wanted to provide professional linguistic services to immigrants like herself and to empower different organizations to provide language access to their clients.
Vega was born in Colombia and came to the United States to improve her English skills and her plan was to stop in France for a period of time to improve her skills in French and then take that collective experience back to her native country. She started working at the Clearwater PD as an Emergency Communications Specialist, taking 911 calls. While she was working there, she had the opportunity to see a court interpreter and then felt a calling to do the same. Vega found a job as a staff interpreter at the Ninth Judicial Court in Orlando, Fl. After seeing every day how court interpretation requires specialized communication skills, she realized there was a need for more professional interpreting services and decided to start her business.
Vega knew how to be an interpreter, but she did not know how to operate a business. She had a desire to grow, so she started looking at competitors as mentors and networking with them to learn how to work together. One of her mentors suggested she reach out to the SBA for more assistance.
Vega started taking courses through the SBA. She also started working with SBA resource partners including the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the University of Central Florida. She also worked closely with the Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) to become certified as an 8(a) business, SBA’s flagship government contracting program, designed to help small businesses compete in the federal contracting arena.
Her business was established, and she was doing well, until the pandemic significantly impacted her business. Most of her business was related to in-person and on-site interpretation services for the legal system and different school districts. The company saw almost a 30% decline in revenue during the first year of the pandemic. She obtained two loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP); an SBA-backed loan that helped businesses keep their workforce employed during the COVID-19 crisis. Additionally, she obtained an SBA Covid-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). She was able to keep her business open during the pandemic as a result of these loans.
Vega has been able to grow her company from a single-person company to a team of 13 full-time people. She was not only able to maintain her business during the pandemic but she was also able to grow her business. She took a hard look at the way in-person services were offered and now is offering most of her services remotely. In 2021, Vega had the single most successful year in business.
She is currently looking to make a bigger impact in the government contracting sector through her 8(a) certification, along with entering new markets in the tourism and travel industry and higher education markets.
In addition to growing her revenue streams, she has partnered with local non-profits to offer translation and interpretation services for free. She also provides in-kind live interpretations for different events offered by various county governments. Vega has been named the 2022 SBA North Florida District and State of Florida Minority Business Person of the Year.