Vet Uses COVID EIDL, PPP and other SBA Programs to Survive and Grow
In 2013, Alejandro “Alex” Ramirez retired from the U.S. Army after 22 years of service. Before retiring, Alex participated in the SBA Boots to Business entrepreneurial training program on the Ft. Knox Army Base. He learned how best to start a small business and sought guidance from an SBDC counselor and SBA Veterans Business Development Officer. With that guidance, Alex completed his business plan and started Universal Spartan, LLC.
The company is a one-stop federal government product sourcing solution for tactical, IT, electrical and medical equipment. It is also certified as a Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB).
The connections enabled Alex to also obtain SBA State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) export grants and receive federal contract assistance from the Kentucky Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC). With help from the SBA and its resource partners, Universal Spartan has secured contractors in multiple countries around the globe. Alex later worked with the SBA to obtain certification in the 8(a) Business Development Program.
In 2018, he was awarded the SBA Kentucky Veteran Owned Small Business of the Year and inducted into the Kentucky Veterans Hall of Fame in 2021. In 2019, Alex participated in the SBA Emerging Leaders program. But in between was COVID-19. Universal Spartan obtained a PPP First and Second Draw Forgivable Loan, an EIDL and EIDL Advance grant to survive the pandemic in 2020 and early 2021.
Alex recently formed a joint venture with a recently graduated 8(a) firm in West Kentucky, also an SDVOSB. They recently obtained a large federal contract. Universal Spartan is on the 2021 Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing private companies in the U.S.
In 2020, Alex received the Hispanic Veteran’s Business Enterprise of the Year Award from the National Veteran-Owned Business Association. He has received numerous other awards and started several nonprofit organizations.
Alex stated: “The SBA and the SBDC have super-charged my business in so many ways. I know they will continue to support Universal Spartan in the future.”