Thursday, May 21, 2009

Hispanic Businesses Recognized at National Small Business Week - Oklahoma Firm Wins Top Award; 11 More Acknowledged

U.S. Small Business Administration
-- News Release --
Release Date: May 21, 2009
Contact: David J. Hall (202) 205-6697
Release Number: 09-36
Internet Address:

Hispanic Businesses Recognized at National Small Business Week
Oklahoma Firm Wins Top Award; 11 More Acknowledged

WASHINGTON – The growing strength and contributions of Hispanic-owned businesses to the national economy were in display at National Small Business Week as 12 companies whose owners are of Hispanic background were recognized during the annual event sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration, including one who was named National Small Business Person of the Year.

Businesses receiving the awards are a cross section of the American industry, from cleaning services to construction to high-tech science and engineering support, and represent states and territories from Alabama to Connecticut, and Puerto Rico to New Mexico.

The National Small Business Person of the Year Award went to Jeanna Sellmeyer, an Oklahoma native of Venezuelan descent. The awards were presented during the celebration of National Small Business Week, May 17 -19 at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington D.C., to recognize the outstanding achievements and contributions of American small businesses.
"Hispanic-owned small businesses make important contributions to the American economy. We salute the many Hispanic-owned firms among our winners, and are pleased to present them with these awards in recognition of their entrepreneurial spirit and hard-won success," said SBA Administrator Karen G. Mills. "We applaud that in the midst of a difficult economic period, these businesses have continued to grow and preserve or create jobs in their communities."
According to the Census Bureau, in the United Sates there are more than 1.6 million Hispanic-owned businesses; they employ more than 1.5 million people and generate more than $220 billion in gross receipts.

The Hispanic award winners at National Small Business Week were:
National Small Business Person of the Year – Jeanna Sellmeyer, CEO, ASSET Group, Inc. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

National Prime Contractor of the Year – A. R. (Rey) Almodóvar, co-founder and CEO, Intuitive Research and Technology Corp. of Huntsville, Alabama.

Prime Contractor of the Year, Region VI – Ricardo and Renee Araiza, founders, R-con Construction, Inc. of Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Prime Contractor of the Year, Region VII – Michael Zambrana, president and CEO, Pangea Group of St. Louis, Missouri.

Sub-contractor of the Year, Region I – Lorenzo J. Cabrera, owner, Cabrera Services of East Hartford, Connecticut.

State Small Business Person of the Year, Kentucky – Thomas E. Masterson, president, T.E.M. Electric, Inc. of Louisville, Kentucky.

State Small Business Person of the Year, North Carolina - Lisa Anne Piñeiro, president, Technical Services, Inc. of Durham, North Carolina.

State Small Business Person of the Year, New Mexico – Michele E. Justice, president & CEO, Personnel Security Consultants, Inc. of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

State Small Business Person of the Year, New York – Teresa Ward, owner and president, Teresa’s Family Cleaning of Rocky Point, New York.

State Small Business Person of the Year, Pennsylvania – Paul de la Torre, chairman, and Edward de la Torre, president, De La Torre Orthotics and Prosthetics of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Small Business Person of the Year, Puerto Rico – Edward Feliciano, president, KCS Cleaning & Staffing Solutions Corp. of Carolina, Puerto Rico.

Phoenix Award for Small Business Disaster Recovery – Juan Carlos Yépez, president, and Luis Enrique Yépez, Jr., vice president, Mainstream Global, Inc.
of Lawrence, Massachusetts.

For additional details on Small Business Week 2009, including information on all
award winners, visit
The U.S. Small Business Administration thanks the cosponsors of National Small Business Week and related events: SCORE, Sam’s Club, Symantec Corporation , Ford , Raytheon, Administaff, Visa, Sage, IBM, HP, Trend Micro, Lockheed Martin, Verio, Moran Media Group, D&B, Association of Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC), National Association of Development Companies (NADCO), National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders (NAGGL), National Small Business Association (NSBA), Small Business Entrepreneurship Council (SBEC), Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP), and National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE)

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s participation in this cosponsored activity does not constitute an express or implied endorsement of any cosponsor’s, donor’s, grantee’s, contractor’s or participant’s opinions, products, or services. All SBA programs and cosponsored programs are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Reasonable arrangements for persons with disabilities will be made, if requested at least 2 weeks in advance, by contacting

Cosponsorship Authorization #SBW2009

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

UC Merced Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Receives Association of Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC) Accreditation

Release Date: Immediate Release
Contact: Diane Howerton, Regional Director,

UC Merced Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Receives Association of Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC) Accreditation

Fresno, CA: The UC Merced SBDC Network lead center in Central California representing 15 counties is poised to celebrate. They received notification from the Chair of the national ASBDC Accreditation Committee that the administration and staff have achieved an important milestone - recommendation to accredit by the visiting team and an affirmative vote at the ASBDC meeting in March 2009.

Diane Howerton, Regional State Director, UC Merced Small Business Development Center Network said, "This is a long, but extremely important process, and it is imperative for our funding and the Network's movement toward achieving a world-class delivery system for small business counseling and training needs." The Association of Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC) accreditation standards are based upon the Malcolm Baldrige Criteria for performance excellence. Diane said further that "the internal review that supported the report was an arduous but positive experience; one that will serve as a roadmap for continuous improvement of the SBDC Network."

UC Merced was awarded the SBA contract in 2003 to serve 15 counties in Central California: San Luis Obispo, San Benito, Sana Clara (south of Bernal Road), Monterey (east of the Salinas River), Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Tuolumne, Mariposa, Fresno, Kings, Tulare, Kern, Mono and Inyo. The mission of the network is to promote the development and growth of small businesses by providing high quality business assistance throughout Central California thereby enhancing regional prosperity. This mission has resulted in consulting more than 9,672 clients, creating and/or retaining 2,912 jobs and has worked with business clients and entrepreneurs to generate $125,694,251in new capital investment.

The California SBDC Network is part of a national delivery system that assists more than 1.3 million business owners annually. The SBDC was established by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and operates throughout the U.S. with 63 regional Lead Centers overseeing operations in more than 1,100 SBDC service centers. Most states have one SBDC Lead Center operating under a university or college that administers the service centers in the region. California, due to its extensive geographical reach and expansive entrepreneurial spirit - has six regional Lead Centers of which the UC Merced is one.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Recovery Act Contracting Opportunities Q & A

Recovery Act Contracting Opportunities
Questions and Answers

Q. Is there an opportunity for small businesses to get contracts under the Recovery Act?

A. Yes. The SBA is committed to helping small businesses get connected with contracting opportunities as a result of the Recovery Act. SBA’s Procurement Center Representatives are working with federal agencies to ensure that small businesses get their fair share of the prime and subcontracting opportunities stemming from the Recovery funds. The Recovery Act requires agencies to provide maximum opportunities for small businesses to compete for contracts.

The SBA is working with its district offices and resource partners to make small businesses aware of the contract dollars and information to pursue registration/certification at the state/local levels.

Small businesses seeking contract opportunities as a result of the Recovery Act should visit, an online portal with links to Recovery Act informational pages on federal agencies’ web pages and their weekly update reports. At, small businesses can get an idea of the areas that federal agencies are targeting for Recovery Act contracts as well as opportunities at the state and local level.

Federal agencies are expected to submit program specific Recovery Act plans with contracting opportunities for small businesses by May 1, 2009. Federal agencies will report contracts awarded using Recovery Act funding to the General Service Administration’s Federal Procurement Data

System-Next Generation (FPDS-NG) database, which is the government’s official source for federal contracting data. Contracting data will also be available on

Q. How do small businesses learn about contracting opportunities at the state and local level under the Recovery Act?

A. Although these will be federal dollars, they will in many cases be provided directly to the states and localities. The State and local governments, municipal utility and school districts will award contracts using their currently established procedures. Each State’s recovery website can be reached through The priority will be for projects that are “shovel/project ready;” those that can be rolled-out quickly, putting individuals back to work. This means that small businesses must be “contract ready,” i.e., registered/certified to do business with the State and local governmental entities which will most likely be the primary contracting agencies for these projects.

Q. Is there a central location where federal contracting opportunities and requests for proposals are located?

A. All federal government contracting opportunities over $25,000 will be posted to FedBizOpps. Small businesses can access this site at: They can also learn about possible subcontracting opportunities by the prime contractor (large or small) that receive the contract award. Small businesses can identify prime contractors for subcontracting opportunities through the Electronic Subcontracting Reporting System (eSRS) at

Q. Does the SBA offer other tools and services for small businesses seeking federal contracting opportunities?

A. The SBA and its resource partners, including Small Business Development Centers, SCORE, Women’s Business Centers and Veteran Outreach Centers can provide technical, financial and contracting assistance to small businesses. For more information on these organizations visit Procurement Technical Assistance Centers, funded by the Department of Defense, are also good sources of procurement assistance. A listing of PTAC organizations is located at:

Some of the government contracting tools currently available to small businesses include a free online course, Business Opportunities: A Guide to Winning Federal Contracts, which is a self-paced guide and easy-to-follow training course that can be accessed by visiting, clicking on the menu of free online courses and selecting the first course listed under Government Contracting. Participants will receive a certificate of completion upon completing the 30-minute tutorial. Other tools include a brochure entitled Opening Doors to Federal Government Contracting Opportunities
available at and three fact sheets – Federal Contracting Opportunities for HUBZone Entrepreneurs, Federal Contracting Opportunities for Women-Owned Small Businesses and Federal Contracting Opportunities for Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses available at:

Small businesses seeking contract opportunities can also contact the Office of Small Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) in any of the procuring federal agencies. These offices assist small businesses with obtaining contracts and subcontracts with federal agencies and prime contractors.

For a list of OSDBUs in the procuring federal agencies and their contact information, visit

The Recovery Act provides entrepreneurs and lenders financial relief from the current economic crisis that will help encourage borrowing and lending to all small businesses, including start-ups.

For small businesses, the Recovery Act temporarily eliminates SBA guaranteed 7(a) and 504 loan fees and offers tax benefits. For lenders, it temporarily eliminates 504 loan fees. The fee eliminations are retroactive to February 17, 2009, the day the Recovery Act was signed. Also under the Act, small businesses that need surety bonds to compete for construction and service contracts can qualify for SBA-backed surety bonds of up to $5 million (and in some cases, $10 million), more than double the previous $2 million maximum. Visit for more information on small business and the Recovery Act.

SBA Expands Eligibility for 7(a) Loans To Spur Recovery Opportunities for Small Businesses

Release Date: May 1, 2009
Contact: Tiffani Clements (202) 401 0035
Release Number: 09-25

SBA Expands Eligibility for 7(a) Loans
To Spur Recovery Opportunities for Small Businesses

WASHINGTON – More small businesses will be eligible for U.S. Small Business Administration-backed loans, meaning greater access to much-needed capital in this tough economy, as a result of a temporary alternate size standard for the agency's largest lending program.

SBA’s alternate size standard for its 7(a) loan program will go into effect early next week through Sept. 30, 2010. As a result of the temporary change, more than 70,000 additional small businesses – including auto and RV dealerships, auto industry suppliers and others – could be eligible to apply for SBA 7(a) loan.

“This is just one more step we are taking to make sure small businesses have access to capital to keep their doors open and employees working during these tough economic times,” SBA Administrator Karen Mills said. “We have seen signs that small businesses that are just outside the traditional 7(a) size standard are being shut out of the conventional lending market. This temporary change will help those businesses weather these tough times and help move our nation closer to economic recovery.”

The temporary 7(a) loan size standard will parallel the standard for the agency’s 504 Certified Development Company loan, and will allow businesses to qualify based on net worth and average income. The net worth for the company and its affiliates can’t be in excess of $8.5 million and average net income after federal income taxes (excluding any carry-over losses) for the preceding two completed fiscal years can’t be more than $3 million. The alternate size standard is available at the offices of The Federal Register today and will be published as an interim final rule early next week.

The temporary change to the 7(a) loan size standard is not unprecedented. SBA took similar actions in 1993, as a result of the recession of the early 1990s, and again in 2005 as part of a program aimed at helping small businesses in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

This change also means more small businesses can take advantage of benefits made possible through the Recovery Act. On March 16, the SBA implemented two key provisions of the Recovery Act that raised the guarantee on 7(a) loans to 90 percent and reduced fees for borrowers. Since then, the agency has seen average weekly 7(a) loan volume increase by more than 25 percent and new SBA loans made by nearly 450 lenders who had not made loans since October 2008.

For more information about SBA’s revisions to its small business size standards, visit and click on “What’s New about Small Business Size Standards.”

MINDBODY, Inc. Selected as the Central California 2009 Small Business Person of the Year

MINDBODY, Inc. Selected as the Central California
2009 Small Business Person of the Year

National Small Business Week May 17-23, 2009

SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA - The U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Fresno District Office announced today that Rick Stollmeyer owner of MINDBODY, Inc. has been selected as the 2009 Central California Small Business Person of the Year.

The award presentation for MINDBODY, Inc. will be held on May 21, 2009, 10 a.m., at the Creekside Career Center located at 4111 Broad Street in San Luis Obispo. For additional information regarding the award presentation, please contact Melende Ward at (559) 487-5791.

This year marks the 46th annual proclamation by the President calling for the celebration of National Small Business Week. The award recognizes a business owner who exemplifies the entrepreneurial spirit and honors his or her individual contributions to the community. MINDBODY, Inc. was selected after a competition held among businesses located within the 15 Central California counties served by the Fresno SBA office. Mission Community Women’s Business Services of San Luis Obispo nominated the business for the award.

"The Small Business Administration is very proud of the tremendous growth and success that MINDBODY, Inc. has achieved. This company serves as a role model for other small business entrepreneurs,” said Carlos G. Mendoza, District Director for the Fresno SBA Office.

Upon notification that he was selected for the award Stollmeyer said, “I feel humbled by this award, and fortunate to be at the helm of a business that is growing rapidly and improving the world. The MINDBODY mission is to leverage the power of the internet to improve the health and wellness of the world. The principle way we do this is by helping thousands of wellness professionals serve millions of people. Our success to date has stemmed entirely from the talents and passion of our amazing MINDBODY Team, and it is on their behalf that I accept this award.”

Born into the fourth generation of a family retail business, Stollmeyer started MINDBODY Inc. in his garage in 2001. Stollmeyer, a U.S. veteran and a graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy with an engineering background, focuses on helping people achieve and maintain healthier lifestyles. The company provides business management software to service providers in the health and wellness industry.

Stollmeyer, with a vast technology background, knew that business software could be less expensive and more reliable if it was delivered over the internet giving small businesses the operational advantages and marketing power previously enjoyed by other large companies. In 2003 the company began migrating to SaaS technology. Upon completion of the software development effort, they released their first online edition in February 2005. This product proved an instant success, saving their business owner clients money and improving their bottom lines. It instantly surpassed and rendered their desktop software product obsolete. The last desktop license was sold one month later. Sales of online software have continued to grow for the company. Company clients range from self-employed working from home to managers of large multi-location enterprises and from line dance studios to health center inventory management.

The company has grown from an employee base of one (Stollmeyer) to over 100 employees. Today, MINDBODY Inc. serves more than 5,000 small to medium business clients in 50 countries and continues to grow. Recently, the company was named as one of the fastest growing top software companies in the United States by Inc. Magazine. MINDBODY, Inc. corporate headquarters are located in San Luis Obispo, California and offices are located in Long Island, London, Singapore, Dubai and China.

Anita Robinson, Mission Community Bank CEO said, "MINDBODY shows how innovation and success can be achieved locally, while modeling strong social responsibility and respect for the environment at the same time."

Small Business Person of the Year nominations are judged on seven basic criteria: staying power, growth in number of employees, increase in sales and/or unit volume, current and past financial reports, innovativeness of product or service, response to adversity and evidence of contributions to community-oriented projects.

Release Date: May 8, 2009
Contact: Melende Ward
Release Number: 09-08
(559) 487-5791

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Bakersfield SCORE to Host FREE "Business Plan Workshop"

Bakersfield SCORE to Host FREE "Business Plan Workshop"

Kern County - The Bakersfield SCORE Chapter will host a free Writing a Good Business Plan Workshop on May 21, 2009 from 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM at 1731 Chester Avenue, Second Floor in Bakersfield.

Guest speaker at the workshop will be Kay Mardon, SBA Fresno District Office Lender Relations Specialist. During the question and answer portion of the workshop, you will have the opportunity to speak directly to an SBA loan officer.

A business plan is one of the most important elements in any loan application. Having a well-written business plan will certainly enhance your chance of getting the necessary financing. By attending this workshop, you will gain the essential knowledge and insight required to write a successful business plan.

"Having adequate financing for a small business is one of the most difficult problems that new and growing small business owners face. Having a well written business plan is the first step for small business success in obtaining financing. SCORE is pleased to offer the Business Plan Workshop to help entrepreneurs start and grow their business," said Mort Brown, Bakersfield SCORE Chairperson.

The workshop is free. To register please send your name, email address, mailing address and phone number to Paul Leung at

Since 1964, SCORE "Counselors to America's Small Business" has assisted more than 8 million aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners through counseling and business workshops. More than 10,500 volunteer business counselors in 389 chapters serve their communities through entrepreneurial education dedicated to the formation, growth and success of small businesses.

The Bakersfield SCORE Chapter counsels at the Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce. Advance counseling appointments are required and may be made by calling the Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce or (661) 861-9249. For additional information and assistance please check out the SCORE website at

SCORE Contact: Paul Leung
(661) 304-5399

# # #

"The material in this publication is based on work supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration under cooperative agreement SBAHQ-09-S-0001. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Small Business Administration. SCORE services are provided without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, age and disability. Persons with disabilities may request reasonable accommodations with a two-week advance notice."

Third Annual Business Matchmaking & Networking Event

Third Annual Business Matchmaking and Networking Event
Register Today- Early Bird registration ends May 15th, 2009 Friday, August 14, 2009
8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Fresno Radisson Hotel & Conference Center

The City of Fresno, along with organizing partners, is hosting the 3rd Annual Business Matchmaking and Networking Event on August 14, 2009 in Fresno. The focus of this event is to match large private companies and government buyers with minority-owned, woman-owned, disabled veteran-owned, and locally-owned business vendors who are limited in their ability to gain exposure to contracts.

The event will feature one-on-one meetings between the buyers from large corporations and public agencies, and representatives from a pool of small businesses. In the twelve-minute face-to-face meetings, these small businesses focus on presenting information about their products and services to the local, state, federal, and private buying organizations.

In addition to the actual event there will be a training session available on June 10th for registered Sellers. In this training session small businesses will learn about certifications often required to do business with large entities and learn effective matchmaking techniques. The small businesses attending the workshop will have the opportunity to choose 2 out of 5 of their one-on-one appointments depending upon matching their products and services with buyers.

If you are a local business that could benefit from increased exposure and networking opportunities, then this event is for you.

Registration Rate Options:
Early Bird Rate: $99
Rates after May 15th, 2009: $175

For more information, call (559) 621-8367, email Dawn.Steele@Fresno.Gov, or check out the Business Matchmaking Website.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Gabriela Mello Honored as Central California 2009 Financial Services Champion of the Year

Gabriela Mello Honored as Central California
2009 Financial Services Champion of the Year
National Small Business Week May 17-23, 2009

Fresno, CA – The Fresno District Office of the U. S. Small Business Administration has named Gabriela Mello as the 2009 Central California Financial Services Champion of the Year. Champion awards are presented by SBA as part of National Small Business Week celebrated nationally May 17-23, 2009.

The award presentation and reception for Gabriela Mello will be held at the Developing Hispanic Leaders Gala 2009 on Friday, May 8th beginning at 6:30 pm at the Fresno Convention Center. For additional information regarding the presentation ceremony please contact Melende Ward at (559) 487-5791, ext 143. For information regarding the Gala contact Anna Medina at the Fresno Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (559) 222-8705.

Mello was selected for this prestigious award because of her outstanding advocacy efforts and commitment to support entrepreneurs in business entrepreneurship and was nominated for the award by the Fresno Area, Kern County and Tulare Kings Hispanic Chambers of Commerce. Nominations for this award were solicited from throughout the 15-county Central California area.

Carlos G. Mendoza, District Director of the Fresno SBA Office, said, "Gabriela is a role model for all small business owners. Not only is she a tremendous asset as a mentor, but she is also a leader in our business community. We are honored to present Gabriela Mello with the Central California Financial Services Champion of the Year Award."

Upon hearing of her selection for the award, Gabriela said, "I’m honored by the recognition as the Financial Services Champion of the Year. I will continue to work hard to advocate for small businesses and to support entrepreneurs in our communities. I am so grateful to the SBA for helping our small business owners and for the partnership we have developed throughout the years."

Mello has an extensive background in business lending. Starting as a bank teller she worked her way up in the financial world to manage several Wells Fargo branches. She currently is the Community Relations Officer for Citibank and covers the area from Central and South San Joaquin Valley through the Silicon Valley to promote programs for small business assistance.

As a long time advocate for small business Mello believes that education is the key to success. Financing is critical for the overall success of small business entrepreneurs. Mello takes the time and effort to see that each and every one of her clients is provided with opportunities to access the necessary capital in order to succeed. She has been instrumental in promoting financing literacy for small, emerging minority owned businesses and volunteers as a business instructor for many Hispanic Chamber of Commerce events and workshops throughout the State.

Mello volunteers her time and expertise to several organizations such as Junior Achievement, Kern Action Partnership Community Food Bank, Workforce Connection, Fresno Housing Authority and many more.

Dora Westerlund, President of the Fresno Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce said, “Gabriela Mello is a great leader in our community; it is through her commitment and determination that businesses can achieve their goals”.

Financial Services Champion of the Year Award nominations are evaluated on the following criteria:

1. Outside of regular business duties, the amount and quality of assistance given small businesses to obtain financing.
2. Advocacy for changes in the financial services industry to assist small companies.
3. Encouragement of the flow of investment capital to small ventures.
4. Active support for legislative or regulatory action designed to help small firms.
5. Other significant contributions through the advocacy efforts of the financial services or accounting industries to advance small business interests.

This year marks the 46th annual proclamation by the President calling for the celebration of National Small Business Week. National Small Business Week recognizes outstanding small business owners for their personal achievements and contributions to the nation’s economy.

-the end-