SBA Celebrates 8(a) Success Story in Kentucky

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SBA Kentucky District Office

On February 2, 2015, SBA Region IV Administrator Cassius Butts delivered the inaugural State of the Region Address in Atlanta. Mr. Butts covered the SBA’s achievements on behalf of small businesses throughout the eight-state Southeast region, from the $4.5 billion in SBA loans in the region last year to programs for military veterans to the improving economic opportunities for small businesses.

The SBA Kentucky District Office held it’s State of the Region event at Strategic Communications in Louisville, highlighting the SBA 8(a) Business Development Program and Strategic Communications, which recently graduated from the 8(a) program. Strategic Communications is a reseller of IT products and services, implementing turnkey voice, video and data solutions to the public and private sectors.

In business since 1994, Strategic Communications received SBA 8(a) certification in 2004. Ms. Kathy Mills, President and CEO of Strategic Communications, immediately assigned a dedicated person to pursue government 8(a) opportunities but soon realized that she needed an 8(a) mentor. In the interim, Ms. Mills met Robert Coffey, Business Development Specialist for the 8(a) program at the SBA Kentucky District Office. He connected Strategic Communications to an 8(a) graduate. With that company’s mentoring assistance, Strategic Communications won its first award. From 2008 to 2014, the company’s government revenue grew from $800,000 to $50 million.

Strategic Communications graduated from the 8(a) program in 2013, and Ms. Mills recently met a new 8(a) firm looking to grow business in a similar manner. The two companies formed a Joint Venture, and Ms. Mills stated that the new 8(a) company has already obtained six contacts, added over $100,000 in profit and hired two employees to focus on more contracting opportunities.

Kathy Mills stated, “The 8(a) program, if executed properly, allows small business to grow immensely, create jobs and stimulate the economy. The 8(a) graduate companies adopt the ‘pay it forward’ attitude and mentor new businesses in the program for three years, allowing young companies to succeed. Then the cycle starts over with a new mentor – protégé relationship in the 8(a) program."

Photo of Strategic Communications and SBA

KY SBA, Resource Partners and Strategic Communications: (left to right): Front Row: Kathy Mills, President & CEO, Strategic Communications; Diana Hurley, SBA Administrative Officer; Back Row: Don Keller, SCORE-KY District Director; Brian Pearson, SCORE-Louisville Chapter Chair; Robert Coffey, SBA Supervisory BDS, 8(a), DITO, SBDC Project Officer; Ralph Ross, SBA KY District Director; and David Oetken, Louisville SBDC Director.