A Celebration of Perseverance

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February 29, 2020

Region VI - South Central Region News

Serving nearly 4 million small businesses in Louisiana, Arkansas,

Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico.

u s small business administration

Black History: A Celebration of Perseverance

Regional Administrator Justin Crossie

By Regional Administrator Justin Crossie

Celebrating the history of Black Americans is a celebration of perseverance, persistence, resiliency and creativity…the same characteristics of successful entrepreneurs. 

Perseverance has a mountain of meaning for Houston’s Dr. Vernon Darko (pictured below), an African American exporter, shipping new and used heavy capital equipment and parts to 33 African, Asian, United American Emirates and Latin American countries. He says to persevere is his company’s creed. 

Since beginning EquipXP in 2006 with two employees, Dr. Darko now employs eight and manages a multimillion-dollar corporation.

Starting a business can be difficult, but for many African American’s the challenge is even more daunting because of the color of their skin.

Dr Vernon Darko

“Subconsciously, I feel like I have to work harder to achieve the results I want to achieve” Dr. Darko says.  “I have to go above and beyond the normal.  We must be more deliberate about everything we do.” 

Like most startups, Dr. Darko says financing was critical to launching. That’s were the US Small Business Administration can help. Dr. Darko’s lender agreed to fund him with an export working capital loan backed by the SBA. He said, without the SBA it would have been much more difficult to move ahead. 

EquipXP Heavy Equipment

EquipXP heavy capital equipment exports.


In the South Central Region - Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico - 1,083 African American entrepreneurs were approved for $293 million in financing, in the last three years during the Trump Administration. These loans supported well over 10,000 jobs across the Region.

The largest number of African American small business loan approvals in the Region were in Houston, Dallas, Fort Bend, Tarrant and Collin Counties in Texas.


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Jovita Carranza, President Trump’s pick to lead the SBA, says her priority is to boost business-building services to underserved entrepreneurs. Now is the time to lean on the SBA and our resource partners for funding options including Lender Match, business plan assistance, cash flow calculations, marketing strategies, government contracting, export assistance and online training.

Dr. Darko says, “I am proud to be a black businessman in this Region. We appreciate the support we get from our federal agencies – the SBA, Export/Import Bank and the U.S. Commercial Service. These organizations have been key to our success in the past and throughout the lifecycle of our business. I would encourage black-owned businesses to reach out to these organizations to see how they can grow their business using the tools and programs available to them.”

Perseverance means continuing to move forward despite difficulties, failure, or opposition. Dr. Darko says, “Whatever you set your mind to, you have to persevere. You have to be aggressive in everything you do. Our creed with the company is persevere. In the acronym, each letter reminds and challenges us to work hard, work with integrity and work to provide an excellent customer experience to everyone we encounter.”

To find out more about how SBA can help you, contact your nearest SBA District Office or visit www.sba.gov.

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Edward Haddock

Arkansas District

Edward Haddock, Director

Herb Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth District Director

Dallas-Fort Worth District

Herb Austin, Director

Dante Acosta, El Paso District Director

El Paso District

Dante Acosta, Director

Tim Jeffcoat, Houston District Director

Houston District

Tim Jeffcoat, Director

Mike Ricks

Louisiana District

Mike Ricks, Director

Angela Burton

Lower Rio Grande Valley District

Angela Burton, Director

Calvin Davis

Lubbock-West Texas District

Calvin Davis, Director

John Garcia

New Mexico District

John Garcia, Director

Dorothy "Dottie" Overal

Oklahoma District

Dottie Overal, Director

Anthony Ruiz

San Antonio District

Anthony Ruiz, Director