West Virginia Business: Success in a Recession
August 17, 2012|
By Bridget Bean
I recently had the privilege of attending National Small Business Week in Washington, D.C., to take part in the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) annual celebration to pay tribute to the men and women who are starting and growing the small businesses that propel our economy.
Every year since 1963, the President of the United States issues a proclamation marking National Small Business Week to honor the dedication and entrepreneurial spirit that keeps the American dream alive. This year, President Barack Obama’s proclamation recognized that persevering small businesses have helped put our nation’s economic recovery back on track.
During this celebration, the SBA announced awards for the “Small Business Person of the Year” from each state as well as small business champions, successful government contracting firms and disaster assistance heroes. In addition to the national awards, SBA district offices across the country held events to recognize their local winners.
I’m proud to say that Region Three’s 2012 Small Business Week award winners include businesses that exemplify the American dream of success, like West Virginia Small Business Persons of the Year Frances Foster Brooks and Gene Brooks, Jr., of BrooAlexa, LLC.
Frances and Gene began their entrepreneurial journey in a small trailer in Dunbar and have grown into a multifaceted construction company that has expanded from its Charleston location to offices in Ohio, Kansas, Missouri, Maryland, Florida and Oklahoma with eight full-time and 33 part-time employees. A participant in SBA’s 8(a) business development program and a certified HUBZone and Small Disadvantaged Business, BrooAlexa’s clients include the U.S. General Services Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Custom Border Protection.
No matter what industry they come from or what business model they pursue, companies like BrooAlexa, LLC, are making crucially important contributions to our local communities and our economy. America’s small businesses are the economic engines of our communities. They create two-thirds of the net new jobs in the U.S., and more than half of all working Americans own or work for a small business.
The small business owners recognized during Small Business Week are examples of the visionaries, the innovators and the risk takers in our country who embody the promise of America: If you have a good idea and are willing to work hard enough, you can succeed.
At SBA we recognize that it’s never easy for a small business, and recently it’s been even harder. Since the recession hit, we have had some tough times, but despite that, many small business owners overcame the odds to grow their businesses and create jobs.
As we rebuild our economy, it is critical that small businesses are front and center. Small Business Week was a great opportunity to showcase some of the best small businesses in the country. At SBA, we are committed to making sure that all small businesses have the tools, resources and relationships they need to grow and to hire more workers.
SBA had a record year in 2011. We supported more than $30 billion in lending to more than 60,000 small businesses. SBA is here to help America’s small businesses—and the hard-working people they employ—just like those honored and celebrated during National Small Business Week.
About the Author
Bridget Bean is the acting regional administrator for the United States Small Business Administration and district director of the Washington Metro Area District Office. As regional administrator for Region 3, Bean is responsible for the delivery and management of the SBA’s small business programs, financial assistance and business development program initiatives throughout the region. During her time with the SBA, Bean has held leadership positions in key areas such as procurement, field operations and the Office of the Inspector General, and she is considered a subject matter expert on a wide range of business topics.