SBA administrator comes to Houston to see small business success stories

The leader of the Small Business Administration joined by Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff visited Houston and members of the Houston congressional delegation, to see some local success stories and talk about some of the resources that are available to help others.

While the visit was, certainly, political to talk about how the Biden administration has provided some of those resources, most new jobs and much of the nation's economic activity come from small businesses, so there's a vested interest in seeing good ideas survive.

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One of those local businesses was Pronto Shipping and Packaging on Chimney Rock. When she opened 10 years ago, CEO Tramell Kukoyi would not have imagined such a meeting. It took a lot of work just to open the doors.

Kukoyi says traditional banks weren't even interested in talking with her, while a variety of SBA programs offered financial assistance and guidance that helped her thrive. "You've got to get somebody who can explain all of that to you, and the legal ramifications that go with that, before just saying 'I'm gonna' open up a business'," she says. "I learned 'trial by fire'."

The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Act provided emergency funding and investment to hard-hit small businesses, battling the pandemic, particularly minority-owned businesses in economically disadvantaged areas. It's helped foster nearly a million new Texas businesses, in the last two years.

"We now have 1,600 centers around the country, with advisors who can provide support, guide our businesses, to figure out how to navigate challenges in the marketplace; be strategic; get capital," says SBA administrator Isabel Guzman.

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With that guidance, Tramell Kukoyi has expanded into warehousing and freight, far beyond what she imagined when she started. A recent deal, with the non-profit Houston Business Development, Inc. has helped her finance the purchase of property, on the east side, to grow again.

"They have all surrounded me, as I ask a lot of questions, and help to guide me, so I'm just so grateful for that," says Kukoyi.

For information and assistance visit the Small Business Administration website or the Houston Business Development, Inc. website.