Opinion Columns & Blogs

5 years ago, he asked for SBA’s help; now he’s Small Business Person of the Year

This Boys and Girls Club in Huron was built by Borga Steel Buildings and Components.
This Boys and Girls Club in Huron was built by Borga Steel Buildings and Components. / Borga Steel Buildings and Components

When Ron Heskett was hired five years ago to revitalize Borga Steel Buildings and Components, a 30-year-old manufacturing company in rural Fresno County, he turned to the U.S. Small Business Administration for help.

He completed the SBA’s Emerging Leaders entrepreneur training program as he began purchasing Borga Steel’s assets. Then he used an SBA-guaranteed 7(a) loan to buy the business from the previous owners. Later Ron used an SBA-guaranteed 504 loan to purchase the 9.5 acres of land in Fowler where the business is located.

Since then, Borga Steel Building and Components has created 12 new jobs. They increased their staff from 28 to 40, and will be hiring four more employees. They expanded into new markets, improved employee retention, and decreased supply chain costs.

In recognition of these accomplishments, the SBA is proud to honor Ron Heskett as the Fresno District’s 2017 Small Business Person of the Year.

As head of the U.S. Small Business Administration, I’m honored to advocate for Borga Steel Buildings and Components, and the other 28 million small businesses that employ half our nation’s workers and create two out of every three net new jobs in the U.S.

I’ll be visiting Fresno on May 5 as part of National Small Business Week (April 30 to May 6), which recognizes innovators like Ron who take a risk on an idea, invest in their communities and create jobs.

Their skills and creativity not only support their own families, they make our neighborhoods vibrant places to live and work and fuel our nation’s economic strength.

We at the SBA want to give more small businesses like Borga Steel Buildings and Components a solid foundation on which to build their own success. Whether they are starting up or scaling up, the SBA has the resources to help them – right here in the San Joaquin Valley.

The SBA has a district office in Fresno, as well as resource partners like the UC Merced Small Business Development Center Regional Network, Veterans Business Outreach Centers, SCORE, and Women’s Business Centers that counsel entrepreneurs in their own communities on starting, scaling and succeeding in business.

In 2016, these partners counseled and trained nearly 1.2 million clients in more than 1,000 locations nationwide, helping create more than 76,000 new businesses and 159,000 jobs.

Our community lending partners provide financing solutions for those in need of capital. Over the past five months, the SBA has guaranteed more loans in Fresno County than the same time period last year, and the number of local business owners using the SBA’s 504 loan program to buy big-ticket items like commercial real estate and equipment doubled during the same period.

These are the kind of loans that help entrepreneurs expand and create jobs. They’re high-dollar, long-term investments that require borrower confidence, and SBA’s lenders are making more of them in Fresno. We also train small businesses on how to compete for government contracts and the ability to sell their products and services to the world’s largest customer – the federal government.

Finally, the SBA provides a helping hand to small businesses recovering from disasters.

These four roles – counseling, capital access, contracting, and disaster assistance, which we call “three Cs and a D” – aim to support small businesses at every stage, whether they are launching, expanding or getting through a tough time.

My hope is that as more people learn about the services the SBA provides to small business owners like Heskett, we can continue to revitalize a spirit of entrepreneurship in California and across the country.

Please join me in supporting local small businesses, and join the conversation on social media via #SmallBusinessWeek. For webinars available to all, and for information about events here in the San Joaquin Valley and throughout California and the nation, please visit http://www.sba.gov/nsbw.

I look forward to visiting Fresno during National Small Business Week and meeting more entrepreneurs who are using SBA programs to start new companies, expand established businesses, drive innovation, and create jobs. In doing so, they are increasing America’s global competitiveness and renewing optimism in our country’s economy.

Linda McMahon serves as the 25th Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). As a member of President Trump’s cabinet, she advocates on behalf of the 28 million small businesses in America, which employ nearly half of all American workers and account for 56.8 million jobs. Follow her on Twitter @SBALinda.

Small Business Celebration

Date: Friday, May 5

What: Speakers, networking, breakfast

Time: 8-11 a.m

Where: Fresno Convention and Entertainment Center, 848 M St.

Cost: Free

Registration: http://bit.ly/2pk1MRL

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