District of Columbia Small Business Development Center Success Stories
Sidamo Coffee and Tea Cafe
Experience coffee through the imaginative eyes of Kenfey Bellay. Mr. Bellay was interested in starting a coffee shop called "Sidamo Coffee and Tea Cafe." He came to the DC SBDC at Howard University seeking assistance for the development of his business plan. In September of 2005, Mr. Bellay enrolled in our 10-week NxLevel training series for Business Start-Ups. He successfully completed the class in December of 2005.
After graduating from the NxLevel class, Mr. Bellay received one-on-one counseling and technical assistance to sharpen his business plan and further develop his financial projections. Mr. Bellay was also counseled on the registration and licensing of his business. He then identified a site in an up and coming area in Northeast, DC.
After considerable analysis and review of the financial projections and the loans that were available, Mr. Bellay decided to fund most of the project himself and borrow a small amount from a micro-lender.
Mr. Bellay decided to serve as his own general contractor and oversaw the renovation for the build out of his site. The Cafe was beautifully decorated with authentic African artifacts. The build out was difficult because he had to be involved with all aspects of the work and be on sight through-out the process. However, Mr. Bellay persevered and in November of 2006, he became the proud President and owner of the Sidamo Coffee and Tea Café. The Café opened at 417 H Street, NE, Washington DC. It is a one-stop-shop where customers can take care of their business needs in a relaxed fun atmosphere. This coffee shop combines the delicious aromas of a genuine coffee house and unique internet forum with ethnic souvenirs and gift articles.
The cafe serves the general public residing in the Washington Metropolitan area, including the African immigrant community. Hundreds of thousands of these ethnic groups live in the Washington area. Sidamo Coffee and Tea is the answer to an increasing demand for a specialty coffee place by providing access to internet in a relaxed environment.
The African immigrant community has strong socio-cultural ties to coffee and the whole idea of a coffee shop. The general populations' strong attachment to coffee coupled with the need for access to Internet make Sidamo Coffee and Tea Café a tasteful mix of business with pleasure. The Café also provides gift baskets and articles that celebrate African culture. The Café will also serve specialty pastries that cater the need and taste of many people, such as low fat/low calorie doughnuts and cakes.
The DC SBDC has helped Mr. Bellay realize his dream of establishing a coffee and tea café. The DC SBDC will continue to assist Mr. Bellay with the development of his business and the implementation of his marketing plan.
Katz International Management Solutions
Look beyond the sky; there are no limits, especially for Kimberly A. Terrell. Ms. Terrell has an interdisciplinary M.S. in Space (Management) Studies from the International Space University, Strasbourg, France, and a B.S. in Computer Engineering Software from the Illinois Institute of Technology. She also has several certifications in operating systems, networking and telecommunications, and is a member of the Project Management Institute.
She has experience in product management and systems engineering where she produced creative technical solutions to meet complex Government customer needs. During all phases of project lifecycles she has managed customer relationships, developed requirements, identified solutions to those requirements, and coordinated many resources. She has been directly involved in business development, forecasting and closing new business opportunities.
At NASA Goddard Space Flight Center she produced a monthly report used by the Deputy Center Director, to manage a portfolio of 90 developing and operational spacecraft, and NASA's Communications Networks Program. She has facilitated an Enterprise Architecture Working Group (EAWG), and delivered Center wide responses to data calls from the NASA Headquarters Chief Information Officer (CIO). She has also interfaced with the Goddard CIO Office, and provided support to Outsourcing Desktop Initiative (ODIN) Program Manager.
These experiences inspired Ms. Terrell to start her own business. In February, 2006, she established Katz International Management Solutions, LLC . This is a systems integration consulting services firm that provides professional support services on Federal Civilian and Department of Defense (DoD) high-tech strategy, and governance programs.
Katz International Management Solution's mission is to deliver exemplary subcontracting services that enable her customers to achieve higher levels of successful performance. The company's core competencies are; Program Support Services, IT and Technical Support Services, Business Development Services, Education, Outreach and Public Relations Services.
I met Ms. Terrell at a business conference. She was interested in pursuing contracts at NASA and obtaining Small Disadvantages Business (SDB) certification with the Small Business Administration. A few days later I met with Ms. Terrell and we began our counseling sessions.
The next step was to obtain SDB certification. This would assist her in the pursuit of contracts with NASA. We obtained a hard copy of the SDB application and reviewed it thoroughly, item by item. She obtained the necessary documentation for the application and we put together an application package. This was a process that required lots of reviewing, the development of documents, and communicating with the SDB office to make sure we were assembling a complete application package. We completed the package, submitted an electronic application, and then submitted a hard copy of the supporting documentation. The application was complete and she received her SDB certification within 60 days.
The next step was to develop a capabilities statement. I provided Ms. Terrell with different examples of capabilities statements. We reviewed the various statements and their components. Ms. Terrell produced several drafts as we reviewed and revised each of them until we were satisfied with a final product. The capability statement contributed greatly to the company's brochure and website.
The assistance that I provided to Ms. Terrell has strategically positioned Katz International Management Solutions to pursue contracts with NASA.
Infoition News Services
Information is powerful, especially the right information. Infoition News Services, described by the owners as a global media intelligence company, was founded in May of 2003 with the idea of providing breaking essential news to communications departments and top level executives every morning. The company has used a combination of technology and ingenuity to gain a foothold in the marketplace by carving out a niche with the White House, Congress and several Fortune 500 companies.
Infoition was started by a former Capitol Hill Communications Director as a vehicle to deliver cutting-edge research reports and to repackage print and broadcast media summaries specific to companies, industries and issues. The company hired its first employee in the spring of 2004, and had grown to about 15 people by the time they first approached the SBDC in the summer of 2005 about assistance in controlling cash flow and marketing their services in order to improve working capital.
After gaining an understanding of how the business operated, Senior Business Analyst, Ronald Mitchell helped to develop a plan for increasing revenues and controlling costs. These strategies helped turn a negative monthly cash position into more than $25,000 in positive monthly cash flow, minimizing the need to seek outside investors or to try to obtain substantial debt financing in order to meet their desired growth goals. While additional capital will be required to maintain this phenomenal growth, the company will be in a much better position to borrow. The company now employs 15 full-time and 8 part-time individuals in metropolitan DC and in Lawrence, Kansas. Sales revenue in 2005 was about $300,000 at the time of coming to the SBDC and is expected to top $1.3 million by the end of 2007. The company has seen a dramatic rise in net profits as well.
Capitol Hill Bikes
Capitol Hill Bikes is a retail bike store located at 709 8th Street SE. The business was started in 1999 by Denise D'Amour who is the chief executive officer. Ms. D'Amour first came into the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the Anacostia Economic Development Corporation (AEDC) in September 2004. Ms. D'Amour was concerned that her financial systems were not up to par and she was not receiving the operating information she needed to make proper business decisions.
SBDC staff visited the business and did an evaluation of the operating systems and the financial systems. SBDC staff recommended changes in the financial situation and also made some suggestions concerning the need for permanent working capital and certain aspects of her cash flow. At the time Ms. D'Amour visited the SBDC her business was grossing approximately one million dollars a year in sales, with ten employees.
During the two years that the SBDC staff has been working with Capitol Hill Bikes, it packaged loans in the amount of one million dollars, part for working capital and part for the purchase of a building which houses another business owned by Ms. D'Amour and her partner. Also during that time, Company sales have risen to approximately two million dollars and Capital Hill Bikes employ's 20 people.