Friday, October 22, 2004

Fullerton exec receives minority business award
Also, SBA says it had guaranteed $423 million in loans to O.C. firms last fiscal year.

The Orange County Register

Rubina Chaudhary, president of MARRS Services in Fullerton, is the 2004 Minority Small Business Person for the Santa Ana district office of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The honor was announced Thursday at the annual Minority Enterprise Development breakfast in Ontario.

Also during the breakfast, Sandy Sutton, director of the SBA district covering Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, said that 1,410 SBA-guaranteed loans totaling $423.7 million were made to Orange County businesses during the fiscal year ended Sept. 30. That's a 7 percent increase in the number of loans and 10 percent growth in dollar amount. The entire district had 2,595 loans totaling $844 million, making the Santa Ana district second in the nation in dollar value of loans and seventh in number of loans, a reflection of the relatively higher real-estate costs in the area. The Santa Ana district made 500 loans under the SBA's 504 Program for real estate and equipment more than any other district in the nation.

Nationally, the SBA guaranteed almost 83,000 loans totaling $16.4 billion. That's a 25 percent increase in number of loans and 28 percent increase in dollar value. The program has been strong for many years in Orange County, so percentage growth is less than in the rest of the nation.

In the Santa Ana district, the number of loans made to minority-owned businesses increased 20 percent to 1,099. Loans to women-owned businesses increased 16 percent to 449, and the number of loans to firms owned by military veterans increased 24 percent to 208.

The SBA does not make loans directly to businesses. Instead, it guarantees loans from private lenders. The federal government pays only if the business defaults on loan.

In honoring Chaudhary, Sutton said, she turned for help to the SBA's business development program, became a leader in her field, and now mentors a smaller engineering company.

Chaudhary, an Asian Indian, has grown MARRS to $5 million in annual revenue from civil engineering, program and construction management and design-build support.

The business owners receiving honorable mention Thursday were Heather Lee Battey, Spiritual Fitness Wear, Mission Viejo; Manuel and Patricia Arboleda, Tiny Tots Preschool Center, Rialto; Amilcar and Melvia Mancilla, Tikal Bakery, Riverside; and Salvador and Fernando Hernandez, Private Collection Furniture Gallery, Palm Desert.

Copyright 2005 The Orange County Register