I wish I would have known about the SMCPC when I took over my business from my dad 15-20 years ago. The SMCPC has been like a guardian angel for me. They guide me in the world of small business where there is no rule book.
The www.mscpc.com website is a good start, but Marcia’s and Karen’s guidance have been key in my success. In Dec 2015, I applied for my DBE certification and was denied. I scanned the MDOT letter with appeal instructions to Karen and asked her to translate it for me. She not only clarified the points to which I needed to respond but she also gave me valuable advice on how to handle the appeal.
Karen suggested I send a draft of my appeal letter to Deyon Hampton, USDOT who offered his services when I attended the MS Contract Development Program (another valuable training that I received from SMCPC) earlier in 2015. Deyon gave me top level pointers but Karen filled in the blanks regarding the mechanics of how to proceed.
I had already invested so much time into obtaining this certification including filling out mounds of paperwork, having MDOT inspect my business place and travelling to Jackson MS for a board interview. Thirty days had already lapsed and I had ninety days to respond, so I felt nervous with so much on the line. Karen advised me that if I was denied the DBE certification then I’d have to wait a year to reapply. Additionally, she said she didn’t recommend that I apply for other certifications, such as the SBA Woman Owned Small Business certification because part of the application is a question asking if I’d been denied for any other certifications.
After I mailed my appeal, USDOT emailed me for follow-up information. Again, I asked Karen to translate. She suggested that I always keep my answers short and to the point. We discussed how to respond. At this point, I felt comfortable enough to email my response to USDOT and I copied Karen. Through this process, I learned the mechanics of how to respond to the state and federal bureaucracies. I am not sure if I could have gotten through the DBE appeal process without Karen’s help. I am so grateful for all that Karen and Marcia have done for me. This DBE certification is just so important to me and I really didn't want to mess it up.
I have no one to bounce things like this off of since my company consists of me and I am the owner and an electrician, my brother who is an electrician, my cousin who is our accountant and two other electricians. I told Karen that I should get a response in three months from USDOT regarding my appeal but I didn’t know about any follow-up action required. I was concerned that I’d have to fill out even more paperwork, have another MDOT inspector visit my place of business or I’d have to meet another board in Jackson MS. Karen suggested I ask Deyon since he is familiar with the process. I did so and now feel more comfortable that Deyon will let me know what to expect. I am so thankful for all of Karen’s help. I really appreciate her and Marcia more than they will ever know. Their office is truly a gold mine for small business and their services are free of charge to boot!