SBA Contract Certification Helps Small Business Expand from Three Employees to 500+

When Merry Korn started her small business, Pearl Interactive Network, Inc., she initially struggled to find a niche for her small business. Even more daunting was the federal contracting certification process that she wanted to pursue. Merry reached out to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Columbus District Office to meet with Business Opportunity Specialist Jill Nagy-Reynolds.

SBA Pearl Interactive Network Picture of Merry Korn
         Merry Korn, CEO Pearl Interactive Network, Inc.

“Jill had a massive impact on my business,” Merry said. “Even though I only had three employees, she treated me with respect and helped me through the process of becoming a certified woman-owned small business.”

Merry also received help from the local Procurement Technical Assistance Center and from Nancy Stoll at the Columbus Small Business Development Center. After becoming certified, Merry was able to secure a large contract with a prime contractor, helping her to expand her business to 550 employees and increasing her company revenue to $12 million. She was also able to move into a larger space and hire a senior management team for her small business.

The success of Merry’s small business is important to her from a business and social mission standpoint. Pearl Interactive Network, Inc. provides program management, call center solutions and telehealth services and puts a priority on hiring skilled and disabled veterans, veterans, military spouses and people with disabilities.

“Prior to becoming a small business owner, I was a clinical social worker and having that background gave me an understanding of the disabled and disenfranchised,” Merry said. “My business emphasizes working with and being conscientious of the challenges that these individuals are dealing with. We believe in forgiveness and flexibility.”

Merry is currently in the process of developing telehealth services that will expand cost-effective medical access.

“The SBA has given me so many free resources to develop my small business, which has allowed me to create more opportunities for a group of people who are working with challenges,” she said. “Many of my employees have said to me that if they didn’t work here, they wouldn’t have work. By being flexible, my business is empowering these individuals to support both themselves and their families.”

Merry was selected as the Columbus District’s Small Business Person of the Year in 2017 and urges other small businesses to take advantage of the opportunity as well as the other resources that the SBA and its partners offer.

“The Small Business Person of the Year award was validating and gave me both personal satisfaction and business credibility,” Merry said. “I urge small business owners to take advantage of the free resources that the SBA offers and develop good working relationships with the staff. Take advantage of their expertise and open doors to more opportunities.”

For more information about Pearl Interactive Network please visit our website.

For more information about the SBA visit the SBA website.

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