Yolanda Cuevas, owner and CEO of Cuevas Distribution Co. of Fort Worth, has received many accolades over the years but none like the one she is to receive today.
Cuevas is among 20 small businesses nationwide chosen to receive a $150,000 grant through Mission Main Street, a program of Chase Bank and Google. The award is scheduled to be presented at 10 a.m. at Chase’s west-side branch at 600 Bailey Ave. in Fort Worth.
“It’s a great pat on the back,” said Cuevas, whose company distributes medical, laboratory, and safety supplies and equipment. She started the company in 1993 with a $25,000 loan.
Cuevas said she plans to use the money to upgrade the company’s technology, from new computers and systems to software that will allow for greater access to state and federal contracts. She will also have her website redesigned and will increase offerings on the site from 100 products to more than 1,000, she said.
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The site was last redesigned about a decade ago, she said.
Cuevas was selected from more than 25,000 small businesses nationwide that applied for the grant. After receiving high public votes, the 20 winners were chosen by a panel of experts for their superiority in demonstrating a solid business plan and a feasible growth plan, their overall passion for their businesses, the ability to make a positive impact on the community and success.
Google will also host the businesses for an exclusive marketing workshop at its California headquarters. The grants totaled $3 million.
The program is in its third year. San Antonio-based Soloshot, which makes and markets robotic cameraman devices capable of tracking both slow and fast-paced action, is also among this year’s recipients.
Cuevas was a bank officer before launching her company at age 46. It has grown to seven full-time employees. Her daughters Shannon Kruse and Kirston Stafford are partners in the business. A third daughter, Kimberly Chapple, is the office manager.
“We take a lot of pride in our customer service,” Cuevas said. “We’ve been through many ups and downs.”
Karen Stevenson, head of Chase Business Banking in Fort Worth, said Cuevas is an inspiration to all entrepreneurs who overcome hardships to become successful business owners. Cuevas “exemplifies what Mission Main Street is all about,” she said.
Sandra Baker, 817-390-7727