Small business owner seeks to inspire the community

Onyx Cleaning of Hillsborough County

Small business owner seeks to inspire the communityWhen Maria Leon first opened Onyx Cleaning, LLC, she wanted to be more than a successful Latino woman business owner. She wanted to be an inspiration to not only the women in her family, but to the entire Tampa Bay Latino community.

She began her business by subcontracting with USSI Janitorial. She was thankful to have a company that was willing to give her chance as she built her business. While subcontracting, she turned to the Florida SBDC at Hillsborough County to seek advice on how to grow her business so she could branch out on her own.

The Florida SBDC at Hillsborough County is one of two subcenters in the Tampa Bay region, connected to a county entity.

There she met Jannette Blanco, a certified business consultant who has extensive knowledge in doing business with the government and specializes in assisting minority and women-owned businesses with the government bidding process.

Through many one-on-one consultation sessions, Blanco helped Leon secure several contracts with the City of Tampa. These contracts have allowed Leon to make quite the impact on the local community.

“I have several contracts with the city of Tampa worth $2.5 million and special services for up to $6 million,” Leon said. “I have the opportunity to create jobs. So far with the help of the SBDC I have created 30 jobs.”

She is very grateful to the City of Tampa for giving her such an amazing opportunity, but this is only the beginning for Leon. As Onyx continues to grow, she said she will seek the help of Janette and the Florida SBDC at Hillsborough County along the way.

“I will continue to work with the SBDC because I want to participate in more county opportunities,” she said. “Janet teaches empowerment for the woman-owned business and how to navigate the government contracting world.”