It takes grit. commitment and strong support to start a business later in life while managing the demands of a family. One entrepreneur who understands this very well is Jeannette Hughes.
Hughes and her husband, Dale Hughes Sr., are the parents of 10 children, including six who are adopted. Three are handicapped and need lifetime care.
Jeannette and Dale Hughes wanted their children to be financially secure. The best way, they decided, was to start a long-lasting business that would provide for their family.
In 2005, the couple launched Hughes Barney Investigations, a Largo, Maryland-based firm that provides fingerprinting scans, polygraph examinations and background checks, among other security services. Jeannette Hughes serves as the company’s president and chief executive officer.
Like most startups, Hughes Barney Investigations struggled at the beginning. Jeannette Hughes realized she needed help to navigate the process of contracting with state and federal governments. At a friend’s recommendation, she contacted SCORE, a nonprofit association that helps small businesses get off the ground. SCORE, in turn, provided a volunteer mentor who showed Hughes the steps needed to secure federal contracts.
Hughes’ hard work paid off. Over the years, her company grew from fingerprinting three people a month to servicing 400-600 people per month for the state and FBI. This year, Hughes Barney Investigations won SCORE’s Outstanding Encore Entrepreneur Award.
“I believe my age gave me an edge,” says Hughes in a video about the company. “I was born level-headed, I was more apt to stick to it and I was more determined.” In five years, she sees her firm becoming “a powerhouse when it comes to security.”
Here’s the video that tells more about Hughes Barney Investigations story.