As a recovery resource, BRACE works with businesses from various industries. From salons to restaurants, the COVID-19 pandemic affected everyone, and BRACE offers resources to businesses to not only get the recovery grants they need but the programming necessary to keep their business resilient post-pandemic.

Meet Kecia Roddy, the owner of Iron Gate Freight, LLC. IGF is an Orlando-based local freight brokerage arrangement company whose goal is to give clients peace of mind while shipping their freight from point A to point B.

Kecia found BRACE and was connected with the funding and resources she needed to keep her business afloat. Check out her story and what she has to say about her experience with the BRACE program!

The Brace Program was the lifeline my business needed to stay afloat.

Kecia Roddy, owner of Iron Gate Freight Logistics, LLC

How did the pandemic affect Kecia and Iron Gate Freight?

Before we dive in, let’s learn about Kecia’s business and what brought her to BRACE. Iron Gate Freight strives to provide its customers with direct connections to motor carriers that work closely with the company. These motor carriers provide equipment to move the business’s freight from point A to point B with access to thousands of these carriers.

“Iron Gate Freight helps their customers receive their shipments with the ease and care they deserve,” Kecia says. “Our clients gain peace of mind when they use our shipping arrangement services.”

From produce to building materials, IGF works with many different industries wishing to ship their supplies. Kecia’s business was affected by the pandemic because her clients, no matter their industry, experienced a decline in their services. With nothing to ship, Kecia found her business struggling and in need of government assistance.

How did Kecia find BRACE?

Aside from the pandemic, Kecia found other struggles in running her business that led her to BRACE.

“We are a woman and Black-owned business in a non-minority and male-dominated industry, so there have been some grave challenges along the way,” Kecia says.

Kecia was first introduced to BRACE when she connected with Nisha Brice while looking for assistance with the Orange County Cares small business funding program. According to Kecia, her application was prematurely denied, and she wasn’t sure what kind of assistance her small business was qualified for.

“Nisha introduced me to the BRACE program that day, and the program became the lifeline I needed to stay afloat,” Kecia says.’

What services did BRACE provide for Kecia?

After Kecia found BRACE, she was connected with the funding and services her business needed to not only survive the pandemic but remain resilient for years to come.

Iron Gate Freight was awarded the original Orange County Cares grant Kecia applied for, as well as a Fiserv grant. Kecia also actively attends a few programs that BRACE offers, like the New Economy Summit Series.

How did BRACE help Kecia and her business remain resilient after the pandemic?

The BRACE program strives for businesses to remain resilient and aims to provide businesses with the programming they need to do so. BRACE was able to provide Kecia with education and resources, as well as other funding opportunities specifically for minority-owned businesses.

“BRACE has provided my business with mentorship and has been the ear to listen as I express the difficulties and challenges of trying to recover from not only the pandemic, but the challenges of being a woman and Black business owner,” Kecia said. “The mentorship with BRACE has also helped me connect with other local businesses in networking events and informational seminars.”

What would Kecia tell other business owners looking for assistance?

“I would advocate any small business looking for funding resources or help with networking opportunities to join this program,” Kecia said. “BRACE has been a vital resource to me and works to help small businesses stay afloat during this exceedingly tough time. I am grateful for the opportunity to share my experience.”

The BRACE team is happy to see that Kecia and Iron Gate Freight are continuing business and thriving!

Is your business in need of recovery resources? Apply for business assistance with BRACE!