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Where are they now?

THEN: When we first profiled Rhonda Lashen in 1996, Fortunately Yours Inc. was doing well in its innovative niche: selling fortune cookies as marketing tools to big corporate clients.

NOW: Lashen's business got serious exposure in 1999 when the entrepreneur was featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Boosted by the response, Lashen created a Web site ( that sells her fortune cookies and other products: chocolate baby announcements, chocolate coins with companies' names on them and more. In 2000-with clients like Walt Disney Co. and Marriott Residence Inns-she expects to gross about $1.7 million in sales.

"If you grow too fast, you can't handle everything," says Lashen. "My customers like that I'm still the one talking to them [personally]. We're able to build a rapport."

Contracts To Kill

THEN: In September 1996, we covered Sen. Christopher Bond's (R-MO) proposed HUBZone (Historically Underutilized Business Zone) Act, which would require participating companies to employ at least 35 percent of their work force from a HUBZone, with 50 percent of the work of any federal contract done in the HUBZone.

NOW: The HUBZone program recently celebrated a milestone, registering its 1,000th participating small business. Nearly 8,000 communities nationwide are designated HUBZones, and the number of businesses registered is expected to rise after a nationwide outreach by the SBA. According to the SBA, the HUBZone annual contracting goal is expected to reach its maximum level by fiscal year 2003-translating to 3 percent of overall prime contracting, or an estimated $6 billion a year in federal contracts. To find out whether your company is in a HUBZone, visit
-C.E.G. & N.L.T.

This story appears in the July 2000 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »