Silver Line Elder Transport
Amber Lyon is the owner of Silver Line Elder Transport. Her background is 20 years as an occupational therapist working in Southwest Florida with a geriatric population.
Assessing the Opportunity
Lyon noticed a pattern with her seasonal patients. During their winters in Florida, many showed difficulty returning home for the summer because they had sustained an illness or injury during their seasonal stay. Often times, a spouse was physically unable to assist with medical and self-care needs required to return home safely. Children were often out of state and not always able to assist. Lyon interviewed discharge planners, social workers and other health care professionals to determine a need for travel assistance in a geriatric population. She determined that there was a need and that it was not being addressed. She also found that while air ambulance services were available, they were very expensive and that some alternative form of care was needed. Silver Line staff all have medical backgrounds and are further highly trained in mobility challenges experienced by older adults during travel. In addition, 90 percent of Silver Line staff have passports and stand ready to travel abroad for either one way or extended travel.
Free Assistance from the SBDC
Since Lyon had no formal business training, she was eager to accept the services of the SBDC at State College of Florida. She took advantage of individual counseling sessions as well as Quick Books training, which she continues to this day. The training she received provided assistance on business planning, marketing, technical advice and communication strategies. She also pursues an active networking schedule and does public speaking to caregiver support groups, Senior Friendship Centers and senior adult communities. Lyon's business has grown in her three years of operation. She provides local, regional, national and international assistance. She currently has staff in three states and Canada. Silver Line continues to provide safe, medically secure care for elderly patients required to travel. While her business initially began safely transporting seasonal residents, it has expanded to relocating parents and grandparents and bringing families together for vacations, weddings and graduations.
I couldn’t have done it without them
“The SBDC is an invaluable and underutilized resource for small business owners. The staff is extremely knowledgeable in their areas of expertise and is willing to share their experience with our community business owners. As an individual with no business, marketing or financial background, I was literally started from ground zero. I felt I was ‘reinventing the wheel’ and there must be people out there who know how to do this. A friend who was also starting a business told me about the SBDC and the tremendous help they had been to her. I contacted and received a quick reply and a meeting time was set. The resources the SBDC provides are services my business would have otherwise gone without due to budget constraints often associated with a small start-up business. In this unsteady economy – along with the apprehension of starting a business in an untapped market – I was unwilling to take out a large business loan. The SBDC provided no cost and low cost training which I so desperately needed to start and grow a successful business. I will continue to tap their resources as long as they are available for assistance because the needs of my business continue to grow and their expertise and training is there for my every need. Hopefully, they will help a small business owner like me grow into a larger and productive business in the near future.”