SBA Mississippi Magnolia News

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December 2012

SBA Mississippi Magnolia Newsletter

Brought to you by the U.S. Small Business Administration

A Strong Year in Lending For Mississippi Small Businesses

 The U. S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Mississippi District Office had a strong year in lending for federal fiscal year 2012 (October 1, 2011 to September 30, 2012).  A total of 442 loans were approved for Mississippi small businesses totaling nearly $133 Million.  Nationally, SBA loan dollars reached the second largest total ever - $30.25 Billion with 53,848 loans, second only to FY 2011. 

"This is extremely significant for small businesses in our state,” says Janita R. Stewart, District Director of the SBA in Mississippi.  Although down from the all-time record of $274,033,000 in  7(a) and 504 loan approvals made in fiscal year 2011, due largely to incentives in the 2010 Small Business Jobs Act (SBJA), lending remained strong.  

“These loans enabled Mississippi small business owners to obtain financing to help them create or retain an estimated 3,755 jobs,” says Stewart.  “Overall, the pace of SBA loan-making is a healthy sign for the economy and the credit markets, and is one of the foundations for ensuring the availability of financing to small businesses trying to establish themselves, grow, and create new jobs.”    

“None of this could have happened without the participation of our various lending partners,” says Stewart.  “There also were nine new lenders that participated in SBA lending this year. The top 5 Mississippi-based SBA lenders in terms of volume for fiscal year 2012 include Community Bank of Mississippi; First Financial Bank; Trustmark National Bank; Covington County Bank; and Peoples Bank.  Top 5 lenders in terms of dollars for fiscal year 2012 are Community Bank; BizCapital BIDCO II, LLC; First Financial Bank; Trustmark National Bank; and M & F Bank.  Our top Certified Development Company is Three Rivers Local Development Company. We plan on recognizing these partners during an event planned for early summer.” 

A considerable portion of these loans, over 50 percent, were provided to Underserved Markets.  The Underserved Markets includes a diverse mix of small businesses located in low-to-moderate income areas, HUBZones, rural areas, enterprise communities, empowerment zones, as well as businesses owned by minorities, women and veterans. “SBA will continue to get much-needed capital into the hands of the small business community” says Stewart.  

For more information on SBA loan programs, contact the SBA Mississippi District Office at (601) 965-4378, Gulfport Branch Office at (228) 863-4449 or visit us online at            


Message from SBA Mississippi District Office

District Director

In looking ahead in 2013 with the Small Loan Advantage 2.0, new and improved CAPLines loan program, continued emphasis on small business trade and export, coupled with a focus on expanding the Mississippi 8(a) portfolio in terms of numbers and disciplines of firms, and increasing certifications in the HUBZone Program positioning them all to take full advantage of federal government contracting programs, we are eagerly looking forward to another extremely active and productive year for small businesses in Mississippi.

Janita Stewart, District Director

SBA Can Help You & Your Small Business Prepare for the Holiday Season

By Cassius Butts, SBA Regional Administrator


Regional Administrator

The holiday shopping season is around the corner.  According to the National Retail Federation’s Holiday Consumer Spending Survey, holiday sales will increase 4.1 percent this year.  It’s never too early for small businesses to prepare for the holiday rush.   Whether it’s financing your seasonal working capital needs, updating your marketing plan or hiring temporary workers, the Small Business Administration (SBA) can be your guide to maximizing sales this holiday season.  

Get help financing your seasonal working capital needs

If you need help meeting your short-term and cyclical working capital needs, SBA’s CAPLines Program might be for you.  From contracting to purchase orders, CAPLines provides financing through a revolving line of credit.  This helps more small businesses get the cash-on-hand to manage their cash cycle, scale up and create jobs.  The SBA streamlined the program this year to make it easier for small business owners to get financing even if collateral is tight.   

Hiring temporary or seasonal workers

If you plan to hire temporary or seasonal workers, be aware that some of the laws and regulations that apply to full-time employees differ from those that apply to seasonal or part-time employees.   For example, independent contractors and employees are not the same, and it's important to understand the difference.  Take the time to review the Equal Employment Opportunities Law – Who’s Covered? to determine whether a person is an independent contractor or an employee, and which are covered under federal laws.  Don’t forget that labor laws still apply to seasonal workers, as do some benefit and tax laws.  A great blog with more information on this topic can be found here.  

Holiday marketing tips

There are endless ways to promote your small business during the holiday season.  Here are just a few budget-friendly tips that you can consider:  

Use your website and social media to promote your business – This is true year-round, but your online presence, email marketing, and social media networks are great ways to target and connect with local consumers during the holiday season, whether it’s through timely updates, compelling calls-to-action and promotions or discounts.  You may want to consider developing holiday themes for your email templates and update your website and Facebook profile picture with a festive look.  

Host an Open House – You can use the holiday season as an opportunity to “open” your business and give customers an opportunity to check out your merchandise or holiday menus.  

Get Involved in Community and Charitable Events – Supporting a charity or sponsoring a community event is a great way to generate awareness for your business during the holidays.  Even if you don’t have the budget to donate large sums of money, think of other ways to get involved, such as offering volunteer services, equipment or even space. 

The SBA is here to help.  Our goal is to provide the tools and resources for small businesses to start, grow and succeed.  Visit SBA’s website to learn more about preparing your small business for the holiday season or to find your local SBA office for one-on-one service.

“SBA Programs Outreach Event Also Gives Vital Tips to Students”

On November 16, 2012, James McClendon, Rosetta Harris and Jeremy Sanford represented the SBA Mississippi District office at Cardozo Middle School’s Career Day.   The Career Day event was held in the school’s gymnasium where 6th, 7th and 8th graders came through to visit.  The SBA staff shared their own stories about their education and career paths with the students. 

They were a huge hit, particularly Jeremy, who shared the seven steps to success.  Jeremy was so impressive that he’s been asked to return to the school and speak to the entire student body as a whole.  Please see this video clip below featuring Jeremy here.


Gary Reed oversees the Gulfport Branch of SBA with servant’s heart

You are unlikely to find anyone who is a more passionate cheerleader for small businesses taking advantage of the programs of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) programs than Gary Reed. After about 15 years working to market SBA programs in Mississippi, Reed was appointed in February 2011 to be manager of the Gulfport SBA branch that covers 12 South Mississippi counties.  

“Gary Reed takes his job as SBA’s Gulfport branch manager very seriously,” said Janita R. Stewart, Mississippi district director for the SBA. “He demonstrates every single day true professionalism, esteemed work ethics, and something that is not really required — true and honest care and concern for the small business customer. He is someone who goes above and beyond the call of duty — just because. Gary reminds me of someone with a ‘servant’s heart.’”  

Government employees as a whole are often lumped into the same category, and perhaps misjudged in terms of their work performance.  

“I’m not advocating that government work performance is 100 percent perfect,’ Stewart said. “I’m sure that doesn’t even exist in the private sector. However, Gary most certainly dispels that negative perception. He provides invaluable service to small businesses and entrepreneurs in South Mississippi.”  

Reed, a native of Gulfport with a marketing degree from the University of Southern Mississippi, knows both the pleasures and pains of living on the Coast. A recent example of one of the “pains” was Hurricane Isaac. Reed could be found burning the midnight oil after the storm working to quickly serve people who had damage and needed SBA assistance.  

While it is difficult to know how many businesses in South Mississippi were affected by Hurricane Isaac, the number was sufficient to warrant designating several counties for physical and economic injury assistance. As of Sept. 17, 1,368 applications had been dispersed to businesses that may have been impacted.  

Reed sees that businesses on the Gulf Coast still have impacts from Hurricane Katrina seven years ago.  

“The high cost of insurance remains a major challenge,” Reed said. “I’ve counseled clients who were forced to delay starting their business because the insurance cost was prohibitive. Others, which are in business, are faced with passing on that cost to their customers, which may affect their sales.”  

Even with the downside of hurricanes, Reed sees that the Coast is one of the more dynamic places in Mississippi for business development.  

“The mixture of industries, from casinos to military bases to shipbuilders, makes the Mississippi Gulf Coast a great place for people to live and work,” Reed said. “That helps for small businesses interested in selling directly to those residents, as well as securing contract opportunities with large firms.”  

One of the SBA’s most popular programs for small business and lending partners for helping rebuild after Katrina has been the Gulf Opportunity (GO) loan program, “The program was introduced in 2005 as a one-year pilot to help businesses located in counties severely impacted by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in Mississippi, the Florida panhandle, Alabama, Louisiana and Texas,” Reed said. “Mississippi has approved more GO loans than any of the other authorized states. The program provides an 85 percent guaranty and streamlined loan processing to lending partners that agree to make expedited SBA 7(a) loans available to small businesses located in the designated counties. The program has been so popular that SBA has extended it each fiscal year since its inception and currently is scheduled to expire Dec. 31, 2013.”  

SBA also offers tools to help small businesses successfully compete in the federal sector through its HUBZone, 8(a) and woman-owned small business (WOSB) contract procurement certification programs. These programs enhance businesses based on a variety of factors including their location and/or if they are socially and economically disadvantaged.  According to the Federal Procurement Data System-Next Generation, Mississippi 8(a)-, HUBZone- and WOSB-certified businesses have secured $151.7 million in contracts since the beginning of this fiscal year.  

One program Reed said might be under-utilized is SBA’s CAPLines program. They can be used to guaranty financing for the direct costs of performing certain construction, service and supply contracts; finance the direct cost associated with commercial and residential construction; finance operating capital; and consolidate short-term debt. For more information about the four distinct CAPLine loan programs, contact the state district or Gulfport branch office, or visit the website  

One of the most common mistakes Reed sees small business owners make is the failure to make a business plan and not fully understanding the difficulties of business ownership. “Even the best idea has to be well executed, so having a detailed business plan provides the business owner and their potential financier a clear vision of how the business will operate and vie against current or future competitors,” he said. “The business owner should review the plan on a regular basis to ensure they’re still on track. Potential business owners should also know that owning a business means long hours, adhering to local, state and federal regulatory requirements and, if sales are slow, the owner is the last person to receive a salary. Both of these are reasons why it’s important to use the free services of our resource partners: SCORE, Mississippi Small Business Development Center, MACE Women’s Business Center and the Magnolia Business Alliance, a Regional Cluster.”  

Reed is a recipient of the Gulfport Rotary Club’s Paul Harris Fellow received for his civic role in business and community development. Reed’s charities include Feed My Sheep, Habitat for Humanity, Salvation Army and Rotary International.  

" So Much Given By Few"

SBA Mississippi CFC Campaign

CFC is the world's largest and most successful annual workplace charity campaign, with more than 200 CFC campaigns throughout the country and internationally to help to raise millions of dollars each year.  Pledges made by Federal civilian, postal and military donors during the campaign season (September 1st to December 15th) support eligible non-profit organizations that provide health and human service benefits throughout the world. The mission of the CFC is to promote and support philanthropy through a program that is employee focused, cost-efficient, and effective in providing all federal employees the opportunity to improve the quality of life for all.

The Mississippi District and Gulfport Branch Offices are considered a "small office" by some standards, however, the staff does tremendous things including giving generously to those in need. 

SBA Mississippi District Office and the Gulfport Branch Office are contributing 28% to this worthy cause.  Our goal was for a 10% increase from last year, but we ended up with a 28% increase for a total contribution of $5,585 with 100% participation.  CFC Key Worker Debbie Dean, Lender Relations Specialist, did a superb job of selling the importance of employees’ contributions for those in need.

Way to GO SBA Mississippi  :)  

Please contact CFC Operations at  for more information.


SBA Mississippi Toys for Tots Campaign

Toys for Tots

The SBA Mississippi District Office participated in the Toys for Tots campaign.  The mission of the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in the community in which the campaign is conducted.  The SBA Mississippi collected over 50 toys for this campaign, including some from sister federal agency, The Corporation for National and Community Service.  The U. S. Marine Corps collected the toys on December 14.

MS Toys for Tots


Visit the SBA Mississippi website for Upcoming Events at

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