NEWS For Small Businesses Across the @SBASoutheast

@SBASoutheast News to Share

October 2016

breast cancer

--- In This Issue ---

Learn About:

  • Resource available for entrepreneurs
  • Events for small business happening across the Southeast Region
  • SBA Blogs 
  • SBA Tutorials
  • Contracting opportunities

MLK SAM signing

Cassius F. Butts
Region IV Administrator
U.S. Small Business Administration


SBA logo

Above: Cassius F. Butts, Regional Administrator (right) signs a Strategic Alliance Memorandum with Reverend Raphael G. Warnock, Senior Pastor, Ebenezer Baptist Church and Detria Russell (not pictured) of the MLK Sr. Community Resources Collaborative officially launching the Helping Everyone Reach Opportunities (H.E.R.O.) program on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016

SBA is proud to celebrate another year of serving small businesses. Learn how we support you!

  • Learn more about SBA loan programs
  • Get started as a contractor 
  • Find an SBA District Office
  • Manage your staff and employees
  • Choose your business location and equipment

 Resources of Interest:

Disaster small biz womens month

About The SBA Region IV Office

The SBA Region IV Office includes the states of: Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky and Tennessee. Nearly $6.1 billion in SBA-backed loans were approved to small businesses across the Southeast in fiscal year 2016. Learn more about the SBA Region IV Office: or contact the office: 

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SBA Resource Partners:

America's SBDC

Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) are located in every state. These centers offer no-cost counseling for existing small business owners. Over 75,000 small business owners were counseled just last year in the Southeast Region. Locate your local SBDC here

SCORE logo


SCORE counselors provide no-cost small business mentoring, advice, and seminars to help you better operate your small business. SCORE is a great resource to utilize when starting your own small business. Over 57,000 entrepreneurs in Region IV were assisted by SCORE volunteers this past year. Find your local SCORE Chapter here.

Women's business graphic

The Women's Business Centers (WBC) offer mentoring services as well as educational programs and networking events for women who own small businesses (as well as all entrepreneurs).  Over 18,000 women entrepreneurs were trained and counseled through WBC's in the Southeast last year. Locate your local WBC here


      SBA Southeast Region Office News and Events                 

SBA Administrator and Seal

Learn More About SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet

cassius butts

Learn More About Regional Administrator Cassius F. Butts

SBA Region IV:

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SELF Help for Small Business Owners

Learning Center

SBA Online Courses

Go to for information on SBA programs and services.

Veterans graphic

Veterans, whether you are starting or growing your business, SBA can help. 

Visit the resources SBA has for Veterans here

2017 National Small Business Week  April 30-May 6, 2017

NSBW 2017 Awards Promo - Small


How to Submit a Winning National Small Business Week Award Nomination

Four tips to help you submit a winning nomination package:

Are You SBA's Next Winner?

Are you a small business owner with an amazing success story to tell?  If so, submit your nomination today for SBA’s National Small Business Week awards.

Blog | Is Your Small Business Social Enough?
It is worth your time to build and nurture your social media presence even when your business — and your online audience — are small.

How to Know When to Change Your Business Plan

Sometimes you need to stick to your business plan to make it work. Even a mediocre strategy consistently executed over time is better than a series of brilliant strategies that keep going off in different directions. Strategy often takes time.

Fundamentals of Lean Business Planning

Every business owner should be aware of lean business planning. It’s a perfect compromise between the old-fashioned formal business plan that is too big and static, and the kind of small steps and analysis that is the watchword of lean manufacturing and lean startups

LINC- Borrower Tool

Loan Programs

Connect with lenders with the new SBA LINC tool to Find lenders in your area.


Contracting August

Did you know the federal government buys nearly $100 billion worth of goods and services from small businesses each year? Government contracts can offer significant opportunities for small businesses, but selling to the government requires a very different approach than selling to the commercial sector. 

Understand how to:

  • Qualify as a small business
  • Determine your NAICS code
  • Register for government contracting

Learn more

SBA Region IV Office

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Main: 404-331-4999


Cassius F. Butts, Regional Administrator


SBA Office of Advocacy: 

Mark Berson, Regional Advocate


SBA Region IV Office Staff:  

Tawana Farley, Regional Office Manager



Lola Kress, Regional Communications Director




veterans month

2016 SBA South Florida Veteran-Owned Small Business Person of the Year: Brian Butler, president, Vistra Communications, LLC

In November 2015, the 22-year Army veteran was honored as a Hero at Work by the Tampa Bay Business Journal. In April 2016, he was named the SBA’s South Florida District 2016 Veteran-owned SBP of the Year. Most recently, the Greater Chamber of Commerce name Vistra Communications Small Business of the Year and recognized Brian as a finalist for Small Business Leader of the Year. Vistra is also ranked #1 this year in Tampa Bay Business Journal’s List of Public Relations Firms in the Tampa Bay Area.


What's Happening Around the Region

SBA Alabama District Office

Tom Todt

Tom Todt, District Director

The Alabama District Office hit the new fiscal year running wide open, with a variety of outreach events already under our belts—and ready to enter into ACR! Of special interest is a meeting with members of the League of Southeastern Credit Unions to discuss SBA Lending Programs. LSCU has 261 member credit unions, with $76B in assets and over 7 million members.

lender Relations AL

Lead Lender Relations Specialist L. D. Ralph explains SBA loan programs to member credit unions of the LSCU. About a dozen large Alabama credit unions took part in the meeting.

alabama signing

Above: Lead Lender Relations Specialist L. D. Ralph (left) and Deputy District Director Raymond Hembree (rear) discuss SBA programs and services with attendees at a Financial Literacy Forum hosted by Representative Terri Sewell (AL-07), and Birmingham City Councilors Sheila Tyson and Steven Hoyt. The forum, held at the Birmingham Crossplex, was entitled: Consumer Beware: How to Avoid Predatory Lending Practices and Gain Access to Critical Capital. The event included a panel discussion and information tables sponsored by banks, government agencies and non-profit NGOs.

alabama event october

Representative Sewell visited with each of the participating groups at the Forum. (L to R: District Director Tom Todt, Rep. Sewell, Lead Lender Relations Specialist L. D. Ralph)

North Florida District Office

Wilfredo Gonzalez

Wilfredo J. Gonzalez, 
District Director

The North Florida District Office participated in the 2016 Florida Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders (FLAGGL) conference. Rosalind Bryant, Lender Relations Specialist provided the audience with updates and other information about North Florida. The office also resigned the Statewide Strategic Alliance Memorandum (SAM) along with the South Florida Office.

NFL group photo

Pictured: Cassius Butts, SBA Regional Administrator;  Rosalind Bryant, North Florida District Lender Relations Specialist; Jonel Hein, Deputy District Director for the South Florida Office; and Rick Von Minden, FLAGGL Board President.

The North Florida District Office also recently hosted a Lender’s Panel designed to answer questions for small business owners. The event was hosted by Rosalind Bryant, Lender Relations Specialist and Natalie Hall, Economic Development Specialist. The event also featured speakers from the Small Business Development Center at the University of North Florida and SCORE.

South Florida District Office

Pancho Marrero

Francisco Marrero,

District Director

Drumroll, please!

It is with great pleasure and heartfelt appreciation that I ask you to join us in celebrating yet another record breaking year in lending for the South Florida District with back-to-back years exceeding $1B in lending! This noteworthy accomplishment could not have be possible without the hard work and dedication of our SBA staff, resource partners and our network of robust financial institutions.

The mark of success is gauged at various levels, however, the results of this team’s efforts have made a tremendous impact and lasting impression throughout our small business communities!

For Nat’l Veterans SBW, our team has several #myvetbiz events targeted at educating our veteran population and increasing our ongoing outreach efforts to those who voluntarily answered our nation's call to defend freedom and democracy around the world:

Nov. 1 – Webinar: Contracting for Veterans and Service Disabled Veterans and Veteran Loan Programs

Nov. 2 – SBA Programs, Loan Programs and Contracting (Miami Vet Center)

Nov. 2 - Financing for Veteran Owned Small Businesses (South Florida District Office, Miami, Florida)

Nov. 4 – 8(a) and Veterans Programs (Women’s Business Center, Hollywood, Florida)

Nov. 4 – US Southern Command Career Fair for Veterans (Doral, Florida)

Georgia District Office

Terri Denison

Terri Denison,
District Director

The Check is in The Mail

The Georgia District Office presented “Big Checks” to its two PRIME Grant winners, in separate ceremonies in Atlanta. The Federation Of Southern Cooperatives Land Assistance Fund and Georgia Micro Enterprise Network were among the 37 national winners. FSCLA, based in East Point, Georgia, received $185K and GMEN, based in Metro-Atlanta, received more than $187K. Both organizations will use the funds to increase their capacity to serve economically disadvantaged entrepreneurs.

Big Check GA

District Director Terri Denison, presents FSCLA Executive Director, Eugene Blanding, with the Big Check”.

District Director Terri Denison presents GMEN Executive Director, Elizabeth Wilson and her staff, the “Big Check”.


Kentucky District Office

Ralph Ross

Ralph Ross,
District Director

Two Kentucky Accelerators Awarded $50,000 from SBA

The SBA recently announced the 68 winners of the third annual Growth Accelerator Fund Competition. Two award winners from Kentucky, Chef Space and XlerateHealth, will receive $50,000 each from a total of $3.4 million in prizes to boost the economic impact of accelerators across 32 states and the District of Columbia. 

Ralph Ross, SBA’s District Director for Kentucky, is encouraged by the awards to Chef Space and XLerateHealth. Regarding Chef Space, he stated, “The West Side of Louisville has 112,000 people with an annual income of $655 million. More local restaurants and dining alternatives need to be developed there so people can spend some of that income without going so far from home. We sincerely appreciate our partners at Community Ventures, an SBA lender, and the work they have done on this Chef Space project.

Ralph Ross continued, “XLerateHealth is a valuable resource to Louisville-area startups. Health-based startups follow a path from research to human trials to a final scale-up for delivery to patients all over the world. Each step takes special knowledge and special funding. XLerateHealth has a broad network of partner-experts with scientific and financial experience.

The purpose of the competition was to draw attention and funding to parts of the country where there are gaps in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. These accelerators serve entrepreneurs in a broad set of industries and sectors, with many focused on creating a diverse and inclusive small business community.

The awards were coordinated through SBA’s Office of Investment and Innovation (OII), Office of Native American Affairs, and Office of Veterans Business Development, along with its federal partners: the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and Department of Education. 

In addition to the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition, SBA’s OII also supports investment and innovation in Kentucky and across the nation through two flagship programs: Small Business Investment Companies (SBICs) and Small Business Innovation (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR).

For more information about the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition, visit or and look under Press Releases.

Mississippi District Office

Janita Stewart

Janita Stewart,

District Director

On Friday, October 7th  Deborah Dean and Jeremy Sanford of the Mississippi District Office participated in Congressman Bennie Thompson’s annual college and career fair. This was a very successful event in which high school students from area came to explore opportunities for the next phase of their lives. The SBA team was able to communicate to hundreds of high school students the career opportunities that are available through the SBA. We discussed with the students about the resources that SBA has to offer to assist entrepreneurs in starting their own businesses. We also talked to the students about SBA’s Pathways program which employs college students and gives them an opportunity to work with the federal government while they are pursuing their education.

MS Career Fair

Photo:  (L to R) Jeremy Sanford, Economic Development Specialist Mississippi District Office, Congressman Bennie Thompson and Deborah Dean, Lender Relations Specialist Mississippi District Office

SBA Seeks Nominations for 2017 Mississippi Small Business Person of the Year & Champion Awards

The Mississippi SBA Small Business Person of the Year will be invited to attend the national celebration in Washington, DC to compete for the National Small Business Person of the Year award against winners from across the country. 

Small Business Champions of the Year award categories are for those who promote small business, including volunteering time and services to small business interests and groups. Champions may or may not be small business owners.

SBA Awards given in celebration of Small Business Week include the following categories:

  • Small Business Person of the Year
  • Small Business Exporter
  • Young Entrepreneur
  • Generational Family-Owned Small Business
  • Minority Small Business Champion
  • Women in Business Champion
  • Veteran Small Business Champion
  • Home-Based Business Champion
  • Financial Services Champion
  • Entrepreneurial Success Award
  • Small Business Journalist   

  • Phoenix Awards (recognizing outstanding accomplishments during disaster recovery)

Nomination packages for the Small Business Person of the Year and Champion Awards may be mailed or hand delivered to SBA Mississippi-Gulfport Branch Office 2510 14th Street, Suite 103, Gulfport, MS  39501 no later than 4:00pm, Monday, January 10, 2017.

Descriptions of the award categories and instructions on how to nominate a person can be found online at:  Businesses and business persons can self-nominate themselves.

For nomination guidelines and additional information regarding the awards, visit the SBA Mississippi web site at or contact the SBA Mississippi District Office at (601) 965-4378 or Gulfport Branch Office at (228) 863-4449.

North Carolina District Office

Lynn Douthett

Lynn Douthett,

District Director

SBA Lending in 2016: Record Amount of Funding Approved in North Carolina

“It’s another banner year, thanks to our lending partners!  This year our lenders have placed more capital in the hands of North Carolina entrepreneurs than ever before.  Our lenders make the difference helping our firms create jobs, increase sales and grow their business.  They foster economic development in North Carolina,” said Lynn Douthett, SBA North Carolina District Director.

Fiscal Year 2016 marked a record year for SBA lending in North Carolina. This is the first time SBA loans exceeded three-quarters of a billion dollars in any one year.  The North Carolina district office reported a 32 percent increase in 7(a) loans for FY2016 – with 1,244 loans totaling over $701 million.   Through SBA’s 504 fixed-asset financing program, Certified Development Companies approved 95 loans for more than $68 million.

Overall, North Carolina’s 7(a) and 504 loan volume increased 33 percent with a total of 1,339 loans totaling almost $770 million.  This far exceeds the agency’s growth year over year of 3.5%.

VETERANS: The accomplishments of veteran small business owners around the country will be celebrated during National Veterans Small Business Week (NVSBW), October 31 – November 4, 2016. 

 NVSBW provides us the opportunity to applaud the success of veteran entrepreneurs, and to let transitioning military, veterans and their spouses and partners know about the SBA’s programs and services.  During the past year, SBA provided over $1.2 billion in capital for over 3,200 businesses owned by veterans and their spouses.

 During this special week, SBA works with partner organizations to provide training and mentoring opportunities to help to assist veterans on the road to entrepreneurship.

Charlotte, NC – November 1

On Tuesday November 1, 2016, the Central Piedmont Community College Small Business Center is hosting My Vet Biz: Opportunities for Veteran Business Owners in Charlotte. The session will highlight entrepreneurial opportunities for service members.  Topics covered include SBA resources, government contracting and small business finance. Q&A session will follow. For details and registration information, click here.

veterans month

WHAT: #MyVetBiz Opportunities for Veteran Business Owners

WHEN: Tuesday, November 1st   8:30 am – 12:00 pm

WHERE: Central Piedmont Community College Small  Business Center, Hall Building, 1112 Charlottetowne Avenue, Charlotte, NC 28204

South Carolina District Office

Elliott Cooper

Elliott Cooper,
District Director

After 9 years, Sharp Business Consulting Services is slated to graduate from the SBA’s 8(a) Program. Wayne Sims, owner, entered the SBA's 8(a) program in 2007.  Sharp Business Consulting Services is a health and wellness government contractor. The business provides consulting services and personal physical rehabilitation training.  One of his prime clients is soldiers in the U.S. Army. Services are provided right here in Columbia, SC at Fort Jackson Army Installation.  One of the major accomplishments is that Sharp Business Consulting Services employs 23 employees. Carl Faison, Business Opportunity Specialist, has counseled the firm for the last 12 months. SBA sends a huge congratulation to Sharp Business Consulting Services for its commitment to success. In addition, a big thanks goes to Mr. Faison for his support to the firm!

SC 8a

Left to right: Wayne Sims-Owner of Sharp Business Consulting Services and Carl Faison- South Carolina SBA, Business Opportunity Specialist

Tennessee District Office

John Mallano, Acting District Director

The Tennessee District SBA Office co-hosted the LGBT Business Builder on October 12 in Nashville, with the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC). The LGBT Business Builder is an historic national initiative in partnership with the SBA. The purpose of this initiative is to remove barriers and increase access to strategic growth opportunities for America’s LGBT business owners. An SBA Resource Panel included representatives from SCORE, the SBDC, the Women’s Business Center and local lenders.  The Nashville LGBT Chamber, whose director is Lisa Howe, was also a partner for the event and is an affiliate of the NGLCC.  The Tennessee District Office has a Strategic Alliance Memorandum agreement, since 2015, with the Nashville LGBT Chamber.

The Tennessee District Office celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month with the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (NAHCC) on October 12 with an Awards Ceremony that included the signing of a Strategic Alliance Memorandum (SAM)  with the chamber.  SBA DDD, LaTanya Channel, and NAHCC CEO, Yuri Cunza, signed the SAM during ceremonies held in Nashville. . Since 2012, a pilot program between the SBA and the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has helped widen the agency's outreach efforts and connect Hispanic small business owners and entrepreneurs with local lenders and business counseling to help them grow and create more jobs.  The Nashville Hispanic chamber was one of four cities in the US chosen to participate in the pilot program.

To celebrate National Veterans Small Business Week, the District Office hosts two workshops for Veterans and their families, one in Nashville and the other in Memphis on October 26 at 2 International Plaza, Suite 500, Nashville, TN 37217 from 9:30am-11am Central; and November 3 in Memphis at the Renaissance Business Center, 555 Beale St. Memphis, TN 38103 from 2:30-4pm Central. Veteran entrepreneurs’ access to capital and government contracting opportunities some of the subject areas to be covered. To register for the Nashville event or the Memphis event, please visit the District Office website, or contact David Tiller, Veterans Business Development Officer, (615) 767-2493.

On October 28-30, DDD LaTanya Channel and Economic Development Specialist, Jacqueline Merritt, will participate in the annual Tennessee Governor’s Conference in Nashville.

Kena Dixon, Business Opportunity Specialist, will present a workshop on SBA’s  certification programs, “Small Business Certifications-Are You Prepared?” 10am-Noon, Central, on November 9 at the District Office. For more information or to register please visit or contact the TN District Office, (615) 736-5881.

On November 16, the District Office will participate in the “Oak Ridge National Laboratory Small Business Outreach Event,” from 8:00am to 3:00pm Eastern, at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, 1 Bethel Valley Rd., Oak Ridge, TN. Other participating federal state and local agencies include GSA, Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU), CNS-Y12, and the City of Knoxville. Pre-registration is required: