NEWS For Small Businesses Across the @SBASoutheast

@SBASoutheast News to Share

February 2017

--- In This Issue ---

Learn About:

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

African American History Month


Elliott Cooper

Elliott O. Cooper
Acting Region IV Administrator
U.S. Small Business Administration

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:

NSBW Disaster

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: 

Follow us on:

Small Business Development Centers

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 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 Centers

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 Region IV Office News and Events                 

SBA Region IV:

region 4

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 General Promo


Creating Jobs By Investing In Small Business

As Washington prepares for inauguration, a study released today conducted by the Library of Congress’ Federal Research Division provides insight into a topic that interests every Administration – private sector job creation. 

Simple Social Media Guide for Small Businesses

Whether you’ve been active or considering a brand refresh, focus on a few best practices when approaching social media.

How to Use the ‘Rule of Three’ to Create a Business Credit Profile

Did you know a business credit profile plays a direct role in a company’s ability to obtain credit that it can use to purchase products or services?

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.

Contracting: Does Your Small Business Qualify?

Small businesses do big business with the federal government. Think about the possibilities of generating sales and revenue with the government.

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

Main: 404-331-4999


Elliott O. Cooper, 

Acting Regional Administrator


SBA Region IV Office Staff:  

Tawana Farley, Regional Office Manager



Lola Kress, Regional Communications Director




Please Join us in Welcoming the 25th Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, Linda McMahon!

Linda McMahon


On February 14, 2017, the U.S. Senate confirmed President Donald Trump’s nomination of Linda E. McMahon as the 25th Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration. 

As Administrator of the SBA, McMahon will direct a federal agency with more than 2,000 full-time employees, with a leading role in helping small business owners and entrepreneurs secure financing, technical assistance and training, and federal contracts. SBA also plays a leading role in disaster recovery by making low interest loans.

McMahon is the co-founder and chief executive officer of Women’s Leadership LIVE, as well as the co-founder and former CEO of WWE.  She was the Republican nominee to represent Connecticut in the U.S. Senate in 2010 and 2012.  McMahon is an advocate for small business and continues to promote entrepreneurship, particularly among women.

McMahon is a graduate of East Carolina University. She and her husband, Vince, have two adult children and six grandchildren.

Watch McMahon’s Statement to the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship HERE.

Up Front & Center: VBOC Resource to Veteran Entrepreneurs


Find a VBOC Near You:

The Veteran's Business Outreach Centers (VBOC) may be one of the best small business resources available for veteran entrepreneurs. The mission of the VBOC program, which is funded by the SBA, is to create, develop and retain veteran-owned small business enterprises. The centers assist thousands of entrepreneurs each year.  The VBOCs in Region IV are located:

Veterans Business Outreach Center at

Gulf Coast State College

Coverage: Florida

Address: 5230 US-98, Panama City, FL 32401


Telephone: (800) 542-7232 | (805) 769-1551, ext. 3327

Email: (link sends e-mail)  

Veterans Business Outreach Center at

Fayetteville State University  

Coverage: Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina

Address: 1200 Murchison Rd, Fayetteville, NC 28301


Telephone: (910) 672-2683

Email: (link sends e-mail)  

Veterans Business Outreach Center at

Mississippi State University  

Coverage: Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee

Address: 60 Technology Blvd, Ste 105 D, Starkville, MS 39759


Telephone: (662) 325-4990

Email: (link sends e-mail)

Veterans Business Outreach Center at

Georgia Southern University  

Coverage: Georgia

Address: 58 E Main St, Statesboro, GA 30458


Telephone: (912) 478-2005


What's Happening Across The Southeast Region:

SBA Alabama District Office

Tom Todt

Tom Todt, District Director

SBA Alabama District Office Lead Lender Relations Specialist L.D. Ralph speaks to DeKalb County High School students during the annual Made in DeKalb Expo. The event promotes local businesses and service providers. SBA Resource Partner, Women’s Business Center of North Alabama/Technology Regional Innovation Cluster-Huntsville (TechRich), also participated in the Made in DeKalb Expo.

AL Expo

Above: Thom Rigsby, TechRich contractor, and Floyd Martin, TechRich Project Manager, staff the booth during the Made in DeKalb Expo.

Alabama District Director Celebrates 20 Years of Federal Service:

In other SBA Alabama District Office news, District Director Tom Todt recently received his 20-year service certificate and pin. Todt has been the Director since 2008, and has 12 years of creditable active duty military service in the U.S. Army. Congratulations, Tom!

North Florida District Office

Wilfredo Gonzalez

Wilfredo J. Gonzalez, 
District Director

The North Florida District staff participated in an informational meeting/training provided by Florida Coastal School of Law on providing assistance to startup businesses on their legal needs. The college provides free legal assistance to area startups, and will work with the office to provide some training to local entrepreneurs that will benefit. The school provides a free law clinic run by law students that need the practice, and provides custom agreements, counseling, and general training.

NFDO pic 1

Above Pictured L to R: Donna Padgug, EDS; Katharine Hartland, Supervising Attorney and Florida Coastal School of Law Professor; Annette Paulson, EDS; Jay Choi, BOS; and Tisa Clark, BOS

SBA Staff Tour National Entrepreneur Center Orlando: Gilbert Colón, Deputy District Director; Ed Ramos, Senior Area Manager; and Nayana Sen, Public Affairs Specialist recently toured the National Entrepreneur Center (NEC) in Orlando, Florida. The NEC hosts several of SBA’s resource and community partners in Central Florida. The group met resource partners including with Eunice Choi, Regional Director for the Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida and Dick Meyer, SCORE Orlando Chapter Chair. Additionally, the group met with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida and Prospera (formerly Hispanic Business Initiative Fund of Central Florida), both of which have active Strategic Alliance Memorandums in place with the SBA.

N Fl pic 2

 Above Pictured L to R: Ed Ramos, Orlando Senior Area Manager; Margie Viera, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida, Director of Business Development; Gaby Ortigoni, Vice President, Prospera; Gilbert Colón, SBA Deputy District Director; and Frank Lopez, New President for the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida

South Florida District Office

Pancho Marrero

Francisco Marrero,

District Director

SBA South Florida District Director Pancho Marrero addressed more than 80 lenders during a Small Business Lender Forum on January 26, hosted by the Florida SBDC Network, Florida First Capital Finance Corporation (CDC) and Florida Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders.  He thanked the lenders in attendance for assisting the District in reaching over $1 billion in loan guarantees for the second year in a row.  The program included information on how lenders can collaborate better with the SBDC for clients seeking funding and for managerial support after their clients have received funding.

Pancho Marrero

Georgia District Office

Terri Denison

Terri Denison,
District Director

SBA: Don’t Leave Home Without It

td rd no words

Georgia District Director Terri Denison and Deputy District Director Rosemarie Drake, led break-out sessions during the American Express OPEN for Government Contracting Success conference in Atlanta. The one-day event brought together vendors, potential and current business owners, government agencies, procurement specialist and others in the contracting and business community. Denison and Drake, in separate sessions, discussed how to get started in the government contracting arena and how to access capital to fund a winning bid. American Express created the OPEN for Government Contracting series to provide businesses with valuable resources and connections to help them strategically grow by selling to the government. The conference featured seminars, panel discussions, vendor demonstrations, networking sessions and even business services like webpage design and professional headshots. More than 700 people attended the event in downtown Atlanta.

Kentucky District Office

Ralph Ross

Ralph Ross,
District Director

SBA Celebrates Women’s History Month in March in Kentucky

Women's History

Each year, SBA celebrates Women’s’ History Month and highlights SBA resources for women business owners. Learn more about SBA Women's Business Resources and

For more details, visit or call 502-582-5971.

 Read Women Small Business Success Stories from the SBA Kentucky District Office:

·       Blue Halo Med Spa

·       Puzzles Academy and Puzzles Fun Dome

·       Strategic Communications

·       Marine Solutions, Inc.

·       Custom Officials Wear, LLC

Mississippi District Office

Janita Stewart

Janita Stewart,

District Director

On February 6th, Mississippi District Director Janita Stewart and Deputy District Director Gary Reed visited the Joint Field Office and met with SBA Office of Disaster Assistance, FEMA and MEMA staff located at Camp Shelby in Hattiesburg, MS.  The visit was due to severe storms, tornadoes, and flooding incurred on January 20th and 21st.  The primary counties included Forrest, Lamar, Lauderdale and Perry and economic Injury assistance was provided to 14 contiguous Mississippi counties. 

As of February 14th, more than $2.42 million has been provided to small businesses and homeowners.  Homeowners and small business owners that require financial recovery assistance are asked to apply for low-interest loans by calling SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955. For more information on all disaster declarations, visit

MS disaster

North Carolina District Office

Lynn Douthett

Lynn Douthett,

District Director

Fayetteville North Carolina Climbing Gym remains open after Hurricane Matthew with the help of SBA Disaster Assistance

Late last fall Hurricane Matthew wreaked havoc in the southeastern United States.  North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida and Virginia were devastated by flood waters and high winds. No one knows that better than Michael Pinkston, owner of The Climbing Place in Fayetteville, NC. The Climbing Place is an indoor climbing center with an 18,000 square foot climbing surface. They offer climbing classes, birthday parties, and special programs for children. There is also a retail store for climbing and backpacking enthusiasts.

On October 8, 2016, Matthew swept through the city and more than two feet of water rushed into the climbing center. The damage was extensive. All of the safety mats were soaked, as were the offices. Electrical wiring was damaged, too. Michael and his staff were not able to return to the business until several days later.

After a local official informed him about SBA disaster loans, Michael visited the Business Recovery Center that opened up in Fayetteville to support businesses affected by the storm. Mr. Johnnie Marshburn from the North Carolina Small Business & Technology Development Center helped with the application and Michael received a $325,000 disaster business loan to make the necessary repairs.

"There are many caring individuals whose job it is to help you recover from Hurricane Matthew," Michael said.

To date over 2,500 SBA Disaster loans for over $91 million have been approved in North Carolina for homes, businesses and economic injury to provide relief for the damage caused by Matthew which affected over 50 counties in the state.

While the filing deadline to submit applications for physical property damage has passed, the deadline for economic injury applications is July 10, 2017. Disaster loan information and application forms may be obtained by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 or by sending an email to

NC Check

Sandra Lawson, Public Affairs Specialist in SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance (far right) presents a ceremonial check to Michael Pinkston (center) and the staff of The Climbing Place in Fayetteville, NC.

South Carolina District Office

Elliott Cooper

Elliott O. Cooper,
District Director

Elliott Cooper was interviewed by University of South Carolina’s broadcasting students. The students were very interested in what the SBA offers and how we help startups and small businesses succeed. The first interview, Mr. Cooper talked about counseling, capital, contracting and disaster. In the second interview he discussed some of the challenges small businesses face and offered some advice on how we assist them. The interviews will air on USC’s campus television station in coming weeks.

USC Filming

Above: On February 2nd and February 9, 2017, University of South Carolina Broadcasting Students interview Elliott Cooper, SBA South Carolina District Director

Tennessee District Office

LaTanya Channel

LaTanya Channel, 

District Director

The SBA Tennessee District Office Has a New District Director: LaTanya Channel

Congratulations to LaTanya Channel (pictured above), who was recently named as the new District Director of the SBA Tennessee District Office. LaTanya came to the SBA in 2005, after having served at the US Department of Agriculture in Washington DC. Prior to joining the Tennessee District Office, she served as Senior Advisor in SBA’s Office of 8(a) Business Development; Chief of HUBZone Certification; and Chief of Small Disadvantaged Business Certification —all at SBA’s Washington DC headquarters office. She is a graduate of Rutgers-Newark School of Law and began her small business career by providing legal representation and counsel to small business owners. She earned her undergraduate degree at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, California.  LaTanya joined the SBA Tennessee District Office as Deputy District Director in July 2014 and was announced as the Director in January 2017.

Meet SBA's New Senior Area Manager in Memphis

terrell TN

Eric Terrell has been hired as SBA's new Senior Area Manager at the Memphis satellite office.  Eric comes to the SBA Tennessee District Office from the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) in  Kentucky, where he was a Marketing Specialist in the Louisville office. Eric's marketing territory included all of Kentucky and the middle part of Tennessee, and has extensive experience in federal government contracting and the GSA Schedule. He is a retired military Veteran, having served in the U.S. Marine Corps for over twenty years.