Month presents a perfect opportunity every March to showcase the amazing women
entrepreneurs that are making history across this great nation.
Month has celebrated the contributions American Women have made to history,
culture and society annually throughout the month of March since 1987. The
2017 theme for National Women’s History Month is “Honoring Trailblazing Women
in Labor and Business.” This year, in
particular, we recognize those who have successfully challenged the role of
women in both business and the paid labor force. Women have always worked, but often their
work has been undervalued and underpaid.
Women are celebrated and honored every day by
the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). We recognize the value that
woman-owned small businesses present to our great economy. Women entrepreneurs
challenge the role that women face in the labor force every day by driving
innovation and technology; placing small business on a global competitive
playing field. The entrepreneurial drive
that women possess leads to jobs creation and exponential growth for our
economy. We often hear that small
business is the engine that drives our U.S. economy. There are nearly 10 million women owned small
businesses in the United States, so it is very clear who is in the driver’s
seat of this fast moving vessel.
In Fiscal Year 2016, nearly $800
million in SBA-backed loans were approved for women-owned small businesses in
the Southeast Region (Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, North
Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.) This represents a 15 percent increase
in lending from the previous year. In
the first three months of fiscal year 2017, we have witnessed $207 million in
SBA-backed lending to women-owned businesses; a 25 percent increase over the
same period the previous year. Increased
lending means small business growth, more jobs and sustainability. All signs are pointing to a well-deserved
celebration of women trailblazers.
For the first
time ever last year the federal government awarded 5% of its contracts to
women-owned small businesses. This may
not sound like a big deal, but it really is.
Let’s put this in to a dollar amount.
Women-owned small businesses were awarded $17.8 billion in federal
contract dollars in 2015. The SBA team
works around the clock with women entrepreneurs to make sure this goal
continues to be met year after year. This
is truly a reason to celebrate women- not only this month, but every month and
Women in Counseling
In the SBA’s
Southeast Region, the Women’s Business Centers have “Honored Trailblazing Women
in Labor and Business” through their counseling and training and their unique,
innovative courses they offer across this region for women entrepreneurs. The Centers create opportunities for women
entrepreneurs that are one of a kind and truly help overcome the challenges
that many women business owners face. In fiscal year 2016, nearly 25,000 women
entrepreneurs were trained and counseled through the Women’s Business Centers
located throughout the Southeast Region. To locate a Women’s Business Center
near you, please visit here. These Centers are assuring that we will have
plenty to celebrate every March for many, many years to come.
information on SBA’s programs and services please visit www.sba.gov.
For more information on programs for women in business, please click here.
In Mississippi, SBA's
Dean was presented a certificate and service pin in recognition of FORTY years
of service at the United States Small Business Administration’s Mississippi
Debbie began her career on September 12, 1976 as a GS-3
Clerk Typist in the Servicing/Liquidation Division and from that point has
served in many capacities including Control Clerk, Loan Servicing Assistant and
Legal Assistant to her current position of record as Lender Relations
Specialist, GS-12. Debbie is a
tremendous asset to the Mississippi District Office and we congratulate her on
her excellent service and tenure.
above from left to right Gary Reed, Deputy District Director, Rhonda Fisher, Supervisory Lender Relations Specialist, Debbie Dean, Lender Relations Specialist
and Janita Stewart, District Director.
Tom Todt, District Director
Alabama District Office congratulates Jodie and Karen Stanfield, owners of
Local Joe’s Trading Post, as Alabama’s 2017 Small Business of the Year.
Opened in 2010 as a country store, the company has expanded into restaurants
and the leading caterer in Etowah County (serving as many as 1,750 at one
event). The company now has 4 locations and over 50 employees. The original
location now includes inside and alfresco dining, a bakery, wine room and gift
area. It is a family affair, with Jodie and Karen, his parents and their son
all actively involved in the business.
The SBA Alabama District staff gathered in the
District Office Training Room to make the Administrator’s Town Hall meeting
into a working lunch on March 15. Pizza, salad and shamrock-shaped cookies
(declared to be a “green leafy vegetable” for the day). Pictured Below
Wilfredo J. Gonzalez,
The North Florida District Office supports thousands of
local women entrepreneurs through its programs and services. Donna Padgug,
Economic Development Specialist also serves as the Women’s Business
Representative. She works closely with Pat Blanchard, Director of the Women’s
Business Center (JWBC) in Jacksonville, Florida to help mentor and train women
in business. The office routinely participates in round table discussions with
the JWBC. The JWBC was recognized as the State of Florida Women’s Business Center
in 2014 under Pat Blanchard’s leadership. Visit the Jacksonville
Women’s Business Center.
The NFDO has also recently entered into a Strategic Alliance
Memorandum with National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) –Orlando
to serve more women entrepreneurs in the Central Florida market.
North Florida Woman Business Owner Highlight
Sarah Blake, President,
Elipsis Engineering & Consulting, won the 2016 U.S. Small Business
Administration’s (SBA) North Florida District and State of Florida Woman-Owned
Small Business of the Year.
Read more about Sarah and why she was given this award here.
This month we celebrate the
many accomplishments women have made to form the nation we enjoy today. From
ground-breaking technological advancements, leading multi-billion dollar
corporations to enriching the daily lives of families, the contributions by this
integral part of our population is immeasurable and can be felt around the
As a tribute, we are
featuring Diana Pierre-Louis, a South Florida Small Business owner, who has
made it her life’s mission to bridge cultural misconceptions that oftentimes
exist with the nation of Haiti; while helping business professionals and
"mom"-preneurs develop self-marketing and branding strategies through
her companies: The Real Haiti Inc. & Empower Your Brand.
Slogan Success Opens Avenues for Lake Worth Owner to Capture
the Beauty of Haiti and Beyond
business owner Diana Pierre-Louis initially learned of the hidden jewels of
Haiti – untouched areas, a beautiful culture, and warm, friendly people from
listening to stories told by her husband and country-native, Endy. After setting eyes on the country which is
often portrayed as impoverished, the then-digital marketing specialist was
determined to share all she could about the beauty of the country where her
husband was born and raised.
I wanted to do was show people the beauty of what I experienced; now it has
grown to be much more than I could've ever imagined.”
opportunity arose, Diana entered the Ministry of Tourism of Haiti’s contest to
find a new slogan for their website; and to her surprise, her winning
submission “Experience It” was then translated in Creole to “Se la pou’w la” to
capture the emotions of first time visitors.
Show Me the Money
Deputy District, Director
Rosemarie Drake represented the District at the Georgia Lender Quality Circle
conference, in Hilton Head, South Carolina March 5-7. She provided the
general-session opening remarks, presented lender awards and led break-out
sessions during the gathering that brought together lenders, lender relations
specialists, SBA legal counsel, Capital Access program managers and other
stakeholders. Drake discussed the credit requirements SOP and the recent
changes to the franchising process during her sessions. Nearly 400 people attended
the event in coastal South Carolina.
District Office Involved in Three Contracting Events in March
The SBA Kentucky District Office participated
in a Joint Utility Reception in Louisville. This event provided networking
opportunities for businesses interested in meeting key decision makers from the
utility companies in the region. Also in attendance were prime and general
contractors. The program goal is to help
grow and develop the Diversity Contracting Programs with the utility companies
and participating primes.
The Kentucky District Office also offers an 8(a)
executive roundtable program each month. This webinar format is for business
owners. Topics vary, with specific subjects rotating with open discussions
during some sessions. Any changes in regulations and procedures are also emphasized
during each webinar.
In conjunction with the City of Louisville,
the Kentucky District Office participated in a three-part Lunch & Learn series
on government contracting. The series helps
small businesses understand government contracting programs and determine if
federal contracts are a viable option. Session one provides a small business
introduction to government contracting, focusing on prime and subcontracting
assistance programs, SBA certification programs, and women and veteran owned
small business programs. Sessions two and three provide clarity and
training around how the government buys and how to sell to the government.
SBA Supports Mississippi Women
The SBA has a network of over 100 Women’s Business Centers
(WBCs) around the country to assist women in starting and growing their own
business. The WBC assist thousands of women business owners in starting and
growing successful businesses. One example is Ungela Lock, owner of B-Wize
Rentals, a rental and event staging for wedding and parties. Ungela has
always had a passion for interior design knowing how to coordinate the right
colors and patterns. Ultimately, Ungela decided to turn her hobby into a
She contacted the Women’s Business Center (WBC) for
direction on her growing business. Ungela became a client of the center
and attended an eight-week course, “Keys to Success Business Planning” at
the Women’s Business Center then located in Gulfport. The WBC helped
Ungela develop a business plan and provided strategies on how to network and
market her business.
For more information on SBA programs and services and WBC of
Mississippi, contact the SBA Mississippi District Office or the Gulfport Branch
Office or visit our web site at www.sba.gov/ms.
SBA Supports North Carolina Women Business Owners
The SBA has a network of over 100
Women’s Business Centers (WBCs) around the country to assist women in starting
and growing their own business. There are four centers in North Carolina; they
are located in Asheville, Charlotte, Fayetteville and Raleigh. WBCs in North
Carolina have assisted thousands of women business owners to start and grow
successful businesses. One such example is Ashley Thompson, owner of PRESSED, a
client of the Women’s Business Center of Fayetteville.
Ashley, a military spouse,
relocated to Fayetteville, NC in 2011.
She was motivated to start a business while her husband was deployed to
Afghanistan. Ashley aspired to turn her freelance work into a viable graphic design
and promotional marketing business. This venture would allow her to have her
own income and use her creative talents.
Ashley attended a WBC
orientation, took classes, and had one-on-one consultations. As her branding and promotional marketing
business grew, she acquired an antique letterpress. She began designing custom
and handcrafted gifts, as well as stationery and artisan made items. Ashley met
again with a WBC business consultant to assist in updating her business plan
and help with securing $20,000 in funding.
Before working with the WBC,
Ashley started the business solo with about $2,000 per month in revenue. She currently has a staff of five and three
contractors while her sales have jumped to $20,000 monthly.
“The SBA and the WBC of
Fayetteville have been a resource for me since I started my business,” said
Ashley. “They helped me evolve and grow to where I am today.”
If you want to grow your business
just like Ashley, call one of the North Carolina WBCs today!
For contact information and to
learn about other SBA programs for women click here.
Jon and Ashley Thompson in front
of PRESSED in downtown Fayetteville, NC.
Elliott O. Cooper,
The SBA South Carolina District Office recently recognized the Catawba Indian
Nation’s Red Heritage Media firm as a government contractor into the agency’s
8(a) Business Development Program.
Under the 8(a) Program; small,
disadvantaged businesses are provided a broad scope of business development
assistance ranging from specialized business training, counseling, marketing
assistance, and high-level executive development provided by the SBA and
authorized resource partners.
“We are pleased to welcome the Catawba
Indian Nation into the SBA’s 8(a) program,” said SBA South Carolina District
Director Elliott Cooper, who is also the acting Region Administrator for Region
4. “This is a historical moment for the tribe, which is located in York County,
as this announcement makes them the first-ever federally recognized Native
American firm in our state’s history.”
Pictured (L-R): Michael Corp-SBA Lead
Business Opportunity Specialist, Ronnie Beck-Small Business Coordinator/Nation,
Chris Cates-President/Red Heritage Media, Jack Canty-Director of Economic
Development/Nation, Gerry Martin-Executive Producer/Red Heritage Media, and
Carl Faison-SBA Business Opportunity Specialist
GET CERTIFIED TO DO BUSINESS WITH THE FEDERAL
During Women's History Month, SBA participated
in the National Association of Women Business Owners - Memphis Chapter (NAWBO-Memphis)
and Southwest Tennessee Community College (SWTCC) SBDC sponsored workshop
on "Doing Business With The Government".
On Thursday March 16 2017 at Memphis Bioworks
Foundation, the following entities provided information on Local, County, State
and Federal certification and contracting opportunities: City of Memphis (Joann
Massey); Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) (Ross Webb); State
GO-DBE (Richard Van Norman); and PTAC (Russell Toone).
SBA staff Business Opportunity Specialist Gloria
Armstead and Senior Area Manager Eric Terrell served on a several panels
providing expert government contracting advice, including on 8(a) and Woman
Owned Small Business (WOSB) certification. Director LaTanya Channel
moderated and welcomed the business owners, along with SBDC Director Rory
Thomas, NAWBO Memphis President Dianne Dixon and Vice President Gwen Tucker.
This was a kickoff of a series of trainings and workshops in
Memphis focused on federal contracting, but with information on state contracting
The next workshops in the series will be on
April 20 2017 and May 18 2017 at the Renaissance Business Center located at 555
Beale Street. For more information on what you need to do to prepare BEFORE
these next workshops, contact Gloria Armstead, SBA, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org; or the SWTCC SBDC at www.tsbdc.org.
On the day before in Nashville, SBA staff
Gloria Armstead and Economic Development Specialist Jacqueline Merritt
participated in a government contracting event hosted by the Nashville
Tennessee SBDC (Director John Ordung) and the Army COR of Engineering-Nashville
Small Business Programs Office (Roy Rossignol), focused on
Service Disabled Veteran Owned (SDVOSB) firms.
This March 15th "Small Business Industry
Day" event brought nearly 300 small business owners to Nashville to hear
about SBA's new Mentor Protégé program for All Small Businesses; opportunities
with over 15 federal agencies; bonding; and to have one-on-one meetings with
agencies, as arranged and matched by the Tennessee Procurement Technical
Assistance Center (PTAC).
We encourage you to learn more on contracting at www.sba.gov/gcclassroom.