NEWS For Small Businesses Across the @SBASoutheast

@SBASoutheast News to Share

March 2017

Women's History Month 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



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:

SBIR logo 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: 

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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


2017 Small Business Persons of the Year Announced Across the Nation! View List Here!


Setting the Stage By SBA Administrator Linda McMahon

SBA Administrator sets the stage for her role as leader of the SBA.

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 Get Your Money Questions Answered When Buying A Franchise

How Much Money Will You Need To Buy A Franchise?


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.


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





Women's History

Women’s History Month presents a perfect opportunity every March to showcase the amazing women entrepreneurs that are making history across this great nation. 

Celebrating Women 

Women's History 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 Entrepreneurs

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.

 Women in Lending

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.

Women in Contracting

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 every day.  

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.

For more information on SBA’s programs and services please visit  For more information on programs for women in business, please click here.  

Honoring SBA's Own

MS 40 years

In Mississippi, SBA's Debbie Dean was presented a certificate and service pin in recognition of FORTY years of service at the United States Small Business Administration’s Mississippi District Office.

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.     

Pictured 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.

What's Happening Across The Southeast Region:

SBA Alabama District Office

Tom Todt

Tom Todt, District Director

The 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

ALDO Staff

North Florida District Office

Wilfredo J. Gonzalez

Wilfredo J. Gonzalez, 
District Director

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.

NFL WBC Highlight

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.

Sarah Blake

South Florida District Office

Pancho Marrero

Francisco Marrero,

District Director

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 globe.

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.

SFL Success Story

Slogan Success Opens Avenues for Lake Worth Owner to Capture the Beauty of Haiti and Beyond

Small 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. 

"All 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.”

When the 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.

Read more

Georgia District Office

Terri Denison

Terri Denison,
District Director

Show Me the Money

Rosemarie Drake

Georgia 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.

Kentucky District Office

Ralph Ross

Ralph Ross,
District Director

Kentucky 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.

Mississippi District Office

Janita Stewart

Janita Stewart,

District Director

SBA Supports Mississippi 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. 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 business. 

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

B-wise rentals

North Carolina District Office

Lynn Douthett

Lynn Douthett,

District Director

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.

South Carolina District Office

Elliott Cooper

Elliott O. Cooper,
District Director

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.”

SC staff photo 2

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

Tennessee District Office

LaTanya Channel

LaTanya Channel, 

District Director


 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 as well.

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; or the SWTCC SBDC at

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