SBA Updates For Entrepreneurs Across the South- From SBA Region 4

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Southeast Regional Office  -  November 2017

u s small business administration
Small Business Saturday

Click here for more Information on #SmallBusinessSaturday

Thank You Entrepreneurs!!


SBA Resource Partner News


SCORE Counselors To America's Entrepreneurs

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. Nearly 135,000 entrepreneurs in Region IV were assisted by SCORE volunteers this past year.

Locate Your Local SCORE Chapter Here

SBDC's from computer

Small Business Development Centers (SBDC)

SBDC's are located throughout every state. These centers offer no-cost counseling for existing small business owners. Nearly 70,000 small business owners were counseled just last year in the Southeast Region alone.

Locate Your Local SBDC Here


Women's Business Centers (WBC) 

The WBC's offer counseling, mentoring services as well as educational programs and networking events for women-owned small businesses (all entrepreneurs).  Nearly 22,000 women entrepreneurs were trained and counseled through WBC's across the Southeast last year.  

Locate Your Local WBC Here 


Veteran's Business Outreach Centers (VBOC) 

VBOC's are located strategically across the Southeast to service Veteran entrepreneurs every step of the way. VBOC's in the Southeast have counseled and trained nearly 6,000 veteran entrepreneurs; assisting them in reaching and surpassing their entrepreneurial goals. 

Locate Your Local VBOC Here

What Entrepreneurs Need to Know TODAY

National Small Business Week

National Small Business Week Nominations Now Being Accepted

Through January 9, 2018

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.

Since 1963, National Small Business Week has served as our nation’s salute to small business owners. That’s more than 50 years of celebrating small business owners who create two out of every three new jobs for Americans. Many household names were previous National Small Business Week award winners, including Ben and Jerry’s, Callaway Golf, Chobani, Dogfish Head, Stonyfield Farm, Pacifica, Maui Brewing Company and Tom’s of Maine.

All nominations must be mailed or hand delivered to the nearest SBA office no later than 3:00 p.m. ET on January 9, 2018.  Winners will be announced during National Small Business Week, April 29-May 5, 2018.

Read More Here


Disaster jobs

SBA Hiring To Assist With Hurricane Relief Efforts

The SBA is hiring to fill temporary positions to provide aid to those affected by the recent hurricanes. Check out the list of positions open at this time on the disaster section of the website.

 Apply Today

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No time to attend one of SBA's workshops in person?  Why not take a course from wherever you are!  Check out what courses we have available to help you grow your small business- at no cost!

Learning Center

What's Happening in YOUR Area

For Small Business?

Tom Todt

SBA Alabama District Office

Thomas A. Todt, District Director

Veterans from Mobile area gathered for a local ‘Reboot’ small business training event on November 9, the day before the Veterans Day federal holiday. The free event was held at the Mobile Chamber of Commerce.

Reboot is a term for a one-day version of the two-day Boots-2-Business (B2B) course that the US Small Business Administration (SBA) presents several times a year at all US military installations worldwide. “Veterans start and own small businesses at a rate twice the general population," said Brent McMahan, local Senior Area Manager with SBA. ‘"But many veterans in our area don’t know how to begin a small business. Many don’t have financing, or how to qualify for financing. Reboot helps train veterans so they can become entrepreneurs."   

Alabama Reboot Course

Pictured above at the event is Hayley Van Antwerp, Executive Director of Mobile’s Innovation PortAl, a new downtown incubator still under construction.  She addressed the numerous resources veterans will find at the new Depot when it opens. Other speakers, including SBA’s Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) from Mississippi State University, and the University of South Alabama Small Business Development Center (USA SBDC), covered subjects like legal business structures, market analyses, financing, and tapping into other local resources.  Steve Carey, retired USAF, gave personal testimony on his small business ownership experience in Baldwin County.

Wilfredo Gonzalez

SBA North Florida District Office

Wilfredo J. Gonzalez, District Director

 The North Florida District Office recently held a graduation for the 2017 Emerging Leaders Program participants. The Emerging Leaders training is a 7-month intensive, executive entrepreneurship education series that includes approximately 100 hours of classroom time per participant. Small business owners to work with experienced mentors, attend workshops, and develop connections with their peers, city leaders and financial communities.

North Fl Emerging Leaders 2017 Class
Back Row L-R – Program Contributors including SBA, resource, and community partners: Curry Workman, Bill Habermeyer, Lisa Crowley, Suzi Lemon, Gil Colon, Janice Donaldson, Vickie Beaudry, and Annette Paulson// Front Row L-R – Emerging Leaders Participants: Wayne Reed, Pegine Echevarria, and Tony Guan

The North Florida District hosted a workshop called Let’s Talk Money Lenders Panel during National Veterans Small Business Week. The workshop was coordinated by Natalie Hall, Veterans Representative and Economic Development Specialist and featured several speakers including SBA District Director Wilfredo Gonzalez and James Van Horn, Lead Lender Relations Specialist. The event was designed to help veterans learn about how they can start or grow their businesses through the use of capital. The panel members included the SBA North Florida, Jacksonville Women’s Business Center, ACCION (microlender), LiftFund, Florida Business Development Corporation, and Florida First Capital Finance. The event was attended by 25 people, the majority of whom were veterans.

North FL Veterans Small Business Week Event
Pictured (L): Natalie Hall, EDS and Wilfredo Gonzalez, DD speaking to the group. Pictured (R): James Van Horn, Lead LRS presenting to the group.

Pancho Marrero


SBA South Florida District Office

Francisco "Pancho" Marrero, District Director

“2018 #myvetbiz Team Training”

The South Florida District Office kicked-off the 2018 National Veteran Small Business Week celebration with a Reboot to Business workshop on November 1st at U.S. Southern Command.

South FL Boots Pic
(L to R) Orlando Espinosa of the Small Business Development Center – Florida International University and SFDO Economic Development Specialist Tina Davis facilitated veteran entrepreneur training topics to veteran Sandra Brown, Senior Master Sgt. James Normandin, Petty Officer Evan Williams, Sgt. Major Terri Ussery-Hendrieth, Chief Warrant Officer Nick Perez, and Lt. Cmdr. Chad Wedel.

Police Officer South FL

This month, we are joining our nation in recognizing the selfless sacrifices and accomplishments that exist within our veteran community. In doing so, we are saluting a local unsung hero and former Marine Edward Hayes who was named the 2017 State of Florida and South Florida District Veteran Small Business Person of the Year.

The president of Haynes Security operates his company from a headquarters in the heart of Miami’s Liberty City neighborhood.

 Click here to read more on how the SBDC mentor team helped the Village of Miami Shores first black police officer access the capital needed to successfully expand his business.  

Video Link:

Jonel Hein Speaks at FLAGGL

Also this month, SBA South Florida Deputy District Director Jonel Hein delivered remarks during the 6th annual Florida Association of Government Guaranteed Lender (FLAGG) Conference held at Orlando’s JW Marriot on November 14th. During the event, both 2017 Small Business Persons of the Year from the North and South Florida Districts were recognized for success as small business owners.

Jonel Hein and SBPOY

South Florida Deputy District Director Jonel Hein stands with Paul Morrow, the president of South Dade Air Conditioning and Refrigeration during the 2017 FLAGGL Conference on November 14th. Morrow was also recognized as the 2017 State of Florida and South Florida District Small Business Person of the Year.

Terri Denison

SBA Georgia District Office

Terri L. Denison, District Director

The SBA Georgia District Office graduated the final Emerging Leaders class for 2017. The class started in April with 12 students and winnowed down to six amazing entrepreneurs; representing the construction, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, real estate and security industries. Although the participation and graduation rates were lower than previous years, the student’s effort and potential for continued success is at an all-time high. Several students have already created additional jobs and closed new deals using the information learned during the classes. ”Before I started this course all I focused on was what my business needed to do tomorrow. I had no idea how to think strategically or how to grow. Now I know how to work on my business instead of working in my business,” says Ryan Schulte the class nominated valedictorian.

GA Emerging Leaders Grads
The Georgia Emerging Leaders Class of 2017

Ralph Ross

SBA Kentucky District Office

Ralph Ross, District Director

Kentucky SBA Lenders Conference

The Kentucky SBA Lenders Association held its annual Reception and Conference November 16 and 17. Attendees included SBA lenders from across the region, SBA Resource Providers (SBDC, SCORE and the Women’s Business Center), economic development organizations and SBA employees. Lender awards were presented for SBA loans to top performing community and national and community banks, CDC/504 lenders and microlenders. The association also acknowledged individual loan officers for their outstanding achievements and named them to the 2017 Kentucky SBA All-Star Team. 

The keynote speaker was Papa John’s Founder John Schnatter. Breakout sessions included such diverse topics as Environmental Reporting; Buy/Sell Agreements; Business Valuations; Quick Close Life Insurance Assignments; SBA/NAGGL Updates; and Microloan Training. SBA success stories were also featured.     

In 2017, there were 683 SBA loans in Kentucky for almost $187 million, ranking in the “Top Five” all-time for loan dollars. 

Top lenders KY

Janita Stewart

SBA Mississippi District Office

Janita R. Stewart, District Director

The Mississippi Small Business Administration graduated six small businesses from its 2017 Emerging Leaders Executive Training program.  These participating firms dedicated eight months and more than 100 hours of work in various evening classes during that period. The graduates celebrated during a graduation program on Tuesday, November 7th at the SBA Mississippi District Office in Jackson, MS. 

The six entrepreneurs whose firms successfully completed the Emerging Leaders training are:

  • Edward Peter Cole, Owner, Electro National Corporation, Jackson, MS
  •  James Phipps, President\Founder, BeCloud, Jackson, MS
  •  Jason Thompson, Principal Owner, Fahrenheit Creative Group, Jackson, MS
  •  John Chambers, C.E.O., CardSoft Technologies, Jackson, MS
  •  Joseph Miller, President, ElectricWorks Inc., Jackson, MS
  •  Margaret Skinner, Vice-President, PRN Devices, Inc., Raymond, MS

The SBA Emerging Leaders Initiative is a federal training initiative that specifically focuses on executives of businesses poised for growth in historically challenged communities.  “This is the third class of the Emerging Leaders initiative,” said Gary Reed, Interise Program Manager and SBA Deputy District Director.  “The program provides executives the organizational framework, resource networks and motivation to grow their business while promoting economic development within challenged urban communities.”   John Brandon, Instructor and retiree of the Mississippi Development Authority, provided comments regarding the training program and unique curriculum. 

MS emerging leaders grads 2
Gary Reed, Mississippi District Deputy Director presenting award to Phipps, Cole, Skinner, and Miller
2 Emerging leaders grads
Gary Reed presenting award to Mr. Thompson (left) and John Chambers (right)

Mississippi Veterans Small Business Week

In honor of National Veterans Small Business week the SBA Mississippi Office hosted a Veteran Owned Small Business “Vet Talks” session comprised of high performing veteran owned small business owners. Participants were enlightened by firsthand accounts on how to elevate their businesses using SBA’s programs as well as strategies to adapt their product/service relative to market conditions. The session was capped off by affording audience members an opportunity to present questions to a panel consisting of veteran business owners, Mississippi District Office employees, SBA Microloan Lender and a representative from the Small Business Development Center.

Veteran Small Biz Week

(LtoR) Michael Pornovets, Veteran Small Business Owner, Randy Soboul, Veteran Small Business Owner, Ronnie Emile, Renaissance SBA Microloan Lender, April Hollands, Small Business Development Center and Lance Foster, Branch Manager SBA Gulfport Office

(LtoR) Bridget Johnson Fells, EDS SBA Gulfport Office, Lance Foster, Branch Manager SBA Gulfport Office, Michael Pornovets, Veteran Small Business Owner, Randy Soboul, Veteran Small Business Owner, Ronnie Emile, Renaissance SBA Microloan Lender and April Hollands, Business Counselor Small Business Development Center


MS Vet event 2

Lynn Douthett

SBA North Carolina District Office

Lynn Douthett, District Director

Emerging Leaders Class of 2017 Graduates in Charlotte

The North Carolina District Office celebrated its third graduating class of Emerging Leaders - Charlotte.  The 12 graduates who participated in the program came from Charlotte, Concord, Cornelius, and Raleigh in North Carolina, plus Rock Hill, South Carolina.

“We couldn’t be happier with the results of Emerging Leaders Class of 2017,” said SBA North Carolina District Director Lynn Douthett. “The caliber of each individual was evident through their commitment and willingness to improve their businesses.”

Dwayne Meekins, owner of Game Truck Charlotte is a 2017 graduate. Game Truck provides video game parties, laser tag, and other entertainment.

“Charlotte SBA Emerging Leaders has been a really wonderful and eye-opening experience for me, “said Dwayne.  “The opportunity to learn with and from other small business owners is invaluable.  In addition to learning from each other, we can hold each other accountable as well.” 

2017 Charlotte Emerging Leaders graduates:

Rob Bennett - My Aloha Paddle and Surf, Inc. – Cornelius, NC
Tammara Combs -  Serendipity Interactive – Mooresville, NC
Bill Labbon - Kaicia, Inc. DBA Foreign Translations – Huntersville, NC
Dwayne Meekins – GameTruck – Charlotte, NC
Jefferson Ovalle - Genesis Construction of the Carolinas – Charlotte, NC
Willo Smith - JSL, LLC – Charlotte, NC
Anita Staton - Miles Freight Solutions, LLC – Charlotte, NC
Tracy Thornton - Computer Data Services, LLC – Charlotte, NC
Curt Vanderhorst - Vanderhorst Enterprises, Inc. – Raleigh, NC
Benjamin Visser - Social Design House – Rock Hill, SC
Brenda White - Art by Me – Concord, NC
Jonathan Wilson - Design Tech – Gastonia, NC

NC Emerging Leaders Grads
The Class of 2017 SBA Charlotte Emerging Leaders. At far left is SBA District Director Lynn Douthett. At far right is SBA Emerging Leaders Project Officer Eileen Joyce.
Lynn Douthett gives special Award

SBA North Carolina District Director Lynn Douthett presents Charlotte Emerging Leaders instructor Brenda Anderson an award of appreciation. 

SBA North Carolina District Helps Veterans Reboot

As part of SBA’s observance of National Veteran’s Small Business Week, a “Boots to Business: Reboot” workshop was held on October 31, 2017, at Fayetteville State University, home of the SBA Veteran’s Business Outreach Center (VBOC) in North Carolina. SBA Boots to Business: Reboot is an intensive two-part training to help military veterans and/or spouses start or grow an existing business. The 45 attendees learned about the fundamentals of business ownership and resources available to veterans.   

The SBA Boots-to-Business initiative is a special training program designed to help transitioning service-members examine the option of entrepreneurship as a viable life mission.  We now hold North Carolina Boots-to-Business classes at Fort Bragg, Camp Lejeune, Seymour Johnson, and Cherry Point. Since January 2013, we have trained over 2,900 transitioning service-members under Boots to Business.

For more information about Boots to Business, contact the VBOC at Fayetteville State University: visit or call 910-672-2683.

NC Reboot
From left: Elaine Fairman, Executive Director, Business Expansion Funding Corporation; Tamara Bryant, Director of the VBOC at Fayetteville State University; and Lynn Douthett, SBA North Carolina District Director.
Reboot Class
Forty-five veterans, active duty members, and spouses attended the SBA Boots to Business: Reboot at Fayetteville State University.

Gregg White

SBA South Carolina District Office

Richard "Gregg" White, District Director

Business for Breakfast: Government Contracting 101 for small businesses class was held in Beaufort, South Carolina on 11/8. It was organized by the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce & SC Low Country SCORE Chapter. The class covered SAM registration, Federal Government Contracting Programs, SCORE resources, and provided contracting officer perspectives. Also in attendance and pictured in light blue shirt was Don Herschberger, Small Business Director at Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Contracting Office, MCAS Beaufort. The workshop had 20 attendees.

South Carolina District Breakfast
Standing: Michael Corp, Lead Business Opportunity Specialist & Don Herschberger, Small Business Director-NAVFAC seated to the right.

Savannah Wilburn, SBA Economic Development Specialist, represented the South Carolina District Office on the Money Smart for Small Business (MSSB) Town Hall on Thursday, November 9th. Savannah talked about how she used the MSSB modules in a webinar format. There were 113 participants on the call, including other SBA district offices, SBA resource partners, federal agencies, economic development organizations and lenders.

Savannah Wilbourne 2
Savannah Wilburn-Economic Development Specialist

LaTanya Channel

SBA Tennessee District Office

LaTanya Channel, District Director

SBA Day –Collaborative Effort Reaching Underserved

Small Businesses and Areas

SBA Day is an effort of the Tennessee District Office (TNDO) to meet the needs of underserved areas of the state. It is a collaborative effort with the area Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and Score.

 These events consist of training sessions provide by resource partners such as Small Business Development Centers, SCORE, and Women's Business Centers as well as TNDO staff.  An overview of SBA services and programs is presented by SBA TNDO staff. The resource partners also provide an overview of their services to entrepreneurs. Then, the small businesses can meet directly with SBA participant lenders, SBA resource partners, and TNDO staff.

 At some events, SBA TNDO staff moderate a panel of participant lenders where lenders answer small business questions on requirements for an SBA guaranteed loan. This helps dispel the myths of small business finance as well as providing a great opportunity for small businesses to gain beneficial feedback to be successful in seeking a small guaranteed loan.   

A modified approach to this event style was recently used on Creatives Day in Nashville.  This day, held as an annual event, provided community and economic support to creatives, artists, poets, storytellers, makers, and musicians living and working in Nashville, Tennessee, and surrounding counties. 

It is Tennessee’s largest celebration for Creatives’ and organizations that support Tennessee’s Creative Economy! The celebration was a free family-friendly arts celebration held at the Nashville Public Library on October 21, 2017. The celebration is hosted by the Creatives’ Day Organization of Nashville, Tennessee. 

Participating organizations included, but not limited to Community Art Crawl Hosts, Google, SBA, Casa Azafran, Nashville Public Library, the Mayor’s Office for Affordable Housing and the Arts and Business Council of Greater Nashville.

The SBA provided the opportunity for creatives to meet one on one with SBA participant lenders, resources partners, and TNDO staff. Additionally, we created a small version of our resource guide with provided information on resource partners and participant lenders that serve creatives.

The TNDO has conducted these events in Fayetteville, Johnson City, and East Knoxville.  We are planning similar events in Cheatam and Wilson counties. This event style has proved an effective means of reaching more underserved small businesses across Tennessee.