Let's Honor Our Veterans!

SBA Region IV Office  - October 2018

u s small business administration
Ashley Bell

Ashley D. Bell

SBA Regional Administrator


Let's Honor Our Veterans!


Veterans- This Week is For YOU

By Ashley D. Bell, Regional Administrator

U.S. Small Business Administration 

Every minute of the day, America’s Armed Forces fight to guarantee the security of our nation. Their fight makes it possible for countless others to live peaceful lives and follow paths of opportunity. After veterans have served their country, many are well-equipped to become successful entrepreneurs; even further fulfilling their American dream.  We owe them sincere thanks and one way we express our support for them is through celebrating National Veterans Small Business Week.

Veterans are integral to the growth of America’s small businesses and coming up November 5 through November 9 will be the fifth annual National Veterans Small Business Week, which honors our veteran entrepreneurs and the contributions they make to this great country.

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Visit YOUR Local SBA Office

Local Assistance For Entrepreneurs



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


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


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


Veteran's Business Outreach Centers (VBOC) 

VBOC's are located strategically across the Southeast to service Veteran entrepreneurs every step of the way. Last year, VBOC's in the Southeast counseled and trained nearly 7,000 veteran entrepreneurs; assisting them in reaching and surpassing their entrepreneurial goals.  

Locate Your Local VBOC Here

Hurricane Michael


Helpful Information From SBA for #HurricaneMichael Victims:

Florence Picture

The SBA offers low-interest, long-term disaster loans for physical damage and working capital.  SBA representatives at Disaster Recovery Centers and Business Recovery Centers may provide information about disaster loans, answer questions, and assist businesses with completing the SBA application. 

If you cannot get to a Center, disaster survivors may register for federal assistance online at DisasterAssistance.gov and apply for SBA disaster loan assistance using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via the SBA’s secure website at DisasterLoan.sba.gov. If online or mobile access is unavailable, applicants should call the FEMA toll-free helpline at 800-621-3362.  Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services should also call 800-621-3362.

Disaster survivors don’t have to wait to submit their insurance claim to apply for a SBA disaster loan because we can approve and disburse your loan funds while the claim is pending.  If a survivor does not know how much of their loss will be covered by insurance or other sources, SBA will consider making a loan for the total loss up to its loan limits, provided the borrower agrees to use insurance proceeds to reduce or repay their SBA loan. 

Businesses and private nonprofit organizations of any size may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets.  Applicants may be eligible for a loan increase up to 20 percent of their physical damages, as verified by the SBA for mitigation purposes.  Eligible mitigation improvements may include a safe room or storm shelter, sump pump, French drain, or retaining wall to help protect property and occupants from future damage caused by a similar disaster.

For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations, the SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster.  Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage.

Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate.  Homeowners and renters are eligible up to $40,000 to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed personal property.

Interest rates are as low as 3.675 percent for businesses, 2.5 percent for nonprofit organizations and 2 percent for homeowners and renters with terms up to 30 years.  Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.

Additional details on the locations of Disaster Recovery Centers, Business Recovery Centers and the loan application process can be obtained by calling the SBA Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an e-mail to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov

The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is Dec. 13, 2018.  The deadline to return economic injury applications is July 15, 2019.

For more information, please visit www.sba.gov/disaster

Local News From Your

SBA District Office

Thomas Todt

Alabama District Office

Thomas (Tom) Todt, District Director


Region IV Administrator, Ashley D. Bell had the distinct privilege of serving as the keynote speaker for the 22nd Annual Booker T. Washington Economic Development Summit Business Success Story Luncheon hosted by Tuskegee University. This Summit uses the historical and philosophical perspectives of Booker T. Washington to focus on present day challenges and opportunities. It also strives to promote entrepreneurship and community economic development in small towns, the southern region, and rural America.

The theme of the conference was: Small Business, Economic, Entrepreneurship and Development in Underserved Communities: A Reality Check. The enthusiastic group of approximately 200 attendees were highly fascinated by Administrator Bell’s family ties to Tuskegee University. His compelling story regarding his personal challenges with obtaining help to “learn what you don’t know” allowed him to make a realistic connection to small business owners trying to thrive in a growing market.

AB at BTW Summit

Wilfredo Gonzalez 2

North Florida District Office

Wilfredo J. Gonzalez, District Director

The SBA has added more counties to the disaster declaration in Florida for businesses and residents affected by Hurricane Michael. SBA representatives at the Centers can provide information about disaster loans, answer questions, and assist businesses in completing the SBA application. The Centers are located as indicated below and will operate until further notice:

Those impacted by the hurricane may call SBA Customer Service Center at  1-800-659-2955 or stop into a disaster/business recovery center.

DRCs for Hurricane Michael in FL

In honor of National Veterans Small Business Week, the SBA North Florida District will participate in 2 events for #VetBiz:


Veteran Small Business Financial Resource Fair

Monday, November 5, 2018 - 4:00pm EST

CareerSource NEFL (Downtown)

215 N. Market Street-Suite 200

Jacksonville, FL 32202


Beyond The Boots Event

Thursday, November 8, 2018 - 8:00am EST

Camp Blanding Joint Training Center

5269 SR 16 W at SIMS Center on Avenue B

Starke, FL 32091 (Registration Required)

Victoria Guerrero

South Florida District Office

Victoria Guerrero, District Director

Happy New Year, Colleagues--we made it to another fiscal year!

Special thanks to the SBA South Florida Office staff for their hard work and dedication in successfully closing the fiscal year. I’m proud to report we met and exceeded several of our objectives in addition to exceeding $1B in SBA lending for the fourth consecutive year.

Ashley Bell at Black Professional Summit Miami

Last month, Regional Administrator Ashley D. Bell delivered a keynote address at the 2018 Black Professionals Summit in Miami. During his speech, he shared what motivated him as an entrepreneur and encouraged the audience to take advantage of the free products and services offered by the SBA: “Your network is your net worth,” said Bell. “Small business lending is a spectrum. The SBA offers products and services along that spectrum, from microloans to $5M in capital access."

Ashley Bell interviewed by Black Wire AP

Regional Administrator Ashley D. Bell and Torrey Alston, Miami-Dade County Public Schools Office of Economic Opportunity during the 2018 Professional Black Professionals Summit, Miami, FL

Terri Denison

Georgia District Office

Terri L. Denison, District Director


The Georgia District Office has just graduated its 10th class of the Emerging Leader’s program. In this year’s cohort, 15 students started and 11 graduated. Entrepreneurs from multiple industries were represented in the class. Some of those included aerospace engineering, plumbing, electricians, property management, government contracting, management consulting, retail, and transportation. Recruiting for next year’s class is now underway and if are ready to grow your business or you know someone that is, please direct them to apply. For more information or to apply please visit the SBA’s website or click this link.

Congratulations to the SBA Georgia Distrcit Office's 2018 Emerging Leaders graduating class!

EL Class of 2018

Ralph Ross

Kentucky District Office

Ralph Ross, District Director


Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation Receives SBA Grant

Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation, an SBA lender in the Community Advantage and microloan programs in London, recently received a $150,000 grant from the SBA’s Program for Investment in Micro-Entrepreneurs (PRIME). 

KHIC is one of only 32 organizations in the U.S. to receive a PRIME grant. These organizations help low-income entrepreneurs gain access to capital to establish and expand their small businesses.

“Kentucky Highlands is the perfect partner for this kind of project” said Ralph Ross, Kentucky District Director of the SBA. “For several years, Kentucky Highlands has worked on the unique housing needs of people in Appalachian Kentucky. They bring that housing experience together with a broad understanding of finance programs that can get entrepreneurs what they need to start and grow.”

Shortage of qualified construction trade companies and workers hinders the ability of affordable housing development organizations in southeastern Kentucky to meet demand. In addition to a skilled worker shortage, there also is an aging workforce in the trades. The average age of company owners in the plumbing, electrical, and HVAC trades is nearly 60 years old, and few have a business succession plan.

KHIC will use the funds to help housing and construction companies become more efficient, profitable, and sustainable as well as help experienced construction trades workers launch their own business.

Its pilot program will provide a business management curriculum to build the capacity of existing construction trades. Content will be delivered in classroom settings, one-on-one counseling, workshops, video conferencing and through archived material accessible online.

Along with KHIC, several organizations will market and refer clients, including the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, Kentucky PTAC, Kentucky Veterans Business Alliance, South Central SBDC, and the local SCORE chapter, all of which have or will open a satellite office in KHIC’s Innovation Center. 

Janita Stewart

Mississippi District Office

Janita Stewart, District Director


In celebration of National Veteran Small Business Week, the Mississippi District Office will hold a Veterans Meet the Lenders Event in Biloxi, MS at The Innovation Center on November 7,  9:30 am – 12:00 pm.   This event will provide small business owners and entrepreneurs the opportunity to speak with multiple SBA lenders during private, one-on-one appointments.  Meet with Banks, Microlenders, Alternative Lenders, and SBA to explore financing options to help start or grow their businesses. To register, please visit: here #VetBiz #MyVetBiz

Congratulations, MS Emerging Leaders Graduates!

EL MS Graduates

The Mississippi District Office hosted its Graduation Ceremony of the 2018 Emerging Leaders Program on Tuesday, October 9th. Rhonda Fisher, Supervisory Lender Relations Specialist, gave comments to the Graduates on behalf of Director Janita Stewart.

This year’s class, though small in number, included participants that were very engaged throughout this executive training series.  The training program included 13 classes covering topics such as setting long-term strategic goals, financial analysis, and human resources. This was an exciting year for each graduate and they all stated that they learned a tremendous amount of very valuable information they intend to utilize going forward.


Ashley Bell in MS

On September 19th, Regional Administrator Ashley D. Bell spoke to about 60 members of the Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce at the Convention Center in Vicksburg, Mississippi during their September Monthly Luncheon.  Attendees and Chamber members included community and economic development leaders, bankers, and business owners.  RA Bell spoke passionately about his own story as a business owner and provided encouragement to those in attendance to utilize the vital programs and services of the SBA.

Ashley Bell at Vicksburg Chamber

Pablo Diaz, Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce President and Executive Director of the Port Authority; District Director Janita R. Stewart

Lynn Douthett

North Carolina District Office

Lynn Douthett, District Director


North Carolina Veteran Small Business Forum

 On November 9th, in celebration of National Veterans Small Business Week, the SBA North Carolina District invites you to participate in this special forum for NC veterans. The agenda will include speakers from various small business resources to help your startup or growing business as well as a focus on accessing small business capital. Please visit the registration link for agenda details.

 When:  Friday, November 9, 2018 - 9:00 am EST

Where: North Carolina National Guard Joint Forces Headquarters

              1636 Gold Star Drive

              Raleigh, NC 27607

Register: HERE

Mike A 2

SBA Awards Strategic Alliance Memorandum to NAWBO Greater Raleigh to benefit North Carolina Women Business Owners

The SBA formally signed its new partnership with the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) Greater Raleigh Chapter. The Strategic Alliance Memorandum (SAM) between SBA and NAWBO is an agreement and partnership to work together to help start, maintain and expand small women-owned businesses in the community. This agreement is meant to develop and foster mutual understanding and a working relationship between SBA and NAWBO Greater Raleigh. 

Founded in 1975, NAWBO is the unified voice of America's more than 10 million women-owned businesses representing the fastest growing segment of the economy. NAWBO develops programs that help navigate women entrepreneurs through the various stages of their business growth. It is the area’s premier provider of leadership development resources, opportunities, and programs that propel women entrepreneurs into economic and political positions of leadership and influence.

Pictured: Mike Arriola, the SBA North Carolina Deputy District Director signs the SAM with Wendy Coulter, NAWBO Greater Raleigh Chapter President.

Richard White

 South Carolina District Office

Gregg White, District Director


For National Veterans Small Business Week, the South Carolina District Office will have a series of events to celebrate and empower our nation’s veterans, spouses, and transitioning military. We recognize that these individuals are well equipped to handle the ever-changing environment of small business ownership, and we are excited to support them not only on this special week, but throughout the entire year. I encourage you to attend at least one of these sessions! We will have resource available for every stage of your business.

 South Carolina National Veteran Small Business Week Schedule:

November 5th, 9-11:30 a.m.

Veterans Small Business Matchmaker Workshop

Columbia Chamber of Commerce


This free workshop will connect small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs with a variety of federal, state, county and local agencies through matchmaking sessions. Learn about VA benefits, federal, state and local government contracting opportunities, finance options, and find an expert mentor to start and grow your small business. Although the event is targeted to veterans and entrepreneurs, everyone is welcome.

November 7th, 10-11 a.m.

Service Disabled Veteran Owned Business Certification



Join us for an overview of SBA's Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) program which helps eligible veteran-owned small businesses to qualify for restricted competition federal contracting opportunities. The webinar will also include an overview of the Veteran's Administration (VA) Programs and certification process.

LaTanya Channel

Tennessee District Office

LaTanya Channel, District Director


SBA Backs $313. 4 Million in Loans to Tennessee Small Businesses

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loan programs placed over $300 million into the hands of Tennessee small businesses during fiscal year 2018. Fiscal year 2018 (FY 2018) began October 1, 2017, and concluded on September 30, 2018.

Throughout the year, 545 loans were approved through the SBA’s flagship 7(a) program for $291, 175,100. This resulted in a 9.4 % increase in loan approval volume over fiscal year 2017. Through SBA’s 504 fixed-asset financing program, Certified Development Companies approved 23 loans for $22,213,000 million.  FY 2018 saw a 35.2% increase in lending volume in the 504 program over fiscal year 2017. Also, microloan intermediaries approved 42 loans for $605,510. Microloan approval volume was up by 23.5% in fiscal year 2018 from fiscal year 2017.

US Bank was Tennessee’s top 7(a) lender in FY 2018 ranked by number of loans, with 89 loans approved for over $9.2 million.  Southcentral Tennessee Development was the state’s top Certified Development Company, with eight approved 504 loans with dollar approval volume of $8.7 million. Pathway Lending was Tennessee’s top microloan intermediary approved 29 loans worth $490, 904.  See the Tennessee District Office website at www.sba.gov/tn to get more information on our Top Lenders around the State.

Tennessee Plans Veterans Small Business Forum in Celebration of National Veterans Small Business Week

On November 9, 2018, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will hold a Veterans Small Business Forum in Covington, Tennessee. Come learn about loan programs, government contracting, as well as other programs and services to assist in starting, operating, maintaining, or expanding a small business. The event will be held from 9:00 a.m.-3 p.m. CST at the Dyersburg State Community College in Covington, TN. For more information and to register, click HERE.


Reaching Rural Communities

SBA will be at the Tennessee Governor’s Conference on Nov 1 and 2 in Nashville, TN, with information on Rural Strong – outreach and training to rural communities, hear about loan programs, doing business with the government, and getting a FREE business counselor to help firms start, grow, or expand.  For more information about Rural Strong and outreach to rural communities, contact the Tennessee District Office.

Reminder! Nominate a Small Business for 2019 National Small Business Week!

2019 NSBW Promo 1