'Tis the Season for Small Business!

SBA Region IV Office  - December 2018

u s small business administration
happy holidays
Ashley Bell


2019- The Best Year for Entrepreneurs

By Ashley D. Bell, Regional Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration

Why is 2019 YOUR year? Based on the success for entrepreneurs in fiscal year 2018, I would say that 2019 is looking to be filled with opportunities for small business. The numbers speak for themselves.  The SBA backed nearly $5.5 billion in loans to small business this past fiscal year in the Southeast Region (Region 4). The federal fiscal year runs October 1 through September 30th

Of that $5.5 billion in SBA loans that were approved for entrepreneurs across the Southeast last year:

  • $686 million in loans assisted women-owned businesses
  • $248 million in loans assisted veteran-owned small businesses
  • $1.5 billion in loans assisted minority-owned small businesses
  • $273 million in international loans went to small businesses to support import & export
  • $9.4 million in microloans assisted small businesses

These numbers represent the diversity in types of entrepreneurs the SBA supports. From start-ups to well established manufacturing companies, the SBA is supporting them through our flagship loan programs

The SBA district offices along with our resource partners including Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers, SCORE Chapters and Veteran’s Business Outreach Centers provide an additional avenue of success for entrepreneurs. We continuously train and counsel over 200,000 small business owners in the Southeast Region every year. These training or counseling sessions often result in job creation, access to capital or result in success with government contracting. Take advantage of these professional, confidential resources that can help you every step of the way; at no cost! Let the SBA help you make 2019 exceptional.

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Nominate a Deserving Entrepreneur for a National Small Business Week Award


Nominations Due January 9, 2019!

2019 NSBW Promo 1

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

Local News From Your

SBA District Office

Thomas Todt

Alabama District Office

Thomas (Tom) Todt, District Director


The Alabama District Office recently appointed, Rod Perkins to the position of Lead Lender Relations Specialist. Rod is a military veteran with over 15 years of service with the Federal Government. He has a knack for helping small businesses through gaining access to capital. Congratulations Rod!

Rod Perkins

Pictured L to R: DD Thomas Todt, LLRS Rod Perkins

MDA Conference

 The MDA Breakfast with Primes, is an event for businesses committed to expanding their government contracting and subcontracting, as well as their procurement opportunities. The event also afforded attendees with the opportunity to learn about specific ways to do business with the Missile Defense Agency and the MDA Primes. There were approximately 100 small business owners in attendance.

LD Ralph

Procurement Center Representative, Doug Gerard and Deputy District Director, LD Ralph staffed a Table at the recent MDA Breakfast with Primes event in Huntsville, AL

submit small business week awards nominations

Don’t forget to nominate that AMAZING Small Business Owner who deserves recognition for the impact he or she has made in the small business community. For more information on the National Small Business Week Awards, click here.

Wilfredo Gonzalez 2

North Florida District Office

Wilfredo J. Gonzalez, District Director

SBA North Florida District Director, Wilfredo Gonzalez visited Kilwin’s Jacksonville to celebrate Small Business Saturday. He spoke to Dana Stallings, Owner of Kilwin’s Jacksonville about her business and future goals.

DD Gonzalez was accompanied by James Van Horn, Supervisory Lender Relations Specialist and Nayana Sen, Public Affairs Specialist on the visit to the small business. Dana Stallings has started and grown her business with assistance from the SBA including counseling, training, and a loan guarantee. She has recently been appointed to the Jacksonville Women’s Business Center Board.

Wilfredo Gonzalez SBS

Wilfredo Gonzalez, SBA NFDO District Director; Dana Stallings, Owner Kilwin’s Jacksonville; and James Van Horn, SBA NFDO Supervisory Lender Relations Specialist.

Jacksonville Small biz Saturday

Ellen Sullivan, Director Jacksonville Women’s Business Center; DD Gonzalez; Stallings; Van Horn; and Nayana Sen, Public Affairs Specialist.

Victoria Guerrero

South Florida District Office

Victoria Guerrero, District Director


In 2019, the SBA South Florida District will focus on:

  • Continuing our $1billion+ streak in SBA-back loans to small businesses.
  • Increasing awareness and outreach efforts to small companies located in HUBZones.
  • Increasing our engagement in Rural communities of South Florida
  • Recruiting small firms and increasing their engagement in SBA’s procurement certification programs and surpass the $565 million mark in small business federal contracts.

We will continue to strengthen our longstanding relationships with our Resource Partners-- Small Business Development Centers, SCORE Chapters, Women Business Centers, and the Veterans Business Outreach Centers-- capitalizing and expanding access to the knowledge, information, and insights these partners possess that are so instrumental to helping entrepreneurs start, grow, and succeed in business. 

Victoria Guerrero

Last month, I had the pleasure of delivering my first keynote address as District Director to members of the South Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce at their annual “Women Empowerment and Embracing Women” Awards Program.  It was truly an honor to be with them and thank them for their dedication to the local small businesses.  I shared with the group our successes of 2018 and my vision and outlook for 2019.

group photo S FL

SFLHCC Board Chairman & Chief Lending Officer at Ocean Bank, Ralph Gonzalez-Jacobo; SFDO DD Victoria Guerrero; and SFLHCC President Liliam Lopez

The South Florida District is home to a dynamic small business market and in FY 2018 SBA, with the help of our lending partners, continued to meet the financing needs of small firms.  For four consecutive years, SBA has guaranteed more than $1 billion in loans; each year, Miami-Dade County receives approximately 20-25% of all SBA guaranteed loans and dollars. 

Terri Denison

Georgia District Office

Terri L. Denison, District Director



The Georgia District Office proudly announces that the Savannah chapter of SCORE has just been awarded Platinum status. By achieving this recognition, Savannah SCORE becomes the only Platinum level SCORE chapter in Georgia and places Savannah in the top 10% of SCORE’s 320 chapters nationwide. Over the past two years, Savannah SCORE has helped to create 299 new Savannah-area businesses and 497 new non-owner jobs. In 2018, the chapter also received SCORE’s National Award for “Outstanding Customer Education Program.” 

SCORE is a nationwide, non-profit, volunteer organization dedicated to helping aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners start, manage and grow successful businesses.

Ralph Ross

Kentucky District Office

Ralph Ross, District Director


Kentucky District Office Celebrates Small Business Saturday

The SBA Kentucky District Office celebrated Small Business Saturday this year with the Louisville Independent Business Alliance (LIBA – “Keep Louisville Weird”) at two events on November 24. One was at Feeders Supply Pet Store in Louisville, one of the largest independent pet stores in the country, and the other event was at Lyles Mall in West Louisville.  

Others who attended the event to help celebrate Small Business Saturday included U.S. Congressman John Yarmuth; Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer; three new council members for the City of Louisville and the city’s economic development agency; as well as numerous small business owners.  

Earlier in the week, the SBA and Louisville SBDC delivered Small Business Saturday marketing materials to business owners in the region. 

Small Biz Saturday

Kentucky DD Ralph Ross (center) with a message about the importance of shopping small on Small Business Saturday 2018.

Janita Stewart

Mississippi District Office

Janita Stewart, District Director


Small Business Awards

Do you or someone you know run an amazing small business that deserves recognition? This is your chance to earn state-wide and possibly nationwide recognition. Submit your nomination now. Get details here about the Mississippi Awards.

submit small business week awards nominations

Upcoming Events:

Mississippi DRIVE 8(a) event scheduled for Thursday, March 28, 2019 at the Mississippi e-Center @ JSU. Check the SBA website here for more information.

Mississippi Rural Strong event scheduled for late January to mid-February 2019. Check the SBA website for this upcoming event. 

Lynn Douthett

North Carolina District Office

Lynn Douthett, District Director



NC Happy Holidays

From top and left to right: Lynn Douthett, SBA North Carolina District Director; Eileen Joyce, Lead Economic Development Specialist; Erin Connell, Program Support Assistant; Don Spry, Senior Area Manager (Wilmington); Joe Ann Shaeffers, Business Opportunity Specialist; Levi Kinnard, Economic Development Specialist; Dina Boorda, District Counsel (North Carolina and South Carolina); Linda Bennett, Administrative Officer; Karen Hoskins, Lead Lender Relations Specialist; Aregnaz Mooradian, Lead Business Opportunity Specialist; Mike Arriola, Deputy District Director; Patrick Rodriguez, Senior Area Manager (Raleigh).

Upcoming North Carolina District Office Webinars

8(a) Certification Workshop Webinar

This webinar focuses solely on the 8(a) certification: its benefits, features and eligibility requirements

When: Jan. 8, 2019, 9am to 11am

Webinar Access: Join by phone: +12027651264 (Dial-in Number) (United States) Find a local number: https://dialin.lync.com/ce93c969-15b4-40a4-955a-df7f23cda5b2 Conference ID: 3766887

Join by web: https://meet.lync.com/sba123/econnel/NQRQ1LL3?sl=1

Conference ID: 3766887

See also www.sba.gov/nc and click on the events page to locate this event and the associated URLs.

Register Here


Marketing to the Federal Government

Attend a free webinar hosted by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Come join us to learn about the different ways you can market your company to the federal government.

When: Jan. 22, 2019, 9am to 11am

Webinar Access: Join by phone: +12027651264 (Dial-in Number) (United States) Find a local number: https://dialin.lync.com/ce93c969-15b4-40a4-955a-df7f23cda5b2 Conference ID: 3766887

Join by web: https://meet.lync.com/sba123/econnel/NQRQ1LL3?sl=1

Conference ID: 3766887

See also www.sba.gov/nc and click on the events page to locate this event and the associated URLs.

Register Here

Nominate a Business for North Carolina Small Business Person of the Year

Are you SBA’s Next North Carolina Small Business Person of the Year?

Are you a small business owner with an amazing success story to tell?  If so, submit your nomination today for the SBA’s National Small Business Week awards.

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, Landmark Pest Management and Tom’s of Maine.

All nominations must be mailed or hand delivered to the SBA North Carolina District Office (6302 Fairview Rd., Suite 300, Charlotte, NC 28210) no later than 3:00 p.m. ET on January 9, 2019.  Winners will be announced during National Small Business Week, May 5-May 11, 2019.

To learn more about the awards and submit a nomination, visit https://www.sba.gov/nsbw. Or, call Levi Kinnard at 704-344-6585.

Richard White

 South Carolina District Office

Gregg White, District Director


Happy Holidays from the South Carolina District Office! Our office participated in many different activities this month.


SC Photo 1

On November 14th, the Beaufort Chamber of Commerce, SCORE, Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Beaufort, and SBA joined forces to put on a lunch and learn event, “The Nuts and Bolts Government Contracting” designed to assist small business in obtaining certifications and contracting opportunities. The session began with an overview on succeeding in becoming a government contractor provided by a representative from the SCDO. Then, the Supervisory Contracting Officer at the Mid-Atlantic Naval Facilities Contracting Office at MCAS Beaufort discussed how to identify and bid on contracting opportunities in Northern Beaufort County.

Crowded room in SC

On November 29th, the SCDO participated in the SBDC’s First Inaugural Lenders, CPAs, Attorneys and Economic Development Representatives Event in Aiken, SC. Over 100 individuals from the area attended and shared ideas and resources with one another to benefit the small business community.



Last week, the South Carolina District Office attended SCORE’s 2018 Annual Awards Luncheon to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of the Midlands Chapter in Columbia, SC. The event featured Alec Blalock, owner of “The Swamp Log” who was a guest speaker acknowledging his success due to assistance from SCORE.

rural photo

On December 12th, our office participated in the Annual Rural Resource Coalition Meeting in West Columbia, SC. The event drew over 100 attendees from all over the state who support rural and agricultural small businesses. Topics that were discussed included how local food hubs can assist small farmers, and how “argitourism” is becoming a great source of revenue to local farms.

Overall, this past month has been very eventful, and we look forward to continuing this momentum into the new year! As for the new year, don’t forget that the deadline to submit your National Small Business Week Awards nominations is rapidly approaching! Please consider nominating your business, or a business you know that would be a great success story to celebrate at our awards ceremony in May. All of the information on our awards can be found on our district website at www.sba.gov/sc. We hope to see your nomination by January 9th at 3 p.m.!

LaTanya Channel

Tennessee District Office

LaTanya Channel, District Director


TN Event GC

In December, the SBA Tennessee District Office held a government contracting summit in Knoxville, Tennessee, hosted by the East Knoxville Community Meeting (EKCM), where 50 business owners participated. In addition to Jacqueline Merritt, Economic Development Specialist, and LaTanya Channel, State Director, presenting on SBA’s contracting certifications – for minorities, women, veterans, and all small businesses - SBA invited the state, county, and city to get the word out on How to Get Certified and How to Find Contracting Opportunities. This was the second event hosted by EKCM on SBA programs.

Additionally, Misty Mayes of Management Solutions LLC, an SBA Tennessee 8(a) participant, shared her experiences as a federal government contractor while also noting that she grew up “right down the street” from the library where the summit was held. In 2002, Mayes’ company started with just one contract supporting a division of the Department of Energy's National Oak Ridge Laboratory. The award-winning, woman-owned business has grown to support multiple labs and dozens of employees and, last year, in 2017, she was selected to meet President Trump and SBA Administrator Linda McMahon for a discussion on "American Small Business – The Engine of the American Dream" at the White House. In 2012, Management Solutions LLC, was also named the SBA National Subcontractor of the Year at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. 

The following entities presented: City of Knoxville; Knox County Government; Governor's Office of Diversity Business Enterprise (DBE); Knoxville Community Development Corporation (KCDC); SCORE Knoxville; Tennessee Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Pellissippi State Community College; Knoxville Chamber; and University of Tennessee Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC). This was just the first summit in East Tennessee, so STAY TUNED TO HEAR MORE ABOUT UPCOMING 2019 CONTRACTING SUMMITS in East Tennessee and throughout the state!

Misty Mayes

Photo: Misty Mayes (right) with SBA Administrator Linda McMahon at the White House


Nashville celebrated MED Week - Minority Enterprise Development Week - in November where Jewel Burks Solomon spoke on starting and growing her business and selling it to Amazon. The business she started, Partpic, uses computer vision to purchase maintenance and repair parts, was acquired by Amazon in late 2016 and the technology now powers visual search for replacement parts in the Amazon Mobile Shopping app.  Burks Solomon is a Nashville TN native, where her parents and grandparents still reside and who also attended the event speaking on how they supported her, from childhood to now. Burks Solomon noted that she is one of few – about 30 Black women, nationwide, to raise $1m+ in funding from seed capital - and now she’s a mentor to small businesses and is an angel investor herself, out of Atlanta.