News from the South Florida District

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

South Florida District Office  - February 2019

u s small business administration
SFDO Director

National African-American History Month

This month, we joined the nation to commemorate the challenges and celebrates the achievements of African Americans and their accomplishments around the world. While doing so, we were fortunate to host the Region IV Administrator to the Palm Beach area for his keynote address during the 2019 “I Have a Dream” Black History Month event, sponsored by the School District of Palm Beach County. The event was hosted by Dicky Sykes, director of the Office of Diversity in Business Practices for the School District of Palm Beach County. Our staff was officially introduced to Dicky during our Open House which was also my official welcome to the South Florida District. We are looking forward to strengthening our outreach in Palm Beach with other community organizations who share our mission of educating and empowering entrepreneurs.  

Also in the news, the South Florida District and State of Florida 2017 NSBW Veteran-Owned Business winner was recognized as “Senate Small Business of the Week” by the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.  You can read more about Ed Haynes, President of Haynes Security below.

Each year, our staff looks for new and innovative ways to help small businesses grow, spur job creation, increase awareness, and boost our South Florida economy. One particular area of focus this year is how to recruit more firms into our 8a Business Development Program.

Firms that successfully obtain the 8(a) certification have the opportunity to offer their products or services to the federal government in a sheltered market for nine years.  In FY-18, the 8(a) program awarded $548M in contracts to 8(a) firms located in the SBA South Florida District’s 24-county territory south of Orlando.  While the U.S. government-wide annual contracting goal of 5% for 8(a) firms is typically exceeded, there is continuous attrition in the program and not always enough expansion in it. Because of the ongoing turnover in the program and its undeniable value in growing small firms, we want to increase the number of companies in our South Florida 8(a) portfolio. We're currently in the planning stages for our first ever SBA Drive 8(a) Summit, set for early April. This event will focus on recruiting potential small, minority-owned and disadvantaged firms into our 8(a) portfolio. 

We've reached out to key stakeholders in surrounding communities to join our SBA Drive 8(a) Summit Committee that be will actively engaged in developing the Summit and ensuring quality, relevant and useful content for maximum participation for potential 8(a) firms.  Stay tuned for more to come on this topic!

-Victoria Guerrero, SBA South Florida District Director

BHM 001

PALM BEACH, Fla. - Region IV Administrator Ashley Bell shared an aspiring story of perseverance from his genealogy that occurred in 1872 when his family worked as slaves, sharecropping the land that they eventually purchased and still own until this day. "Everyone in this room is good at what you do. If we are to be great at what we do, we must  understand how that great aptitude can help you own a business."

Seated: Dicky Sykes, director of the Office of Diversity in Business Practices for the School District of Palm Beach County and event host.

FUN FACT: Since FY-17 to FY-18, the South Florida District has increased SBA African American Lending in both 7a and 504 by 11 percent, respectively, with a more notable increase of 61 percent in Microlending to African Americans.

Hayes Security Services, Inc. as Senate Small Business of the Week

Washington, D.C. – This week, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, named Haynes Security Services, Inc. as the U.S. Senate Small Business of the Week.

After naming Haynes Security Services as the Senate Small Business of the Week, Chairman Rubio said,

“As Chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, it’s my pleasure to honor Haynes Security Services, Incorporated, of the Liberty City community in Miami, Florida, as the Senate Small Business of the Week..."

Read more here.

BHM Feature
Emerging Leaders - USA Logo

Emerging Leaders Initiative Returning to South Florida

Local area recruitment for the 2019 SBA Emerging Leaders training cycle is currently ongoing as the South Florida District has been once again selected to host two locations this year: Miami and Tampa.

Emerging Leaders Initiative provides free entrepreneurship education and training for executives of small, poised-for-growth companies that are potential job creators.  This intensive executive entrepreneurship series includes nearly 100 hours of classroom time. It also provides opportunities for small business owners to work with experienced coaches and mentors, attend workshops, and develop connections with their peers, local leaders, and the financial community.

Since its inception in 2008, the SBA’s Emerging Leaders Initiative has trained over 5,000 small business owners, creating over 6,500 jobs, generating over $300 million in new financing, and securing over $3.16 billion in government contracts.

Over the course of seven months, participants are given the opportunity to work with experienced mentors, attend specialized workshops and develop connections with their peers, city leaders, and the financial community.

Classes are scheduled to begin this spring with specific dates differing by location.

MIAMI: Classes will be held every other Wednesday at Westland Gardens Park, 13507 NW 107th Avenue, Hialeah Gardens, Florida 33018. Project Manager in Miami: Jonel Hein, (305) 536-5527,

TAMPA: Classes will be held every other Monday at University of South Florida Small Business Development Center, 1101 Channelside Drive, Suite 210, Tampa, Florida 33602. Project Manager in Tampa: C. J. Castro, (813) 228-2100 ext. 24,

Interested small business owners can learn more regarding eligibility, how to apply, and curriculum requirements at the SBA’s Emerging Leaders website.

2019 FedEx Small Business Grant Contest

What could you do with $15,000, $30,000 or even $50,000 for your small business? The FedEx Small Business Grant Contest has returned, offering even more money to 10 winners. Entries will be accepted February 19 through March 25. 

Entering is a great opportunity to gain exposure for your business and connect with your community and your fans — and winning one of the 10 grants could open up new possibilities for your business. Start thinking about how you want to tell your story: What do you want to share about your business? What could a grant help you accomplish?

Entering is easy:

1) Write a short profile highlighting your unique story and offerings. 

2) Upload a logo and photos that capture the spirit of your business.

3) Create a one-minute video about what makes your business special. 

4) Share your entry! Remind fans to vote for your entry between February 27 and April 1. Votes are one of the many factors considered in choosing finalists and winners, and are allowed once per 24-hour period per person.


2019 Grant Contest

Upcoming Events

March 13 - Webinar: Show me the Money - Financing Options for your Small Business

This class discusses the multiple sources of capital for starting and growing a small business. The pros and cons of the funding sources are reviewed. Topics to be discussed include familiar options such as self-financing, funding from friends & family, and partnerships. Other sources are reviewed such as: • Small Business Loans • SBA Loan Guaranty Program • Microloans Some less conventional financing sources along with their pros and cons are also discussed, including selling equity (shares), venture capital, angel investors, and crowd funding. Click here to register for this event featuring Lonnie Koyama of the Small Business Administration.

March 27 - Lender Roundtable for Small Businesses

Vince LoPresti from the Small Business Administration (SBA) will moderate a interactive panel discussion featuring SBA Lenders throughout Brevard County. The program is free to attend, however, reservations are required. Call the Florida SBDC at Eastern Florida State College at 321-433-5570 or 321-433-5514 or register online.

12th Annual SBA Export Lender’s Roundtable

Wednesday March 27, 2019
Ronald Reagan Trade Building – International Trade Center
Washington D.C. 20004

The 12th Annual SBA Export Lender’s Roundtable brings together the trade and export finance community for a day of discussion and networking with SBA and other Federal leadership as well as principal industry leaders.

Covering important topics surrounding SBA’s International Finance Programs and the trade and export finance space, the roundtable will incorporate a substantive and interactive discussion among all participants focused on financing techniques, innovations and disruptors, as well as best practices.

This is an ideal environment for lenders, trade financiers, and trade industry professionals to meet and learn about SBA’s International Trade Finance Programs, which are designed to help small businesses throughout their export development cycle, from developing new markets, to financing export transactions, to expanding production capacity due to exporting success. Please join us to learn how you can support the most forward and competitive businesses in your community with SBA financing options! 

The event is free but space is limited! Reserve your spot today!

**Registration is only available for current or future SBA & ExIm Bank Lenders**


Past Events

Sanders Oath

DDD Jonel Hein welcomed Carroll Sanders as a new Field Counsel in the South Florida District Office in Miami, FL. Mr. Sanders comes to SBA from private practice where he developed extensive experience in litigation and real estate in both Florida and Georgia.  He received his J.D. from Florida State University and is licensed in Florida, Georgia and Texas.

Oath of Office

DDD Jonel Hein administers the oath of office to Natalia Batista-Vazquez, a newly hired Field Counsel in the South Florida District Office in Miami, Florida. Ms. Batista-Vazquez comes to SBA from private practice with experience in bankruptcy, foreclosure and collection.  She obtained her B.B.A. in Finance and Accounting from The University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras and her J.D. from Interamerican University of Puerto Rico.



South Florida District Lead EDS Althea Harris host a SCORE Miami-sponsored Government Contracting Workshop at Miami's Center for Social Change. In FY-18, the 8(a) program awarded $548M in contracts to 8(a) firms located in the SBA South Florida District’s 24-county territory.



South Florida District Business Opportunity Specialist (s) Gus Vergara (presenter); Ron Brunner and Ray Lewis (seated, left) welcomed new firms into the SBA’s Business Development Program.

Contracting Vet

Federal Government Counseling Session

Nathan Wilson, owner of Gallant Knights, LLC, visited the South Florida District to discuss ways his veteran owned small business can enter into the federal contracting sector. The Air Force veteran provides counterterrorism training, counter insurgency and high level security through his company located in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

Photo: Scott Nirk, SBA procurement center representative; Nathan Wilson, owner of Gallant Knight; Josh Stutzman, SFDO supervisory BOS; and Derek Hankerson, constituent service representative for Florida’s 18th Congressional District.