Ashley D. Bell Named as White House Policy Advisor for #Entrepreneurs

October 2019

u s small business administration
Ashley Bell


Ashley D. Bell

Region IV Administrator

U.S. Small Business Administration


Ashley D. Bell has been appointed as the White House Advisor for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

WH Logo

Ashley D. Bell was recently appointed as a Policy Advisor for Entrepreneurship and Innovation by the White House Office of American Innovation. Mr. Bell will also remain as the SBA Region IV Administrator. In his White House role, Mr. Bell has the opportunity to introduce policy that will empower entrepreneurs across the nation through his work with Opportunity Zones, supplier diversity, HBCU entrepreneurship, his Drive 8(a) Initiative as well as through his Rural Strong Initiative; assuring that entrepreneurs in every pocket of the United States have the opportunity to succeed. 

The announcement was made in Atlanta on October 16th at the Russell Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (RCIE) in front of a standing room only crowd, As Mr. Bell stated, "This is not a celebration, this is a groundbreaking," as he described the work he has already begun to assist all entrepreneurs in creating businesses that may passed along to future generations. As Mr. Bell stated, "you can't pass a job along to your children, but you can pass a business on to them to run."

Ashley Bell at  Ceremony

Ashley D. Bell address a full house during the ceremony announcing his new role as White House Policy Advisor for Entrepreneurship and InnovationCrowd at RCIE

Standing room only during the announcement ceremony held at the Russell Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship ion Atlanta, GA

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Local News From Your

SBA District Office

Regional Event:


ChallengeHER coming to Huntsville, AL!

Tuesday, November 7, 2019
Registration 8:00 - 9:00 AM
Sessions & Matchmaking: 9:00 – 3:45 PM

Continental Breakfast and Boxed Lunch are served


Free event; seating is limited
Registration required

Successfully navigate the federal contracting industry and win federal contracts by knowing the rules and understanding the strategies.
Information is power!

Thomas Todt

Alabama District Office

Thomas (Tom) Todt, District Director

Alabama is home to more than 376,000 military veterans, and has almost 13,000 current National Guard members as well. In addition, there are almost 900 veteran-owned small businesses in the state. 

LD Ralph

In the photo, L.D. Ralph, Deputy District Director for Alabama, presents a module to a Boots to Business class at Maxwell AFB in central Alabama. In conjunction with the VBOC, SBDCs and WBCs, ALDO also conducts B2B classes at Fort Rucker and Redstone Arsenal.

Gil Colon

North Florida District Office

Gil Colon, Deputy District Director

The North Florida District Office signed SAM agreements with the Hispanic Chamber of Metro Orlando and Prospera as part of National Hispanic Month.
The SAMs were signed during the Hispanic Economic Summit in Winter Park, Florida on October 10.

SAm w Prospera

L to R: Augusto Sanabria, President, Prospera USA; Gabby Ortigoni, President of the Hispanic Chamber of Metro Orlando; and Gilbert Colón, SBA Deputy District Director.

White House Policy Advisor and Regional Administrator Ashely Bell recently signed a Strategic Alliance Memorandum on behalf of the NFDO with the Central Florida Urban League. The signing was part of the Central Florida Urban League’s Opportunity Zone townhall.


Pictured: Glenton Gizean, Jr., President and CEO Central Florida Urban League and Ashley Bell, White House Policy Advisor and Regional Administrator.

Victoria Guerrero

South Florida District Office

Victoria Guerrero, District Director

The South Florida District Office participated in a two-day Opportunity Zone (OZ) Summit, hosted by the City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez on Sept. 27-28. Established by Congress as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Opportunity Zones were designed to tap into an estimated $6.1 trillion in unrealized capital gains.

Special guests include Benjamin S. Carson, Sr., Secretary, U.S. Housing & Urban Development (HUD); Chris Pilkerton, Acting Administrator, Small Business Administration (SBA) of the United States; Dr. John C. Fleming, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce, Economic Development; and, Mr. Scott Turner, Executive Director, White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council.

Day 1 of the summit focused on real estate development trends in Miami’s OZs along with a small business visit by Pilkerton and SBA Region 4 Administrator Ashley Bell to the 2019 SBA National Phoenix Award Winner for Outstanding Small Business Disaster Recovery winner Stephanie Vitori, owner of Cheeseburger Baby.

Day 2 included opening remarks by Suarez and Bell, followed by a presentation and panel discussion featuring Joseph Shepard, SBA Associate Administrator for the Office of Investment and Innovation. Entrepreneurs in attendance learned how they can leverage private equity with the SBIC program and other federal resources for business acquisition, expansion, development and relocation to Opportunity Zones.

To wrap up the event, small business owners took part in the Matchmaker Bus Tour where they were taken to view a sample of the real estate available for purchase or lease within the City of Miami’s Opportunity Zones. For additional information, please visit

Terri Denison

Georgia District Office

Terri L. Denison, District Director


On Friday, November 8, the Georgia District Office is joining the Georgia VECTR Center for its Veterans Day Celebration in Warner Robins. The event includes a session devoted to veteran entrepreneurship with veteran-owned businesses sharing their stories and the SBA providing information on its programs and resources. For more details, please contact VECTR, an SBA Veterans Business Outreach Center, at (478) 218-3900 or go to

Robert Coffey DDD

Kentucky District Office

Robert Coffey, Acting District Director

Kentucky Organizations Receive SBA Funds to Grow Small Businesses

XlerateHealth (XLH), a Louisville-based healthcare accelerator, received a $50,000 award from SBA’s Growth Accelerator Fund Competition. XLH represents accelerators and incubators focused on a broad set of industries and sectors to support startups and entrepreneurs researching and developing STEM-related innovations.

XLH is the only healthcare accelerator and one of only two accelerators nationwide to receive the award four times and the only Kentucky-based accelerator to receive the award in 2019. XLH was developed to cultivate and grow promising healthcare innovation in underserved areas.

SBA also announced that the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development has been awarded $300,000 to support export growth among small businesses through SBA’s competitive State Trade Expansion Program (STEP). With the additional $100,000 match from the state, the 2019 STEP awards will help Kentucky assist its small businesses with the information and tools they need to succeed in export-related activities to reach over 95% of the world’s population outside of the U.S.

Since 2011, Kentucky has been awarded more than $2.4 million by the SBA’s Office of International Trade to promote exporting activities for Kentucky’s small businesses. This program has helped Kentucky companies across the state establish an international presence and grow their businesses.

Janita Stewart

Mississippi District Office

Janita Stewart, District Director


SBA Mississippi FY 2019 Lending Update
SBA Mississippi approved 320 loans for $137.8 million through its 7(a) and 504 programs. During FY 2019, 16 new lenders were brought on board as well as 1 new CDC.


Mississippi #RuralStrong 

The SBA Mississippi District Office recognized lenders who committed to a 5% increase in rural lending with certificates of recognition. Thank you SBA lenders!!

MS Rural Strong Lenders

HBCU Entrepreneurship Summit Coming to Jackson State University!

HBCU Summit

Are you a student at an HBCU seeking employment or looking to start your own small business?
Join us at this no-cost event to hear from small business experts and SBA leadership on how to start and grow your own business.
Bring your resume and meet with HUBZone firms performing on contracts, prime contractors, federal agencies and resource partners.


3:00 P.M. – 5:30 P.M.

Register Here

Thomas Stith

North Carolina District Office

Thomas A. Stith, III, District Director

New District Director for North Carolina
CHARLOTTE, North Carolina -- Thomas A. Stith III became the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) North Carolina District Director following an oath-of-office ceremony on September 30, 2019.

Stith comes to the SBA from The Michael Thomas Group, a consulting firm he co-founded to advise clients seeking business development opportunities in the public and private sectors. He worked with clients to improve their understanding of and ability to perform marketing, government relations, strategic planning, and internal assessment functions.

Stith also recently served with Rivermont Capital, where he was a senior advisor in the areas of investment, development opportunities, and investor relations. Immediately prior, he was the president of a state-of-the-art toxicology lab and health care consulting function at LJP Lab. In this position he had corporate responsibility for profit/loss, strategic planning, market development, operations, human resources, and state/federal relationships.

Stith served as Chief of Staff to Governor Pat McCrory from 2013 to 2017 and as a City of Durham councilman from 1999 to 2007.

A native of Durham, North Carolina, Stith is a graduate of North Carolina Central University earning a master’s and bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.

Stith Swearing in

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Sep. 30, 2019) NCDO DD Thomas A. Stith III (right) receives the oath of office from RA Ashley D. Bell (left).

Entrepreneurial event held at Johnson C. Smith University
CHARLOTTE, North Carolina -- The NCDO concluded its regularly scheduled fiscal year 2019 community outreach events with an entrepreneurial summit at Johnson C. Smith University on September 24, 2019. The event included speakers from the university and the SBA, a discussion of the SBA’s programs and resources, and an entrepreneurial success panel consisting of SBA-certified HUBZone small-business firms.

Event participants had the opportunity to ask the panelists questions regarding small business, entrepreneurship, and federal contracts. Prior to and following the event, attendees were able to network with the HUBZone small-business owners, SBA’s resource partners, and agency officials.


CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Sep. 24, 2019) HUBZone firm owners participating in the entrepreneurial success panel answer questions during the Johnson C. Smith University entrepreneurial summit.

Richard White

 South Carolina District Office

Gregg White, District Director


As National Veteran Small Business Week approaches, we want to take the time to honor and support our veteran-owned small businesses in South Carolina.



Did you know that:
• One in four veterans start a business
• Veteran-owned businesses in South Carolina create 11 jobs on average
• Veteran small businesses in South Carolina received over $5.6 million in SBA backed loans
• Over $321k in federal contracts were awarded to veteran-owned businesses in South Carolina

So as you can see, it is so important that we support our veteran-owned businesses who play an integral role in supporting our local economies. The SBA South Carolina District Office has partnered with the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce to offer a half-day Veteran Small Business Matchmaker event on November 4th at 9 a.m. Current and aspiring veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs are invited to attend this event to learn more about the federal, state, local, and private resources that are available to help veteran businesses start, grow, expand and recover their small business. We hope to see you there!

LaTanya Channel

Tennessee District Office

LaTanya Channel, District Director

NADCO Annual Meeting Comes to Nashville

On October 15-18, the National Association of Certified Development Companies held its annual meeting in Nashville this week. With over 600 in attendance, it was a highly impactful week for the 504 Industry.

SBA Headquarters staff participating this years conference included: William Manger, Associate Administrator for Capital Access; Diana Seaborn, Director, Office of Financial Assistance; Linda Reilley, 504 Loan Program Branch Chief; Steve Kucharski, Director, Office of Performance and Management Systems; and Paul Kirwin, Supervisory Financial Analyst, Office of Credit Risk Management. The national conference highlighted two Tennessee businesses that received 504 loans: Climb Nashville in Nashville and L&S Family Entertainment in Hendersonville. SBA Tennessee Director LaTanya Channel and Wendell Davis, SBA Northeast Regional Administrator, co-presented a session titled, “Working with Regional and SBA District Offices to Better Service SBA Borrowers.” Additionally, the SBA Tennessee District Office staffed a booth in the conference Marketplace.
In FY20, the SBA Tennessee District Office will continue its Rural Strong efforts to further connect borrowers, to lenders and CDCs in the SBA 504 Loan Program. For more info on the SBA 504 loan program, see click here.

LaTanya Channel