SBA Southeast Celebrates Small Business Week

September 2020: SBA Southeastern Regional Update for Entrepreneurs

u s small business administration
Ashley Bell

Ashley D. Bell

Region IV Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration

Entrepreneurship Policy Advisor for the White House Opportunity & Revitalization Council


Honoring Entrepreneurs: Small Business Week Sept 20-26

Happy National Small Business Week. Recovery, Adaptation and Innovation

We are honored to recognize the 2020 Regional Award Winners from the Southeastern Region! Small Business Week provides us an avenue to honor and celebrate the incredible success of entrepreneurs from across the nation. Below are entrepreneurs that were selected as the Region IV Small business Week Awardees for 2020- congratulations!

Region IV Small Business Week 2020 Winners:

Exporter of the Year – Region IV & National Winner!  

  • Nick C. Nicholas, Genesis Water Technologies, Maitland, FL

Rural Small Business Person of the Year 

  • Teresa McElroy, The Therapy Tree, Savannah, Georgia

Second Chance Hiring Advocate     

  • Andrew Yap, CEO, LEASA Industries Co., Miami, Florida

Small Business Development Center Excellence & Innovation Award           

  • Jim Johnson, Jr., Orangeburg Area SBDC, Orangeburg, South Carolina

Women's Business Center of Excellence Award                     

  • Victoria Hughes, Director, Florida Women’s Business Center, Delray Beach, Florida

8(a) Graduate of the Year                   

  • Gerald Neal, Neal’s Construction, LLC, Beaufort, South Carolina

 Young Entrepreneur of the Year     

  • Taylore Woods, Ashtae Products, Greensboro, NC 

Upcoming Small Business Week Events Taking Place Across the Southeast:

Alabama:  2020 Virtual Award Ceremony, Monday, September 21, 2020 at 2PM CDT, Microsoft Teams Live Event:  Join us Live! Here

Florida: 28th Annual Small Business Week Virtual Celebration Free!  Virtual Online Event! Oct 09th, 2020 - 11:30AM to 01:30PM EDT Register for this event

Mississippi: Virtual awards ceremony,  Thursday, September 24, 2020 from 2PM EDT. Register.

North Carolina:  Virtual Awards Ceremony will be held on Thursday, September 24, 2020 at 9:30AM EDT Register

South Carolina:  2020 Salute to Small Business Virtual Awards Ceremony,  Wednesday, September 16, 2020 - 1PM EDT Register 

The SBA National Virtual Conference Begins Tomorrow! Register now!  

NSBW Register

Upcoming Webinar: Take Your Business Global with help from SBA-  featuring Florida's National Exporter of the Year!


Thursday, September 24, 2020,

2:00pm to 3:00pm EST

  • Join SBA's Office of International Trade's Associate Administrator Loretta Greene for a celebration interview with SBA's 2020 Exporter of the Year.  Hear how they’re finding success in the global marketplace and their business strategies in the face of COVID-19.
  • Get the latest information on the CARES Act and learn about SBA’s new Fast Track Service for exporters and businesses in the global supply chain.
  • Learn about SBA’s State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) grants to help businesses reach new customers overseas.
  • Discover how SBA’s export finance programs can help your business grow from Mary Hernandez, SBA Export Finance Manager for Southern Florida.

This is a can’t miss opportunity to tap into SBA’s export programs and services and go global. Sales opportunities in new markets are waiting for you!


Local News From Your

SBA District Office

Thomas Todt

Alabama District Office

Thomas (Tom) Todt, District Director


SBA will announce the 2020 National Small Business Person of the Year along with other national awards next week during National Small Business Week.                                                 

            Join the Virtual Event by Registering here


Congratulations to our SBA 2020 Alabama Small Business Award Winners!

2020 Alabama District Director's Award Winner 

Timothy Thornton, President and CEO   


AL NSBW Winner Thornton

Small Business Person of the Year 

Sridhara Gutti, President and CEO 

Essnova Solutions, Inc. 


Read His Story

AL NSBW Ghutti

Laketa Henderson

North Florida District Office

Laketa Henderson, Acting District Director

28th Annual Small Business Week Virtual Celebration

Honoring North Florida’s Small Business Leaders, Champions and Top Lenders! The Florida SBDC Network in conjunction with the U.S. SBA will be honoring Florida’s Small Business Leaders, Champions and Top Lenders from Pensacola to Orlando at the first-ever Virtual Small Business Week Event.  

Join us as we recognize the small business community’s contribution to the economy as part of National Small Business Week.  

Free!  Virtual Online Event!   11:30 am to 1:30 pm

Login details sent upon registration Register for this event

Victoria Guerrero

South Florida District Office

Victoria Guerrero, District Director


Ryan Carter, the executive VP and co-owner of Scotlynn USA Division based in Fort Myers, Fla., was named the 2020 State of Florida and South Florida District Small Business of the Year.

We look forward to celebrating the success of Ryan and all our 2020 NSBW winners during National Small Business Week.

Special ‘thanks’ to Lois Knox and her entire team at SBDC Florida Gulf Coast College for the consulting assistance they provided throughout the company’s growth process.


Click here for a complete list of 2020 South Florida District Winners.

South Florida SBW

Terri Denison

Georgia District Office

Terri L. Denison, District Director


Kraig Torres, founder and president of Hop City Beer and Wine, has been selected as the 2020 SBA Georgia Small Business Person of the Year. 

 Torres opened his first Hop City location in 2009 with four employees. With the assistance of SBA loans over the past decade, he opened a location in Birmingham, Ala., followed by three more locations in the Atlanta area and now employs nearly 200 staff members. 

The  SBA Georgia District congratulates Kraig for his exceptional entrepreneurial spirit and for championing SBA programs that help make the American dream of business ownership a reality.

GA SBW Torres

Robert Coffey DDD

Kentucky District Office

Robert Coffey, Acting District Director

KDO Offers New Pilot Program to Small Business Community

As part of the National Small Business Week celebration during September 22-24, the SBA Kentucky District Office, in conjunction with the City of Louisville District Three Councilwoman Keisha Dorsey and OneWest, developed a pilot program for entrepreneurs. OneWest is a Community Development Corporation committed to elevating commercial development growth in underserved areas of Louisville.

Feedback from a survey targeting the underserved business communities in Louisville helped shape the content and structure. The program consists of two no-fee, 8-week tracks. Both tracks are designed to inform and educate small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs in the District Three community to resources available.

The first track is “Business Basics for Beginners,” which started Tuesday, September 22. Some of the topics to be addressed include:

  • Introduction and Overview
  • Business Structure, Name and Tax ID
  • Develop the Business Plan
  • Establishing Banking Relationships and Business Credit
  • Branding and Marketing Basics

The second track is entitled “What Now: Business Sustainability for the Established Business Owner.” This content will also be offered weekly beginning Tuesday, September 29, and addresses the following:

  • Introduction and Overview
  • Keeping Your Business Separate and Untangled
  • Pricing for Taxes
  • Government Contracting – A Hidden Gem
  • Getting the Money you Need

Each track has subject matter experts who will offer suggestions, discuss skills development, highlight available small business resources and tools, and discuss behaviors every small business can adopt to be more successful. 

More information is available at:

Waitlist form:

KY NSBW Winners

Janita Stewart

Mississippi District Office

Janita Stewart, District Director

MS District Office to Honor Award Winners

Janita R. Stewart, District Director of the U.S. Small Business Administration Mississippi District Office, announced as part of National Small Business Week, the Mississippi Small Business Week Virtual Awards Ceremony will be held on Thursday, Sep 24, 2020 at 2:00 p.m.

For more than 50 years, the U.S. Small Business Administration has celebrated National Small Business Week which recognizes the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners. This year’s award recipients from the state of Mississippi include:

Small Business Person of the Year, Young Entrepreneur of the Year,  Financial Services Champion, Veterans Small Business Champion, Lender Awards, Certified Development Company Awards, Collaboration Resource Partners Recognition

With a year unlike any that has come before, we are facing unique challenges together. Nevertheless, American small businesses continue to play a central role in building a strong country, prepared for obstacles in the future. As part of our event we will hear from Mississippi Small Business of the Year, Vera Hall, owner of Innovative Performance Construction Company on her business accomplishments. 

Winners will be recognized in a virtual awards ceremony hosted by the SBA Mississippi District Office. To register for this free event, click here.

SBA Mississippi Success Story

Vera Hall

Vera Hall,  Principal & Managing Member, Innovative Performance Construction Co., Jackson, MS 

Vera has over 10 years’ experience in construction management.  A lifelong resident of Mississippi, Vera is working for change in her community of Jackson, helping renovate historic churches and affordable housing.  As part of a class project, she helped replace her grandmother’s door—still standing as a reminder of her first project and how a small thing can do a world of good for someone.

Vera says the key to success is executing effectively within your scope of financial capital and talent, ensuring you stay on schedule and within budget. Do that, and clients will keep coming back and referring you, she says. Vera started the construction company from her kitchen table and has grown it to over twenty employees with a second office in Jefferson County.

Vera Hall Hardhat

The Challenge:

It is difficult to be a woman competing in the construction industry. Vera is not just doing the hard work to secure the contract.  She’s also working to correct a perception.

She knew that becoming a government contractor would empower her while also scaling up her small business. One of her biggest obstacles was figuring out the government contracting process. Bidding on and winning these projects can be a daunting process for a small construction firm.

She needed expert business counselors who could guide Innovative Performance Construction through the process and provide best practices at no additional cost.

Vera Hall positioned her small business to better compete for government contracts with guidance from the SBA Mississippi District Office.

How SBA Assisted:

Read More

Thomas Stith

North Carolina District Office

Thomas A. Stith, III, District Director


The North Carolina District Office will hold a Virtual Awards Ceremony as part of National Small Business Week on Thursday, September 24, 2020 at 9:30 a.m.

For more than 50 years, the District Office has celebrated   Small Business Week recognizing the critical contributions of North Carolina’s entrepreneurs and small business owners.  This year’s North Carolina Award winners will be announced on Thursday, September 24th and include:

  • North Carolina Small Business Exporter of the Year
  • Southeast Region Young Entrepreneur of the Year
  • National Veterans Business Outreach Center Excellence in Service Award 
  • North Carolina Small Business Person of the Year

We hope you will join us to find out who the North Carolina winners are and to celebrate their recognition.  Register Here

With a year unlike any that has come before, we are facing unique challenges together. Nevertheless, American small businesses continue to play a central role in building a strong country, prepared for any obstacles in the future.

As part of our event we will hear from Steven Ceccarelli, owner of Farm Fresh Produce and the 2019 North Carolina Small Business Person of the Year, a keynote address by and Madhu Beriwal, CEO of IEM.  These leaders will discuss how they have met the challenges of 2020. 

Richard White

 South Carolina District Office

Richard "Gregg" White, District Director

The SBA South Carolina District Office celebrates National Small Business Week by congratulating our 2020 winners!

Eddie Burgess, President of Diversified Systems, Inc. is the 2020 South Carolina Small Business Person of the Year.

DSI opened in 1990 and employs 60 individuals in Greenville, SC. DSI designs, builds, delivers, and installs customized and standard machinery all over the world. 

                                                       Congratulations Eddie!

SC SBW Winner

DSI services textile, paper, film, aerospace, automotive, carpet, medical, non-wovens and other industries.

DSI exports their products to six out of seven continents, with the exception being Antarctica.          

If you missed our virtual awards ceremony, you can watch it here.

LaTanya Channel

Tennessee District Office

LaTanya Channel, District Director

Tennessee District Office (TNDO) Continues with Pandemic Recovery Outreach to Small Businesses

The TNDO continues its efforts with aiding small businesses with navigating this new environment and recovering from the pandemic. In our ongoing “Road to Recovery: Connecting Tennessee Small Business to Resources”, on September 8, 2020,  we held a webinar on the SBA’s newest loan program to assist small business – CARL, which stands for “Community Advantage Recovery Loan”. You can view the recording of the webinar on SBA’s YouTube page here. For more information on CARL, please contact BrightBridge Capital, the SBA Community Advantage lender for Tennessee. The deadline to apply for CARL is September 27, 2020. 

Also on SBA’s YouTube page is our "Road to Recovery" webinar on TN Business Relief with the Commissioner of Revenue.  On August 13, 2020, the State of Tennessee added additional categories of businesses that qualify for relief payments, since this webinar was done.  More information on the Tennessee Business Relief program is here and the deadline is September 25, 2020.

For small businesses that were declined for a COVID-19 EIDL, we hold biweekly webinars on EIDL Reconsideration offering explanations on decline reasons.  The next session occurs on September 30.  To register, go here

Stay tuned for communications on future events that will provide information and training to enable Tennessee small businesses to success in this new normal. For more information, check the Tennessee District Office website and follow us on Twitter at @SBA_Tennessee.

Video Highlight: 2019 Small Business Week

2019 SBW Video