Honoring Black Entrepreneurs Across the Southeast

SBA Southeastern Regional Update for Entrepreneurs


February 2021

u s small business administration

2021 SBA Black History Month Events

Black History Month


Thursday, Feb. 25: SBA Black History Month Online Panel: Recognizing the Resilience, Grit and Tenacity of America’s African American Small Business Heroes: Registration is required. Click here to register or visit: https://sbablackhistorymonth.eventbrite.com


Tuesday, Feb. 16: SBA Alabama District Director Thomas Todt and the Alabama State SBDC participated in a webinar hosted by Tuskegee University, the 129th Annual Farmer’s Conference, sponsored by the College of Agriculture, Environment and Nutritional Sciences. 

Monday, Feb. 22: 10:00 am to 12:00 pm CST: 2021 Revitalizing Our Small & Minority Businesses, Huntsville Madison County Chamber presents this event in coordination with SBA, Regions Bank, Alabama A & M Huntsville and Synovus. Register here.


Thursday, Feb. 11: SBA Georgia District Director Terri Denison keynoted the Georgia Greater Black Chamber of Commerce Paycheck Protection Program Partnership to Ensure Increase Access to Funds for Minority, Underserved, Veteran and Women-Owned Small Businesses.

Tuesday, Feb. 16  SBA Georgia District Director Terri Denison was one of two panelists for the Atlanta Business League’s Covid-19 Weekly Opportunities Series Webinar: “The Payroll Protection Program is Back!”

Wednesday, Feb. 17 from 7-9:30 p.m. – One of three guest speakers for the Atlanta Suburban Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.’s Code R.E.D. (Revitalizing Economic Development) Doing Business Differently Series: Raising Capital Session.

Thursday, Feb. 25: SBA Georgia District, HBCU Morehouse College SBDC in collaboration with Morehouse Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center (MIEC) and their Ascend Atlanta cohort will be hosting a Black History Month event. Check www.sba.gov/ga for more information.

North Carolina:

Wednesday, Feb. 3: North Carolina Kicked Off Black History Month with Phi Beta Sigma

Friday, Feb. 5: North Carolina Continues Black History Month with State’s Minority Procurement Program

North Florida:

Thursday, Feb. 25 2–4pm EST: SBA North Florida's 1st Annual Black History Month Celebration: What Economic Empowerment looks like for underserved communities-More specifically, the African American community.  Register here.

South Carolina:

Wednesday, Feb. 3: Stimulus Round II: PPP with Benedict College 

Tuesday, Feb. 23: Ready Set Go! Funding for Small Business with HBCU Benedict College; Register here

South Florida:

Wednesday, Feb. 3: 5th Annual State of Black Miami Forum - SBA presented on COVID relief including newest round of PPP funding and EIDL loans.

Thursday, Feb. 11: Lauderhill Chamber of Commerce Black History Month event- SBA presenting on COVID relief with PPP and EIDL

Thursday, Feb. 25: Building Wealth: Thinking Outside the Books – Cosponsored event with SBA, Florida Memorial University (HBCU), the Black Wealth Consortium and Community Fund of North Miami-Dade (CDFI).  This event will highlight SBA’s support in advancing economic empowerment in addition to planting seeds for young entrepreneurs attending HBCUs. Register here

BLOG Image

BLOG:  SBA Shares Resources for Black-Owned Businesses During National Black History Month

This National Black History Month, we commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the destruction of Black Wall Street where hundreds of small business dreams were deferred in the town of Greenwood, Oklahoma.  Today, Greenwood’s 1921 Commission and other small business leaders join forces to help this community rebuild and regain economic equity.  

Continue reading..........

New Resource for Women Entrepreneurs- Take a Journey with SBA



Take a no-cost journey with SBA and learn from experts on certain topics including Recovery:


What's New from YOUR

SBA District Office

Tom Todt

Alabama District Office

Thomas (Tom) Todt, District Director

SBA Alabama Director Tom Todt participated with Tuskegee University at their129th Annual Farmer’s Conference, sponsored by the College of Agriculture, Environment and Nutritional Sciences. This Black History Month event occurred on Tuesday, February 16.

The SBA and the Small Business Development Center at Alabama State University presented on Recovery Programs available through the Economic Aid Act as well as detailed information regarding the Paycheck Protection Program.

L.D. Ralph

In other SBA Alabama news, congratulations to L. D. Ralph for completing 30 years of government service. His first 7 years were with the IRS and since then he has been an Lender Relations Specialist, Lead Lender Relations Specialist and currently the Deputy District Director for the SBA the Alabama District Office.

Congratulations, L. D.!

L.D. Ralph, SBA Alabama Deputy District Director pictured on left

Malcolm Richards

North Florida District Office

Jon Malcolm Richards, District Director

SBA Announces New District Director for North Florida

 SBA is proud to announce the appointment of Mr. Jon “Malcolm” Richards as the North Florida District Director. He will oversee the implementation of SBA programs and services across the 43 county North Florida territory.

Richards replaces Michael Barrera as the District Director. Richards brings a wealth of experience to the North Florida area that will be beneficial for the small business community. His experience includes over 20-years in economic development and entrepreneurial development, with a specialization in the needs of underserved and disadvantaged communities. He is an experienced commercial lender and has served as the District Director for the SBA in Kansas City, Missouri for 6-years. His expertise will be instrumental in helping the SBA North Florida office continue to provide outreach and support to small business owners in the territory. His focus will be to increase lending and contracting opportunities for small businesses.

Prior to his role as District Director for the Kansas City District Office, Richards served as the Acting Deputy District Director for the SBA New York City District Office. He has also served in the capacity as Acting Regional Administrator for the agency. He has worked in various other roles and locations in the organization including Supervisory Lender Relations Specialist, Supervisory Economic Development Specialist, and Branch Manager. Prior to his federal experience, Richards worked for three of the largest commercial banks in the nation in leadership and management proles, overseeing small business and commercial lending, investments, and strategic planning.  Richards also owned and managed a small business for several years. Richards holds a Master of Arts (MA) degree as well as a Master of Business Administration (MBA).

Richards will oversee the implementation of SBA programs across 43-counties in North Florida. He will be responsible for the oversight of approximately a billion dollars of annual federal contracting dollars and over $500M of annual lending guarantees through the North Florida District Office. Additionally, Richards will provide support to the district’s counseling partners including the Small Business Development Centers; SCORE Chapters; Women’s Business Center; U.S. Export Assistance Centers; Veteran Business Outreach Center; and Procurement Technical Assistance Centers.

Please join us in welcoming Malcolm Richards to Region IV!

Victoria Guerrera

South Florida District Office

Victoria Guerrero, District Director


February is Black History month, a time when we recognize and celebrate the achievements of African-Americans and their contributions to the formation, growth, and strength of our nation.  

Ramona Hall

In honor of Black History Month, we are featuring Ramona Phillips-Hall, owner of Phillips Concessions, a First and Second Round Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP) loan and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) recipient. 

After receiving funding under PPP Round 1 and EIDL programs, Hall was able to rehire 25 team members and reopen one of her locations that closed during the initial onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Prior to Covid-19, Phillips Concessions and its affiliates had more 90 employees with plans to grow and expand to 185 employees.

Check out her interviews with SBA South Florida Director Victoria Guerrero on our YouTube Channel: PPP Interview w/Ramona Phillips-Hall; and learn more on her small business: Phillips Concessions - JFC Miami.

Terri Denison

Georgia District Office

Terri L. Denison, District Director

Georgia District Director Terri Denison Provides PPP Updates During Pandemic-Related Events

Georgia District Director Terri Denison was a guest speaker during the DeKalb County “Coronavirus Economic Relief Bill Town Hall” on Thursday, Feb. 4. The event was hosted by DeKalb County Commissioner Lorraine Cochran-Johnson and featured legal, real estate, and small business experts. Denison discussed the bill and explained how it will aid Georgia residents suffering economically due to the pandemic.

SBA Director Denison also spoke during the Atlanta Business League’s Weekly COVID-19 Issues & Opportunities Series: “The Paycheck Protection Program is Back!” on Tuesday, Feb. 16. Denison discussed the new round of PPP funding and was joined by the chief lending officer from Citizens Trust Bank.

Denison at ABL
Labriah Holt

SBA Helps Georgia Black-Owned Salon Buy Historic Building Where Dr. MLK Jr. Got His Hair Cut

Labriah (Bree) Holt has had a passion for business and entrepreneurship from an early age. She worked in a salon during college learning not only how to style hair, but also how to run the business, skills she would eventually put to good use in her own business.

As a traveling professional that was always on the go she struggled to find the time and salons that were able to care for her hair. She decided to open a salon that was not only time efficient, but also could cater to all hair types. Bree founded Sweetroots Hair Bar to fill that niche.

Bree turned to the SBA to get the capital she needed to get her dream off the ground. After securing a 7(a) loan , she was able to buy a historic building that housed a salon and the barbershop that used cut Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s hair.

Using the capital and technical assistance from the SBA, Sweetroots is achieving unprecedented success. Bree has added 5 fulltime employees. Additionally, she has brought in interns and apprentices from the local community to learn not only how to style hair, but also how to run a business. The business has been so successful that she is actively working on plans to open a second location.

Robert Coffey

Kentucky District Office

Robert Coffey, District Director


Helping Small Businesses in Kentucky Start,

Expand and Recover

 Due to the pandemic and its impact across the United States and the globe, this past year has been perhaps the most challenging for small businesses and for SBA. Revenue has dropped dramatically for most companies, and working capital is crucial for small businesses to survive and come out stronger on the other side of this crisis.

The federal stimulus bills created a more flexible Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, Paycheck Protection Program, debt relief and other programs to address the impact of COVID-19, helping small businesses and non-profits survive. SBA lenders, including banks, credit unions, Community Financial Institutions and nonprofit lenders, assisted small businesses in accessing recovery program funds.

In Kentucky, SBA and its resource partners have been offering numerous webinars on funding, both recovery-focused and traditional loan programs. SCORE, the Small Business Development Centers, the Women’s Business Center, Veterans Business Outreach Center and our SBA lenders have filled the calendar with funding-themed webinars and topics related to ways to improve marketing efforts and attract new customers.

The SBA Kentucky District Office also introduced new Business Basics and Business Sustainability courses to address the needs of underserved entrepreneurs. These eight-week courses focus heavily on access to capital and understanding revenue sources and opportunities. Later this year, the Kentucky District Office will offer an Accounting 101 module to help these small business owners better understand working capital needs and ways to better leverage working capital.

Janita Stewart

Mississippi District Office

Janita Stewart, District Director


Honoring a Mississippi Black-owned Business Success for National Black History Month



Mama Nature’s Juice and Salad Bar, Ridgeland, MS

T’Keyah Williams is the owner of Mama Nature’s Juice and Salad Bar. The small business was started in November 2016. Williams’ mom went vegan in April 2016 to help with health issues. Williams began researching the subject because her children suffered from chronic asthma. Williams began putting together juice recipes to help heal her children's bodies from the illness. Williams decided to become a vegan herself and saw the benefits for her and her own children. Along the way, she decided to sell her products to help others have healthier options.

Mama Nature’s went from a mobile delivery service to storefront known for its fresh pressed juice. They provide juices, smoothies, salads, wraps, and many more healthy eating options. "Mama Nature’s Juice Bar is all about encouraging a healthy way of living and helping people incorporate veggies and fruits into their diet," Williams said.  “The juice bar is plant-based. We want to introduce people to roots and herbs, and different things they don’t know about.”

Later, Williams was joined by another Jackson native, Michael McElroy, who has over 10 years of restaurant experience. Together, they are on a mission to improve the health and wellness of Jacksonians through nutrition. Williams and McElroy received business counseling from the Hinds Community College Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to help them develop a business plan and financial projections for the business. They were able to obtain an SBA loan to finance the business and purchase the new storefront location.  

Mama's Nature

Williams and McElroy pride themselves on using as many Mississippi vendors for their supplies as they can, from the leafy greens to the raw local honey. The business has expanded its workforce from two to seven employees. Williams and McElroy are living their dream of being small business owners and promoting healthy living. They were able to pursue their true passion by the help of the SBA and the community.  https://mamanatureswellness.com/

Michael Arriola

North Carolina District Office

Michael Arriola, Acting District Director


North Carolina Kicks Off Black History Month with Phi Beta Sigma

The North Carolina District Office marked the start of Black History Month with a PPP session hosted by Phi Beta Sigma, a historically African-American fraternity, started in 1914 at Howard University.  Phi Beta Sigma has a Bigger and Better Business initiative aimed at its entrepreneurial community and maintains a statewide presence. 

Acting District Director Mike Arriola, Lead Lender Relations Specialist Karen Hoskins, Lender Relations Specialist Walter Lara-Figueroa, and Raleigh Senior Area Manager Patrick Rodriguez pitched in to talk about PPP. Also, Tracy Ward of Self-Help Credit Union and Jim Sills of Mechanics and Farmers Bank spoke from the lender’s perspective about PPP and how they can assist minority communities. Self-Help is a mission-based lender with offices across the country. Mechanics & Farmers Bank is the second-oldest African-American owned bank in the country. Both are based in Durham, NC.


North Carolina Continues Black History Month with State’s Minority Procurement Program

The NC District Office joined forces with the State of North Carolina Historically Underutilized Business Office to showcase PPP and EIDL for their firms.  The NC HUB Office runs the state’s version of the 8(a) program.  NC HUB officials hosted Acting District Director Mike Arriola, Lead Lender Relations Specialist Karen Hoskins, Raleigh Senior Area Manager Patrick Rodriguez, and Lender Relations Specialist Walter Lara-Figueroa at the inaugural event, which drew about 120 participants.   The NC HUB Office series is ongoing.

Other NC news:  The NCDO and the NC Small Business & Technology Development Center continue to provide weekly briefings on SBA’s disaster programs. These webinars have reached several thousand NC small businesses.   Topics have included PPP, EIDL, and PPP Forgiveness.   The SBTDC COVID-19 Business Recovery and Resiliency Program offers additional counseling to attendees. 

Richard White

South Carolina District Office

Richard "Gregg" White, District Director


The South Carolina District Office recognizes the economic impact that black-owned businesses have on our state. There are over 57,000 self-employed minorities in South Carolina, and on average, black-owned businesses create 3-6 jobs in their communities, per each business they own. We would like to celebrate your accomplishments not only in this month, but throughout the year! Thank you for the important role you play in growth of our state.

In honor of Black History Month, the South Carolina District Office will be hosting a webinar on February 23rd in partnership with the Benedict College Women’s Business Center and the South Carolina Small Business Development Center on funding opportunities for small businesses. In this webinar, you will learn how to build an effective business plan that lenders will want to look at, the importance of credit scores and credit history, and the variety of loan programs and resources available to assist in getting the capital you need to be successful. To learn more about this workshop, click here.

LaTanya Channel

Tennessee District Office

LaTanya Channel, District Director


“Get the Facts on PPP & EIDL” – Hear from Credit Unions

The TNDO continues to hold weekly sessions with small business owners to provide updates on PPP and EIDL.  The upcoming March 1, 2021 “Get the Facts” will be a special webinar session focusing on Credit Unions that do PPP and SBA lending, with the Vice President of the Tennessee Credit Union League as a guest. For future info sessions and webinars, follow us on Twitter at @SBA_Tennessee and on Eventbrite.

TNDO Photos


Tennessee District Office (TNDO) – Spreading the Word on SBA Assistance via Social Media 

On February 10, 2021, “Black Business Boom” Founder Danielle McGee hosted the TNDO for a FACEBOOK LIVE event.  The event was livestreamed and later posted on social media on the “Black People Making Moves” FACEBOOK group where over 20,000 members connect with Black owned businesses in Nashville, daily. Over 160 businesses participated in the FACEBOOK LIVE session with over 500 views by the end of the day. 


Relief Available for Disaster Declaration for the December 25th Nashville Explosion

ODA Chart

Did you know that damaged vehicles are covered by SBA Disaster Assistance?  The TNDO and the SBA Office of Disaster Assistance (ODA) are actively promoting SBA disaster assistance to educate communities on the recovery relief that is available. Public webinars were held on February 5th and 10th, hosted by the Tennessee Office of Economic and Community Development (TNECD). Stay tuned for more webinars in the near future by visiting www.sba.gov/tn. 

In the following seven (7) TN counties, individuals and businesses impacted by the December 25th explosion may request a one-on-one appointment to learn if you are eligible by sending an email to FOCE-help@sba.gov with “TN Disaster# 16856” in the subject line: Davidson, Cheatham, Robertson, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson, and Wilson counties.

For this declaration, the deadline for physical damage loans is March 29, 2021 and the deadline for economic injury loans is October 28, 2021.  Remember, that homeowners, private non-profits, businesses of all sizes, and renters may be eligible for SBA Disaster Assistance.  This is different than and in addition to COVID-EIDL - meaning, a business may be eligible for more than one SBA disaster loan.

You may call the SBA Office of Disaster  Assistance at 1-800-659-2955 between 8a and 8p ET or find out more info here