SBA Has Something to Offer Every Entrepreneur

SBA Southeast Regional Update 


August 2021

u s small business administration
NSBW Promotion

Register for SBA’s Virtual Summit on September 13-15 during National Small Business Week. The event will feature presentations by business experts, mentoring, and virtual networking all designed to help entrepreneurs recover and come back stronger than ever before. 

Register Here

Black-owned Small Business Response to the Pandemic

Janita Stewart

By Janita R. Stewart
U.S. Small Business Administration’s Southeast Acting Regional Administrator, serving Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee

 Black-owned small businesses represent 9.5% of all small businesses in the United States (around 2.6 million).  Georgia and Florida are among the top 4 states with the most black-owned small businesses, and these are major markets in the Southeast Region.  Much of the American Rescue Plan Act has been delivered through programs administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

According to the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, the pandemic contributed to tipping 41% of Black-owned US businesses into closure from February to April 2020. Of the businesses that survived the pandemic, 8.8% black-owned businesses reported profitability and growth according to a study.  This data leads to the question: which response strategies did black-owned businesses use to survive the pandemic?  The answer is clear through data collected through a survey. According to the study, 53.4% of Black-owned businesses applied for federal recovery funding, and 20.3% received the full amount that was applied for.  

The top industries represented by black-owned business in the U.S. include Accommodation and Food Services, Construction, Health Care and Social Assistance, Professional, Scientific, Technical Services, and Other Services (except Public Administration), and Manufacturing. These industries align with the top funded industries through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) reflecting that black-owned businesses gained some traction in utilizing the PPP.

Healthy Black-owned businesses could be a critical component for closing the United States’ Black–white equity gap.  The SBA has strived and continues to strive to lessen this gap through opportunities made available to small businesses, especially in underserved areas. Other than the recovery programs administered through SBA (PPP, EIDL, SVOG, RRF, CNPP, etc.), the SBA has positioned itself in communities to be a key resource to the black business community.

One effort that the SBA has made in terms of servicing the black-owned business community is through the Women’s Business Centers. Five of the 136 centers across the United States are collocated with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) located in the Southeast. Also, 18 Small Business Development Centers are hosted by HBCUs; 8 of them located in the Southeast. Overall, black small business owners are younger and include more women than the general small business population. According to The State of African American Owned Businesses by, 22% of African American small business owners are millennials, nearly twice as many as the 12% of millennial small business owners in the general population.  With this data in mind, SBA is clearly investing in America’s youth.

Black-owned businesses have also responded to the pandemic through use of SBA’s traditional 7(a) and 504 Loans.  So far across the Southeast Region in FY 2021 (ending September 30), there is already an increase of 53 loans over the full fiscal year of FY 2020 valued at an increase of $58 million and this number can only continue to increase as the fiscal year end nears. On the federal government contracting side, Black-owned small businesses should be determined, posture, and anchor themselves to be full participants in the world’s largest marketplace. If eligible and not yet certified, apply for certifications including 8(a), HUBZone, WOSB and EDWOSB, etc. Federal contract awards from this source can add an additional stream of income enhancing your business development and growth.  

In honor of Black Business Month, it is important to me to capture the overall health of the black business community and to understand the response strategy of black-owned small businesses. This is a time that is critical for communities to work together, blend resources, and support one another for continued business survival and growth.

Please stay safe and be well.

Womens Equality Day Fireside Chat

Register Here

Go Global: Expand Your Market With Exporting

SBA Grants for Global Expansion

Thursday, September 9, 2021

2:00pm EDT

Are you aware there is a unique grant program dedicated to helping U.S. small businesses grow their global sales?

Please join the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of International Trade for a brief conversation with two small businesses that have utilized the State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) grant to support global sales growth.

The discussion will last approximately 20-25 minutes.  An opportunity for Q & A will be provided after the session for anyone that has additional questions and would like to stay on longer.

If you are interested in growing your global market sales and are not familiar with the STEP grant, this is a 20-minute conversation that you don’t want to miss!

To receive a weblink or call-in number to participate, please pre-register HERE and we will send you that information prior to the event.

Visit to find out if your state participates in STEP and for local contact information.

We hope you will join us and discover how a STEP grant can help take your business global. 

Hear from YOUR Local

SBA District Office

Tom Todt

Alabama District Office

Thomas (Tom) Todt, District Director

The Alabama District Office is excited to be able to share with the small business community the upcoming online learning sessions available from the Lender Relations Division, join us to learn about what funding programs are available to assist you. 


7(a) Lending Workshop - EVENT DATES AND TIMES: On the 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month.

Thursday, August 26, 2021, 10:00 am CST

Register Here


MICROLENDER MONDAYS - EVENT DATES AND TIMES: Last Monday of the month. The next event will be:

 August 30, 2021, 9:30 am & 3:00 pm CST

Register Here

Malcolm Richards

North Florida District Office

Jon Malcolm Richards, District Director


Unlocking Secrets to Small Business Success


We are using NEW innovative ways of working within our agency to serve our customer in a GREATER capacity. The SBA’s Georgia, North Florida, and South Florida District Offices are linking hands across state lines: Three District Offices; two states; pushing boundaries and producing tremendous impact! This is a first of its kind multi-state BEST practice project!! Unlocking Secrets to Small Business Success “FINDING HIDDEN REVENUE” Knowledge is power, but Strategy is King! Our hands-on interactive demonstrations are designed to help you uncover hidden strategies. We will also provide you with access to ‘CREDIBLE’ information and ‘CURRENT’ opportunities!!! If you’re a small business owner, or organization serving small business owners, needing to fill the gaps and grow, “don’t miss this opportunity!” Speakers will target services specific to the needs of our customers such as: ü Data Driven: New Potential Customer Sources (Live Demo: U.S. Census Bureau Tools) ü Creative Revenue Sources (FSBDC at FGCU will help you: Find Hidden Tax Revenue) ü Contracting Opportunities (Live Demo FSBDC at UNF PTAC: Beta SAM) ü Winning Strategies (Capture Strategies/Data) This is a collaborative exercise between the SBA’s Georgia, North Florida, and South Florida District Offices.

Date and time

Thursday, August 26, 2021

10:30am–12:30pm EDT


Register Here

Event Organizer:  Patrice Dozier,, (404) 331-0118

Gregory Hall

South Florida District Office

Gregory Hall, Acting District Director


Rural Glades County Business Owner Stays Afloat during Covid-19 with PPP Assistance

What began with his mother’s interest in making cushions for large yachts, led a Ft. Lauderdale man and his father to team up and purchase an aluminum button manufacturer in Fayetteville, Ga. and relocate their operations to the rural community of Moore Haven, Florida.

According to Maxant Aluminum Products co-owner David Reed, his mother started making cushions for large yachts and would go to various craft stores looking for different size buttons to be covered with cloth to match the fabric of the seat cushions, but sometimes couldn’t find them in stock.

When the manufacturing plant that produced the buttons became available, the father and son team decided to buy the company, which has held a patent on the manufacturing equipment used to produce the buttons since 1959.

After many years of success, the firm was also impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and was forced to lay off the company’s staff of six due limitations in obtaining the metal materials needed to manufacture buttons and keep the business afloat.

“Once we approved for our Paycheck Protection Program Loan, we were able to bring our staff back online and have them work on some manufacturing and remodeling we started prior to the pandemic."

Since then, Reed’s acquisition of a new business helped to expand their e-commerce and exporting company.

To hear more about his PPP experience, visit our Youtube Channel here.

Terri Denison

Georgia District Office

Terri L. Denison, District Director

Over the past 18 months the Georgia District Office has worked diligently to help provide needed assistance to small businesses during a challenging time. We have seen a positive impact in our communities and across the state to help make people’s lives better.

1,408,560 approvals totaling $48.25 billion in grants and low-interest loans were issued to help small businesses start, grow, expand and recover.

Even as we emerge from COVID-19, demand for our regular loan programs has increased as new businesses look to start or pivot to different business models based on need.

We have experienced increases year over year for the 7(a) program at 15.3 percent and the 504 program at 22.1 percent.

Small business owners looking for assistance may reach us at 404-331-0100, visit or follow us on Twitter @SBA_Georgia.

Robert Coffey

Kentucky District Office

Robert Coffey, District Director


Company Uses SBA 8(a), HUBZone and PPP to Grow and Survive the Pandemic


Since 1986, Grōt, Incorporated has provided electrical and IT work for building construction, industrial and commercial projects. In 2002, the company became SBA HUBZone certified. Realizing that there could be many other opportunities to grow, owner Jerry Grot contacted the Kentucky District Office to see how he could leverage SBA’s business development programs and services. 

SBA guided Jerry through the 8(a) Business Development Program application process. The company successfully received that federal certification, enabling it to diversify into general contractor work, including roofing, carpentry, demolition, design-build construction, structured cabling, CCTV and fire alarm systems.

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, construction shut down almost overnight. However, Grōt, Inc. adapted quickly and began to get back on track with contract obligations and timelines. The company implemented social distancing and the use of more personal protective equipment (PPE), like masks, to increase safety.

Grōt received a Paycheck Protection Program forgivable loan in April 2020 and a PPP Second Draw in February 2021. These funds allowed the business to keep employees on the payroll and stay current on other expenses.

Jerry stated, “The PPP was a lifeline. We wanted to keep our employees working and continue to provide them with health insurance and other benefits. Industry price spikes also hurt. The PPP allowed us to keep our team on the payroll and pay bills.”

Grōt is a recent SBA 8(a) graduate and still HUBZone certified firm by SBA. Jerry attributes much of his company’s success to both the 8(a) and HUBZone programs and encourages others to consider these programs. Jerry also stated that the guidance provided by SBA, including Kentucky Business Opportunity Specialist Cherie Guilford, was crucial to his company’s success.

Janita Stewart

Mississippi District Office

Janita Stewart, District Director


Community of Practice Webinar: 

SBA's Small Business Programs


The Small Business Administration's Mentor-Protégé Program (SBAMPP) is hosting this Community of Practice webinar.  Join to get an understanding of SBA’s 8(a); HUBZone; Mentor-Protégé; Women Owned; Service-Disabled Veterans Small Business Programs.

When:  Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Time:  1:00 pm – 2:00 pm CDT

This event is designed to introduce and provide information on our small business programs that are geared to help gain federal government contracting opportunities and business development assistance. 

Find Out from the Experts:

  • Can my business benefit from these programs?
  • What are the eligibility requirements?
  • How long can I participate in these programs? 

We will have the following Presenters:

  • 8(a) Program – Cynthia Almendarez, Business Opportunity Specialist, Division of Program Certification and Eligibility, 8(a) Program
  • HUBZone Program – Takeisha Hodge, Program Manager, HUBZone Program
  • SBA’s Mentor-Protégé Program – Kanika Perkins, Deputy Director, SBA Mentor-Protégé Program
  • Women Owned Small Business Program – Thomas McGrath, Supervisory Government Contracting Analyst, Office of Program and Resource Management Assistance
  • Service-Disabled Veterans Small Business Program – Stanley Kurtz, Veterans Affairs Specialist, Veterans Business Development

Register Here


The Link for the Day of:



For more information, please contact Tracey Ebb-Murphy at

Reminder: CAFS Accounts & PIMS Data Entry

The incoming FTA was contracted by SBA to support a migration of 7(a) program systems and applications into SBA’s Capital Access Financial System (CAFS), and the migration of systems is projected to be complete by Monday, August 30, 2021.

The FTA has requested that all users to set up a CAFS Account and update contact information to the Partner Information Management System (PIMS). This is a reminder to take the following actions:

  1. Establish a CAFS Account: A CAFS Account is required for each individual in your organization in order to access the applications and data required to do business with the SBA. Each organization will have a unique identifier called a Location ID. All CAFS Accounts must be associated with a Location ID. For instructions on how to establish a CAFS account, please use the CAFS Account Set Up Guide.
  2. Add or Update Contact Information to the Partner Information Management System (PIMS) within CAFS: Moving forward, PIMS will be the SBA’s master database for capture, maintenance, and use of contact information for ALL participants of the 7(a) loan program including Lenders, Lender Service Providers (LSPs), Pool Assemblers, Brokers / Dealers, and Investors. Colson’s 1502 Connection and 1502 Dashboard will be retired at cut-over and the associated contact lists within those applications will not be maintained. For instructions on how to access and add your information to PIMS, please reference the PIMS Instructional Guide. 

For Secondary Market Participants including Investors:

We understand that historically, SBA has not required you to have a CAFS account or a PIMS entry to do business with the SBA, and therefore the process for you is slightly different. 

  • Secondary Market Institutions (Broker Dealers, Originators, Pool Assemblers, and Investors) have been automatically added to PIMS and assigned a unique Location ID. 
  • The first person within your institution to create a CAFS Account using your institution’s Location ID will automatically be designated as an Authorizing Official (AO). The role of the AO is to approve additional CAFS accounts and system requests aligned to your institution’s Location ID. To change or add to your institution’s AO list, please email Customer Login Service (CLS) at Note: Whoever is designated as an additional AO must have an active CAFS account.   

Below are instructional resources to help you complete this request and ensure SBA can provide you and your organization timely news and updates through the transition and beyond.

Thank you for your cooperation.  Should you have any questions, please contact the FTA Customer Service at

Michael Arriola

North Carolina District Office

Michael Arriola, District Director


Recognizing Rural Entrepreneurship in North Carolina


Rural Image 1

Shifting from a career in the field of medicine, Ellen Colodney, MD desired a new profession serving the environment.  So, in 1999, she opened Wetland Plants in Edenton, North Carolina.  Colodney’s goal was to produce wetland and aquatic plants to be used for stormwater, wastewater, salt marsh, and shoreline projects.  She also saw this opportunity to establish a supply chain on the eastern United States for Native Wetland Plants.

Beginning her new horticulture career, Colodney, signed her first a contract with the N.C. Department of Transportation.  The contract required her to produce and ship a plant species that no one else in the country was growing.  Wetland Plants went on to become well known in the local construction industry because of their NCDOT contract and high-quality plants.  In fact, the company’s revenue grew at a steady pace from 1999 until 2005.  With the downturn of the economy in the 2000s, Wetland Plants profit hit a slump.

“The recession greatly slowed down the sales of our plants”, said Colodney.  “That was around the time I decided I needed a resource and guidance.”

The resource she turned to, the Elizabeth City Small Business and Technology Development Center.  Working with SBTDC counselors, Colodney gained in-depth business knowledge and was exposed to new resources for training and expert assistance areas of funding, (i.e., the Northeastern Workforce Development Board Employee Training Grant and the NC Growth Grant).

“When you’re a small business in a rural community, and in a unique field, there is not a lot of people to talk to”, said Colodney.  “It is really helpful to have someone to talk to about business in general and someone to confer with.”

Rural Image 2

Since 2015, Wetland Plants has seen a tremendous growth in profits; 40 percent between 2015 to 2018.  Production is also up, with more than 600,000 plants being sold per year.  Colodney credits her achievements to the advice she received from the SBTDC, her dedication to lean management training, and to all her employees who have learned to use and look to save money wherever possible.

More recently, Colodney, like many American small business owners, turned to the SBA for aid as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Colodney, applied for and received a first and second draw Paycheck Protection Program loan.

“I was very grateful to receive the PPP loans”, said Colodney. “I was able to keep my entire staff and operations continued to run as smoothly as possible, given the pandemic constrains, of course.”

Colodney’s dream of an environmental horticulture business not only fixed the shortage of native wetland plants in the mid-Atlantic and southeastern US filled a gap for the North Carolina coastal region but created an industry leader in stormwater management and shoreline erosion control.  Looking to the future, Colodney hopes to use the lean process to reduce waste by increasing the percentage of seed sown that result in sellable plants removing seeds that do not create sellable plants (also called eradicate germination), increase sales by 20 percent without increasing capital cost, build up shoreline control species, and, of course, capture the remaining market!

Richard White

South Carolina District Office

Richard "Gregg" White, District Director

If 2020 and 2021 taught us anything, it is that small businesses need to always be prepared for the unthinkable. Whether it’s a virus, natural disaster, or cybersecurity attack, your small business should have a disaster plan in place. This plan will describe how your small business will mitigate the effects of the disaster, how you will communicate with your customers, and how your business will continue to operate through the chaos. This Thursday, join SCORE for a webinar at noon on this topic. For more details and registration, click here.  

Can’t make the webinar? Click here for resources and checklists to prepare your small business for a variety of disasters. Remember, approximately 40 percent of small businesses do not reopen after a disaster. Make your small business isn’t one of them!

LaTanya Channel

Tennessee District Office

LaTanya Channel, District Director


“Business Development Academy (BDA)” - The next cohort starts in 2022 – Learn more now!

Would you like to join a cohort of like-minded small businesses that are seeking federal contracts?

Hosted by the Tennessee Office of Economic & Community Development (TNECD), on Monday August 23 2021, join SBA Tennessee; the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT); the US Dept. of Transportation (US DOT);  and the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to:

  • Hear how these agencies help small businesses GET READY, BE READY, & STAY READY for federal government contracts (it’s not just certification!)
  • Learn about small group training (cohort-based) for Tennessee businesses
  • Meet the graduates of the first cohorts
  • See if you are READY to join the next cohorts - to start in 2022
  • Be READY for 2021 trainings coming up now
  • Get trained on “Finding Sub-Contracting Opportunities in the Federal Government” before taking the big leap as a prime contractor

Date: Aug 23, 2021, Monday

Time: 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm Central

Where: Virtual/Online


 Register Here

Photo of two people with the following text, Women's Business Center. The SBA logo is at the bottom.

New Women’s Business Center in Memphis set to Open

SBA has expanded the number of centers where you can get help for your small business. The Grand Opening for the new Women's Business Center in Memphis, TN is set for August 23 2021 and we hope to see you there!

Please follow us on Eventbrite to see the new workshops we’ve added.