White House-Appointed Official Visits Memphis to Aid Small Business Owners

US SBA Regional Administrator Ashley Bell will speak at TSBDC’s federal contracting summit July 31 at Southwest Tennessee Community College.

For more information, contact: Diana Fedinec, Director of Public Relations and Media (901) 333-4247 

Aspiring and emerging small business owners are invited to meet Regional Administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Ashley Bell and learn about free help and certifications available through SBA and its largest funded program, Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), during the Drive 8(a) Memphis Federal Government Contracting Summit, 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., July 31, at Southwest Tennessee Community College’s Macon Cove Campus Bert Bornblum Library, 5983 Macon Cove. 

Bell was appointed by the White House on February 21, 2018, to serve as Regional Administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration for Region IV encompassing nine districts located in the eight Southeastern States of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Bell has oversight of over $5 billion in SBA-backed lending, the Counseling arm of the SBA, which counseled over 225,000 entrepreneurs last year in Region IV, and the contracting programs for small business, which account for over 23% of all federal contracts awarded.

Tennessee Small Business Development Center (TSBDC) Executive Director Rory Thomas said Bell’s visit will give attendees the opportunity to learn from his expertise and ask specific questions about 8(a) program requirements. “This is the first time Mr. Bell will visit Memphis,” said Thomas. “We are excited to hear about Mr. Bell’s vision for small business owners and the 8(a) program that is geared toward our underserved entrepreneurs.” Thomas said the TSBDC has assisted numerous small businesses that grew and created hundreds of jobs thanks to the 8(a) program.

To help provide a level playing field for small businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged people or entities, the government limits competition for certain contracts to businesses that participate in the 8(a) Business Development program.  The 8(a) program lasts for nine years and provides business training, counseling, marketing and technical assistance to small businesses that have been certified. The goal of the program is to have 8(a) firms graduate and thrive in a competitive business environment.

Attendees will learn 8(a) eligibility requirements, various small business certifications, business development strategies and how to market to the government buyer.  The summit also will include a panel discussion with 8(a) graduates from the Memphis area.

The summit is free and open to the public; registration is encouraged. Register online at TSBDC.org.  For more information, visit www.tsbdc.org/swtcc or call 901-333-5085.