By Cianna Hope Reeves,
JSU Student Intern,
Small companies are the bulk of the economy and as entrepreneurship continues to rise in modern society, guidance in knowing how to create and operate a long-lasting business is vital.
In an effort to provide direction for self-made brands and aspiring capitalists in the rural south, Regional Administrator Ashley Daniel Bell of Small Business Administrator (SBA) hit the road to the nine southern district SBA offices to lecture to a crowd of young and old risktakers ready to jumpstart their career – Mississippi’s District Office was one location he visited.
At the regional SBA’s Open House, attendees heard about Bell’s inspiring story of success, learned more about the services offered by SBA and interacted with lenders, resource partners and small local business owners throughout the capital area.
“We wanted to coordinate the open house as an outreach event because there are many people who want to start a business or expand their businesses all over the state. With Mississippi being rural, it is important for us to make certain our programs and services are dispersed throughout rural vicinities within the state,” said Janita Stewart, event coordinator and SBA district director.
As an independent agency of the federal government, SBA is committed to making strides to eliminate common struggles for desired and current business owners by providing financial support, access to capital, contracting, protecting the interest of small companies, business counseling and collaborating with start-ups.
To prevent the absence of sufficient funding from lenders and having an unsteady source of income in rural places, Bell announced the partnership with Region IV SBA and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to host events that would provide opportunities for minuet businesses to thrive through an initiative Rural Strong launching October 2018.
He spoke on the strategy’s purpose.
“At cobranded events in rural parts of the states, we are going to identify where we have the least part amount of activity, what we could do better, and which counties could get more SBA loans,” stated Bell.
Not only will Rural Strong target the inclination of start-ups but also boost the presence of current businesses in the countryside across all nine districts.
“We will also look at how we can help existing businesses in rural areas become stronger and what counseling services we could offer them by the partnership with USDA who has developed a stronger brand over the years. We believe by collaborating, we could get the word out better and dig a little deeper,” said Bell.
Given that business seekers may not have the financial stability to start their company and lenders are dismissing self-employed individuals for loans, Bell stated the initiative will also bridge the relationship between lenders and loan-seekers.
“There’s this perception that you have to do well in order to get a loan, I see that there is a want out there for people to have their own businesses, and this initiative is all about bringing the banks to the people,” he stated.
In addition to expressing SBA’s commitment to support individuals who are interested in becoming their own boss, the Bell & Washington Law Firm co-founder also educated attendees on the steps to take to attain their objective.
“The longer you wait to figure out what you need to know, the more money you are going to waste. In those instances where you don’t know where to go, that’s what SBA is here for – to educate you on how to get your business running and thriving, because every day that you don’t know something critical to business, you are losing money” expressed Bell.
Bell closed with a lingering statement that could transform the mindset of many businessmen and women in a room full of ideas and opportunities.
“The more time you spend on planning your business before you start, the more likely you will be successful,” he said.