CSLC hosts SBA Community Navigation Pilot Program (CNPP)

(L-R) Veronique Thomas, SBA marketing and outreach specialist; Ashley Donerson, SBA deputy district director; Allen Thomas, SBA regional administrator; Janita Stewart, MS SBA district director, Beulah Greer, CSLC executive director and Leslie Greer, CSLC founder and board president photos by Jackie Hampton

By Jackie Hampton,


Mississippi’s Small Business Administration Community Navigation Pilot Program (CNPP) held a media event  Dec. 1, 2022. It was hosted by and held at the Community Student Learning Center (CSLC) located at 333 Yazoo Street in Lexington, MS.

SBA Regional Administrator Allen Thomas was there to meet, tour and see some of the small business owners and businesses that were being helped by CNPP.

CNNP is a federally funded program that helps the SBA engage with states, local governments, SBA resource partners and other organizations in targeted outreach for small businesses in underserved communities” (sba.gov). 

Lexington Mayor Robin McCrory welcomed guests to the event and to the city.

Allen, whose home base is in Atlanta, stated he is very appreciative of the work that is being done in the navigation pilot program and local trusted partners are very instrumental in assisting with planting seeds that will multiply in getting resources in the right hands of those that need help. 

Others that accompanied Thomas and spoke about their roles included SBA Mississippi District Director Janita Steward, Deputy Director Ashlei Donerson, and Specialist Outreach and Marketing Veronique Thomas. They were there to visit businesses   and hear success stories.

Lucretia Holmes, a grant project manager spoke briefly regarding implementation of a grant which serves elementary, middle and high school students in Holmes County.  She said the grant she is managing focusses on teaching students about good character, conflict resolution and how to avoid violence.

The group visited two business owners in Lexington that had success stories to share.

One was Holmes County native Kalyn D. Davis of KT Home Construction LLC. Davis said he was literally shocked when CSLC, SBA MS CNPP Projector Director Antwan Clark told him he had been approved for a $100,000 low interest business loan.

Davis gives God credit for blessing him with the loan and all other blessings that have been coming his way. He and his KT Home Construction, LLC team are looking forward to their first major historic government contract to be constructed in the Mississippi Delta. 

Holmes County native and disabled Vietnam War Veteran Leonard Hampton has been in business since 1972. The owner of Harvesters Enterprise, LLC said he started his first business, Soul Scissors Barber Shop, on Lynch Street in Jackson, MS with only $341 in the bank. “Being a business owner is a struggle” he said, “but you have to keep moving along.”

Harvesters Enterprise, LLC leases office space in Lexington and due to COVID-19 one of his tenants had to close his business in 2020.

Hampton heard about the Community Navigator Pilot Program, operated by the Community Students Learning Center via one of its Spoke partners, Henry Luckett of Knowledge Info, LLC.

Hampton was determined to keep his business open and applied for two grants. He was approved for both and used the funds to renovate the vacated space.

When asked about his business since he received the grants he said, “It’s moving along; the grants were a God-send.”

Stewart was very pleased with the entire event. In a letter addressed to CSLC Executive Director Greer, Stewart said, “Thanks for accomodating and being such gracious host.”

Stweart said it was evident that CSLC was truly embedded in the community of Lexington and surrounding areas. She encouraged Greer to continue the good work of helping small businesses and entrepreneurs.

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