By Deniece Griffin
On June 14th, SBDC’s Small Business Fuel Show host Paul Wilson sat down with Ashley D. Bell who currently serves as the entrepreneurship Policy Advisor for the White House Opportunity and revitalization Council and is the SBA Regional IV Administrator. In his policy advisor role, Ashley is responsible for recommending policy to assist America’s underserved communities.
During this 20-minute interview, the two discussed various topics of interest to small business owners wishing to sustain and strengthen their businesses and therefore grow our economy.
Having an accomplished career in Law, social and civic engagement along with serving the country in this prestigious role at the White House, Mr. Bell is an entrepreneur himself and it’s apparent in the desire he brings to this appointment. With six business startups under his belt in his career, he knows what it is like to have an idea in your head and a dream in your heart. He started his first business when he was only 21 year of age in Gainesville, GA.
Our challenging times with this pandemic and the disaster loan environment was at the forefront of the conversation. Mr. Bell covered many details of how his office supports business owners.
The Cares Act was passed in both houses of Congress to help businesses during this pandemic. The Payroll Protection Program (PPP), an icon piece of legislation – according to Mr. Bell, just this past week, the results of this program is that 2.5 million jobs were created last week for the month. It’s a public and private partnership between banks and get the money out directly to those businesses who need help. There is $130 billion remains in the program today and he recommends that people come to the SBDC for technical assistance and to apply. He also urges employers to use the Payroll Flexible Act – now you have more flexibility to cover our payroll and to pay business bills. It’s a critical piece of the puzzle to get people back on the road to recovery.
Mr. Bell stressed that they want to makes sure business owners know that the SBA can help them access capital to recover and grow their businesses with:
- PPP Loans / Grants
- Disaster Loans
- SBA 50478
The two also discussed how important it is that the SBA is using a grassroots approach by visiting various communities to find out what is working and not working in the program to make improvements. They have a community driven – results driven perspective. Listening from the ground level to create policy change. He pledged to meet you where you are with policy advisors in the field able to advise.
In parting, the host asked if there were any parting advise he would like to share with entrepreneurs:
- Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow. You just have to always be thinking about what’s going to happen next – fundamentally changing.
- How can you use technology to best benefit you and your business.
- The market place is changing.
- Think about how to expand your business.
- Technology can make or break your business
Final words from Mr. Bell…let’s help America recover.
Visit SBDC’s website for additional information on the above mentioned programs offered by SBA along with their course offerings.