Small Business Salon featured U.S. Small Business Administration Regional Administrator

ST. PETERSBURG — On May 15, Cassius Butts, the Regional Administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration, participated in a meeting with local leaders and led a “Small Business Salon.” It included an expert panel of small business and lending experts who engaged more than 50 small business owners from south St. Petersburg and throughout the Tampa Bay area.

The first event in a series to be held quarterly was planned by the City of St. Petersburg’s Urban Affairs Division and Greenhouse, the Tampa Bay Black Business Investment Corporation, Shahra Anderson Regional Director for U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, and the 2020 Plan Task Force.

Over 120 participants discussed ways to increase the number of entrepreneurs who access capital and capacity-building resources throughout the Tampa Bay region and specifically in the 25-square mile south St. Petersburg community (an area that stretches from the Skyway and Pinellas Point areas to Central Avenue and the University of South Florida corridor downtown).

Administrator Butts, who was appointed by President Obama in 2011 to lead an eight-state region, has led three record-breaking years for SBA lending, making nearly $12 billion in SBA-backed loans to small businesses.

Salon panelists included: Albert Lee, President, Tampa Bay Black Business Investment Corporation; Brian Lamb, President, Fifth Third Bank; Dr. Cynthia Johnson, Director, Small Business Development Center at Pinellas County; Kenneth D. Pratt, Senior Vice President, Florida Bankers Association; Eric Sharpe, Business Banking Manager, Southwest Florida/Pinellas County, Wells Fargo; and Gypsy C. Gallardo, CEO, The 2020 Plan and moderator of the event.

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