SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza today announced the appointment of six new members to the National Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) Advisory Board.

“We are delighted to welcome new board members who bring with them a strong business acumen and extensive knowledge to the SBDC Advisory Board,” said SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza.  “The SBDC Advisory Board has played an important role for 30 years in the SBDC program, advising the SBA on ways to advance and improve national and local SBDC programs and operations.  With their knowledge of the challenges business owners face and the policies governing small firms, these tested entrepreneurs and leaders will play a key role in helping to foster stronger local economies and expanding outreach to underserved communities.”

The SBDC Advisory Board is appointed to advise, counsel, and confer with the Associate Administrator of the Office of Small Business Development Centers in carrying out the SBDC program under Section 21 of the Small Business Act.

The new members of the SBDC Advisory Board are:

  • Kristen Bailey – Co-Founder and CEO of Sweets and Meats BBQ (2014), and SBA 2019 Ohio Small Business Person of the Year;
  • Lea Marquez Peterson – Appointed in 2019 as an Arizona Corporation Commissioner and President of Marquez Peterson Group;
  • Louis Foreman – Chief Executive of Enventys and Founder of Edison Nation in North Carolina, re-appointed to the SBDC Advisory Board;
  • Senator Bruce Thompson – State Senator for Georgia, U.S. Army National Guard, CEO of Quoteburst Software Solutions, Strong Tower Funeral & Crematory, BTE Holdings, and 2 Hawks Development;
  • Bertica Cabrera Morris – Born in Havana, Cuba, and owner of Bertica Cabrera Consulting in Florida since 1993; and
  • Benjamin Kwitek – Director of Innovation at University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, Board Member of IP2 (Intellectual Property, Innovation and Prosperity) at Stanford University, Founder of Gellyfish Technology, Bullet Proof Technology, My BetterSelfie, Roundabout Signs, LLC, and InterForm Incorporated

George Koklanaris, the SBA Associate Administrator of the Office of Small Business Development Centers added, “The addition of these board members and their diverse backgrounds are important to the SBDC program and the small businesses that they serve. Their collective experience as successful entrepreneurs and community leaders will help guide the SBDC program in expanding outreach to HBCUs, Opportunity Zones, rural communities, and underserved populations. Their knowledge of policies on cyber security, intellectual property, and business success is an asset to the SBDC program and the entrepreneurs they serve.”

The SBA’s SBDC program is a cooperative effort of the private sector, the educational community, and federal, state and local governments to deliver counseling, training and technical assistance in all aspects of small business management through its more than 900 centers nationwide.  SBDCs play an essential role in the economic development of their states and local communities through their direct, face-to-face counseling of small businesses.  SBDCs impact on small business access to SBA’s programs and services, including access to SBA capital, procurement, disaster assistance and international trade programs.