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South Florida District Office – March 2022

South Florida Newsletter – March 2022

SBA Celebrates Women’s History Month

Message from the Interim District Director J. Malcom Richards
March is Women’s History Month, a time when we collectively reflect on the achievements of Women throughout history and their contributions to humanity. At SBA, we emphasize the accomplishments of women business owners and their significant contributions to our economy and our communities. This month we celebrate women like Sarah Brazier of Liberty Academy Day Care in Miami who turned a blighted crack house into a high-quality school creating 30 jobs for people from the surrounding underserved community. And, Pilar Guzman of Half Moon Empanadas who used her voice to testify before Congress advocating for more resources for small business owners nationwide that is now known as the Community Navigators Pilot Program administered by the SBA. And, Dr. Karen Vieira founder of The MedWriters and graduate of SBA’s Emerging Leaders Program whose 8(a) company provides writing and editing services to federal government agencies including the Department of Defense and Health and Human Services. These are just a couple of the amazing women who are changing the lives of people every day with their courage, ingenuity, and leadership. As champions of small businesses for nearly 70 years, SBA applauds the women around us and throughout history who have sacrificed and taken risks to create businesses that bring life and vitality to our communities.

Virtual Business Briefing for the Women Business Community – March 16th
In celebration of Women History Month, the SBA will be hosting a Virtual Business Briefing for the Women’s Owned Community on March 16th 10:00 am-11:30am. Join us as SBA shares information about the Agency’s record-breaking achievements in small business lending to women, pandemic recovery programs, and in government contracting with small businesses throughout South Florida. Hear about the success of women and how you can become a success story, too. We will be joined by Allen Thomas, SBA’s Regional Administrator for the Southeastern Region & Interim District Director J. Malcom Richards.

Small Business Success Profile: Ramona Phillips, Phillips Concessions
Under Ramona Phillips’ leadership, Phillips Concessions has grown from a single unit food and beverage operation in 2006 to five units that include famous brands Chik-fil-a, Starbucks, and Einstein Bros. in MiamiCentral and at the Miami International Airport.

Ms. Hall began her entrepreneurial journey into food and beverage in 2005. Between 2013 and 2016, she sourced concessions opportunities and secured four locations creating several much needed jobs. The Florida State University graduate’s niche is operating within the urban core, emphasizing hiring her team from the locally surrounding underserved communities, and focusing on her employee’s soft skills development.

Once the pandemic began, like most business owners, Ms. Hall had to contend with declining sales at her existing outlets. Meanwhile, she faced challenges securing capital for expansion to open new stores. Early on, Ms. Hall was able to self-finance a portion of the expansion with business income from one of her locations with solid cash flow, but as the pandemic forced business closures her sales were impacted.

That’s when she turned to SBA and Synovus Bank which were instrumental in educating and preparing Ms. Hall for the SBA pandemic relief assistance for small businesses. She attended SBA South Florida District Office hosted webinars that helped educate small business owners on the Paycheck Protection Program and SBA Covid Economic Injury Disaster Loan and grant programs. “I knew that the pandemic financial assistance available through the SBA would be one-of-a-kind and hopefully, a once-in-a-lifetime loan, I didn’t hesitate to bring on an experienced team to help me anticipate the right financial moves,” said Ms. Hall. With her team’s help and Synovus Bank, she successfully received an SBA PPP loan to rehire 25 team members and reopen one of her locations closed at the onset of the pandemic. Ms. Hall also secured an SBA Covid EIDL which enabled her to open a new restaurant location as previously planned.

Ms. Hall continues her quest to rebuild her business after the pandemic and offers this advice to her fellow business owners: “Pivot, adapt, pivot, adapt. And, get the help you need to grow your business.” SBA offers high-quality help for women business owners through its Resource Partners which include the Women’s Business Centers.

The SBA’s Women’s Business Center Program helps women succeed in business by providing training, mentoring, business development, and financing opportunities to over 150,000 women entrepreneurs each year. Located throughout the South Florida District are: the Florida WBC in Delray Beach; weVENTURE in Melbourne; and, The Tampa Bay WBC. Reach out to one of them and get the help you need to start, grow and succeed in business!

South Florida Events Calendar
Make sure to look at our calendar for full upcoming workshops. Our resource partners are conducting workshops and events all month long.

Need help with COVID EIDL?

Join us on our webinars.

March 22nd – English at 11am

Call-in: 202-765-1264, ID 903515768#

March 24th – Spanish at 11am.
Call-in: 202-765-1264, ID 584 871 308#

If you live in South Florida, you can email us at
If your located outside of our South Florida, you can find your local office by accessing this link:

Check out our Website!

SBA South Florida District Office
Miami, Tampa, and Ft. Pierce, Florida

All SBA programs and services are provided on a nondiscriminatory basis. Reasonable accommodations will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance

Small Business Administration (SBA) · 409 3rd St, SW · Washington DC 20416 · 1-800-827-5722

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Celebrate Women Businesses with Us! 3/16/2022 at 10am