Ashley D. Bell: Appointed White House Policy Advisor for Entrepreneurship & Innovation
A celebrated attorney and the appointed White House Policy Advisor for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Ashley D. Bell shared his advice as well as provided an insight on how the SBA helps small businesses.
Ashley D. Bell is recognized as one of America’s top 40 attorneys under 40 by the American Bar Association.
He is a political science graduate from Valdosta State University which obtained his law degree from Louisiana State University and a doctorate degree in intercultural and urban studies from Lighthouse College.
He was also a part of the 21st Century Leadership Fellowship at the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government as well as the Civil Society Fellowship of the Aspen Institute.
Before working with the government, Bell built his own small business and became an entrepreneur at the age of 22.
He then served as the special assistant in the Bureau of Public Affairs of the United States Department of State and was an assistant director for external affairs in the US Peace Corps before moving in the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) as the Regional Administrator for Region IV.
Apart from all of these, Bell also founded the law firm Bell & Washington and the national organization dedicated to criminal justice reform, 20/20 Bipartisan Justice Center.
ALL ABOUT SBA PROGRAMS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
Firstly, the SBA’s 8a program’s strategy is broken into three pieces all throughout the validity of the nine-year program.
Their goal is to cater everybody who has a contract from year one to three but if there are businesses who haven’t gotten any contract yet, they are given a mentor who is also part of the program and in the same industry as theirs.
“We try to get businesses certified in one of those avenues and then use those certifications to take that preference to contractors and offer scopes of work that our businesses have and fight for them to get these contracts.”
Then, the SBA also has its disaster loans assistance in order to provide disaster relief to small businesses, to the public, and to personal entities whenever the President declares a national disaster.
“I think that’s very important for people to know. We’re the first place to go in the event of a national disaster for getting access to capital in a quick fashion.”
Most importantly, if you are in need for a loan, you need to visit the SBA and check if you can qualify for an SBA loan first before going directly to banks.
“Even though they may not understand completely how your business works, they may not have someone who’s an expert on how your marketing is going, and how you’re creating revenue. What they do know is that 75% of that loan all of a sudden became guaranteed, and they’re in a less risky position to take a risk on you. So, SBA is critical, especially for those new businesses entering newer markets.”
ADVICE FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
If you are interested in building your own business and want to dive in the federal marketplace, you should communicate directly with the SBA, your local Small Business Development Centers or Procurement Technical Assistance Centers, or with SCORE (a non-profit organization funded through a cooperative agreement with SBA) because these organizations provide free advice and mentorship.
This is also the same case if you don’t know how to register in the System for Award Management database or in any government certified sites for contractors. You don’t have to pay third-party businesses on the Internet because the said organizations will just do this for free.
“If you are thinking about taking your great talents, this great recipe, this great work you do as an architect, lawyer, teacher, trainer, and you want to take that to the marketplace, don’t do it alone. If you don’t have an MBA, you’ve got the SBA. Just give us a call. We’ll be glad to help you.”
If you want to watch the full video of the interview with Ashley D. Bell as he shared his insights and advice from the SBA’s perspective, then be sure to click the links below:
012: Ashley D. Bell – Region IV Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration
Ashley D. Bell – White House’s policy adviser on entrepreneurship and innovation
White House’s policy adviser on entrepreneurship and innovation Ashley D. Bell