by J.D. Herman

Brays Oaks Management District, in conjunction with other area districts, will host a SBA Workshop on Thursday Nov 8. The event will be held on the HBU campus at McNair Hall, 7502 Fondren.

Do you have a great idea for a new business? Maybe you have a suggestion that improves upon an existing business model, but don’t know how to implement your new plan into your current business structure. The Small Business Administration (SBA) can help you.

The U.S. Small Business Administration makes “the American dream of business ownership a reality by empowering entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow, expand, and recover.”

The SBA helps these small businesses in 4 main areas:

  1. Providing free business advising and mentoring, plus low cost workshops through SBA resource partners SCORE, Small Business Development Centers, and the Women’s Business Center.
  2. Helping small businesses gain access to federal contracts in a variety of ways, including the 8(a) Business Development Program.
  3. Helping small businesses find the capital that is needed to start or grow.
  4. Assisting business as well as homeowners, renters, and non-profits to recover after a declared natural disaster through direct low interest loans.

The keynote speaker for the event is Mark Winchester, the Deputy District Director for the Houston district of the Small Business Administration. Mr. Winchester is a veteran of the Navy and holds an MBA from the University of Connecticut, and has decades of business and risk management experience. The workshop is a fantastic opportunity for those individuals looking to start a business, and for folks with existing businesses looking to make improvements – especially here in Houston, where 99.5% of the businesses are considered “small,” according to the SBA.

Mr. Winchester will discuss a comprehensive overview of the 4 main areas of service that the U.S SBA provides to small businesses: (1) sources of capital, (2) sources of counseling, (3) developing your business via federal contracts, and (4) disaster assistance.

Disaster assistance is of particular importance in the Brays Oaks area as so many businesses were impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Low interest loans available through the SBA are a critical tool in both recovery and expansion.

Brays Oaks Executive Director Ben Brewer noted that many businesses don’t realize that the SBA has a variety of loans available–including when disasters, like Harvey, strike. In addition, people should know there are folks through the SBA that can assist with marketing, developing a business plan, and can even vet an idea for a business – providing market research on how many businesses in a given location are doing what an entrepreneur proposes to do.

Please consider joining Mr. Winchester and other area colleagues at HBU on November 8th at SBA Workshop. Register here: