SBA Regional Administrator Ashley D. Bell & Rapper, Entrepreneur Tip “T.I.” Harris Reached over 100,000 Entrepreneurs Across the South

SBA Regional Administrator Ashley D. Bell & Rapper, Entrepreneur Tip “T.I.” Harris Reached over 100,000 Entrepreneurs Across the South

May 22, 2020

Fri, 05/22/2020 – 13:41

Goal was met in reaching 100k minority entrepreneurs to discuss COVID-19 Recovery opportunities


ATLANTA – Yesterday evening, May 20th at 6:00 p.m. ET, Ashley D. Bell, SBA Regional Administrator and Entrepreneurship Policy Advisor for the White House Opportunity & Revitalization Council and Tip “T.I.” Harris, rapper, entertainer, and entrepreneur hosted a successful call for entrepreneurs across the South. The call addressed opportunities for recovery for historically distressed communities which have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. They successfully reached over 109,000 callers last night and had a reach of millions via social media outlets.

Tip “T.I.” Harris says, “This call was important to do because I believe it’s critical for us to be informed and get better educated on what we can do, how to do it and where to go to get it done, especially during times of crisis.  I simply did what I do best and that is connect the people with the information.”

The audience on the call received a great deal of information including hearing from local and state elected officials representing their constituents, lenders and experts in the financial fields including Eddie George, Wealth Management Specialist and retired NFL player. John Hope Bryant, Founder & CEO of Operation Hope moderated a conversation with chamber leaders, church leadership and non-profits to discuss the importance of these pillars on our communities and the importance of access to recovery capital for them. Entrepreneurs and small business counselors talked about their tickets to success.

“50% of black business owners have 0-10 days of working capital, but do not have access to traditional banking facilities. Without this critical link to funding and opportunities and amidst the COVID-19 crisis, an entire generation of minority entrepreneurs could be lost,” says Ashley D. Bell, SBA Regional Administrator. “Our goal with 100,000 Strong is to organically reach entrepreneurs throughout the underserved communities of the South by working with the great support of speakers we had on this call.”


Please coordinate media interviews and for a complete list of speakers, please contact Lola Kress, SBA Regional Communications Director, (404) 330-4737 or 

About the U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit

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Spotlight on Commerce: Gabriela Morales, Senior Business Development Specialist

Spotlight on Commerce: Gabriela Morales, Senior Business Development Specialist

March 26, 2020

Thu, 03/26/2020 – 12:53

Guest blog post by Gabriela Morales, Senior Business Development Specialist, Minority Business Development Administration (MBDA)

I am excited to have the opportunity to be featured during Women’s History Month. 

I am a Senior Business Development Specialist at the Commerce Department’s Minority Business Development Agency.  My job is to ensure minority-owned firms have adequate skills, tools, resources, and training to sell their products and services globally. Knowing there are 11 million Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) nationwide, I come to work every day with a sense of urgency to make a difference and move the needle for business owners who are ready to expand to global markets.   

My job and our client approach is ever-evolving as businesses and business trends continue to change from day-to-day. This part of the job is the most fulfilling as it makes it interesting and provides a constant push for me to develop an innovative, solutions-oriented approach to accomplish the MBDA mission. There is, however, a constant facet of the job, which is a keen sense of duty and civil service to my country. That, and a sound work ethic, is what I have learned since my early days from my strongest nucleus, my family.

Unlike most people, I was raised by my grandmother. She was not only an extraordinary role model in my life, but her legacy continues to drive me today and serve as a positive impact in my life. Although small in physique, she was grand in spirit with an incomparable character. She instilled in me a great sense of duty and to seek purpose in life. She ensured that the little I had was shared with others and encouraged me to seek ways to stop unfair treatment of others and to work towards contributing to the betterment of this world and develop an ability to inspire others to do the same. And yes, she also prepared me for the realities I’d face being a woman in a gender-biased world.

Given that I was fortunate to learn these valuable life-skills at an early age and have had the ability to put this to practice in my professional life, I purposefully continue to pay it forward. I do so by encouraging other women to continue to achieve their goals and break stereotypes and help those women that have not been given a level playing field.

In particular, I have mentored Latinas who have applied to the Georgetown Global Executive Masters in Business Administration Program and have coached them on how to present their personal statements, assisted with drafting their biographies and advising them on the best ways to highlight their accomplishments. By being graduate of this program myself, I pass on my knowledge and experience in navigating this arduous process.

My advice for young women seeking to develop their professional careers in business and STEM-related jobs is to always think outside of the box. To know that they have the power to create the new normal and that no stereotype defines them. And also to have fun while doing it.

Ed. note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series highlighting the contributions of Department of Commerce women during Women’s History Month.


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