The St. Louis District Office started 2012 in a new office. We are now located in the RAY Federal Building, 1222 Spruce Street, Suite 10.103, St. Louis, MO 63103. Fortunately, we were able to keep our previous phone numbers and email addresses, so contacting us did not change except for personal visits.
Unfortunately, two members of our staff are no longer with us as Lorraine McKinney, prior Lead Lender Relations Specialist, retired on December 31, 2012 and Larry Cresswell, prior Lender Relations Specialist, departed on February 11, 2012 to join a local bank to start an SBA lending department. We have requested permission to fill these two vacancies and will post them on www.usajobs.gov once approval is received.
So far this year the staff has remained busy by visiting small businesses; training lending partners; hosting entrepreneurial events; counseling departing and returning veterans; making presentations at chambers of commerce; and various other activities. We have also coordinated teleconferences between our Washington, D.C. Office of Capital Access and our lending partners so that we may improve our loan products via direct feedback from our lenders. Some of the more significant events in which we have participated the past few months included an Economic Development & Grant Training Workshop hosted by Senator Clair McCaskill at the University of Missouri – St. Louis; the 14th Annual Regional Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Conference at the Center for Emerging Technologies in St. Louis; The Stars of Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Client Showcase events hosted by the Small Business and Technology Development Centers in Jefferson City; a Black History Month Presentation on Entrepreneurship at Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis; and the kick-off meeting of the new combined $1.8 million “St. Louis Bioscience Innovation and Jobs Accelerator Challenge” grant from the SBA and the Departments of Commerce and Labor.
We will soon be starting our second year of the “e200 Emerging Leaders Training” in St. Louis that is an intensive training program designed to help high potential, qualified small businesses develop strategies to grow, acquire financing, access new markets, and leverage networking (there is more on this program in a separate article in this newsletter). We are also forging a partnership with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to provide free training to small businesses on Civil Rights, Age Discrimination, Equal Pay and Disabilities Act requirements, and other laws and policies that may affect businesses with 15 or more employees.
So stay tuned as we continue our efforts to help small businesses start, grow, and succeed as well as retain harmony with Federal regulatory agencies so that they may become or remain an economic force in our communities.