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Meet Jim Donato, Helping deliver SBA assistance programs in Cleveland, OH

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Meet Jim Donato, Helping deliver SBA assistance programs in Cleveland, OH

By janied
Published: May 29, 2012 Updated: May 29, 2012

When a friend or family member asks what you do to help small businesses, what do you say?

I tell that them that SBA is the small and friendly federal agency that is tasked with this big mission: to help businesses start, grow and prosper.  SBA does this through delivery of capital, contracting, and counseling assistance programs.  If their eyes begin to gloss over, I then simply mention a well-known, local small business that received SBA assistance, and the light seems to suddenly go on for them!

What’s your favorite thing about what the SBA does for small businesses?

I gained a deeper appreciation of what SBA does at the peak of the recent economic doJim Donato, Deputy District Director, Cleveland, Ohio wnturn.  Our office phones were ringing off the hook with phone calls from many businesses in distress.  Our team here in northern Ohio really stepped up to the challenge, truly assisting many of the inquirers with the help of the Agency’s capital, contracting and counseling programs.  While we could not offer solutions for everyone that called, there were many that we did help, especially with the SBA program enhancements made available through both the Recovery Act and Jobs Act.

Is there a particular small business “success story” that comes to mind when you think about how the SBA helps people?

There are far too many to mention, and singling out just one would be done at the risk of alienating all of the others.    But, given that this is National Small Business Week, our office has an opportunity to go out and visit with all of our local award winners.  This is the most enjoyable part of my job.  I continue to grow in my admiration of these and all small business owners who risk everything to pursue their passion.  Not only is the owner and their family’s livelihood tied to the business, but so is the livelihood of all of their employees and their employees’ families.  That’s quite a heavy load of responsibility, but small business owners willingly take on the challenge!

Oh, by the way, did you know that Victoria Tifft, president and CEO of Clinical Research Management Inc., of Hinckley, Ohio (located right here in northern Ohio) was just named 2012 National Small Business Person of the Year?!? 

Do you have any advice for entrepreneurs and small business owners out there?

In my mind, small business owners need passion, sufficient capital, and an ability to adapt quickly.

Anything else to add?

Consider northern Ohio as a place to start or expand your business.  This region is in the midst of an economic comeback, and SBA, along with our many economic development partners, is doing its part to assist in this revival.  Cleveland Rocks, and so does the SBA team in northern Ohio!

About the Author:


Cleveland Rocks! Love it, reminds me of the Drew Carey show. Ohio is where my family is from and it is a state that really could use some love from small businesses. If you are in the area and are interested in a small business, get out there and get it done. I would love to see Cleveland be a leader in the economic recovery moving forward.
What excellent advice. What do small business owners need to succeed? According to Jim Donato they need "passion, sufficient capital, and an ability to adapt quickly". This is excellent advice, and I think it is in the correct order as well.

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