COVID-19 relief options and additional resources

Springfield Branch Manager joins SBA Illinois District team

Release Date: 
Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Small business owners in Central and Southern Illinois have a new resource to assist them in their entrepreneurial journey. Fernanda “Fhernie” Pedraza has joined the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Illinois District Office as the Springfield Branch Manager. She’ll provide resources to small business owners who are seeking assistance with government contracting opportunities, counseling, and capital to start or grow their businesses.

“I am very excited for this opportunity to work with Illinois small business owners,” Pedraza said. “SBA has resources for businesses at every stage, and I’m looking forward to helping entrepreneurs in all corners of the state access the services they need to achieve their goals.”

Pedraza will play an essential role in the agency’s increased efforts in 2020 to connect with rural entrepreneurs. To promote economic diversification and empower entrepreneurs, the SBA is working to ensure small businesses are aware of opportunities through Historically Underutilized Business Zones and Opportunity Zones. Rural small businesses may also have fewer options for conventional loans, but the SBA is working to ensure they have access to the capital they need to start, grow or expand a business.

“We’re thrilled to have a small business expert like Fhernie join the SBA Illinois District team,” said SBA Illinois District Director Robert Steiner. “She has a passion for our mission and a wealth of experience that will prove invaluable to small business owners across the state.”

Pedraza previously worked as a Business Opportunity Specialist helping small businesses with federal contracting opportunities in the SBA’s Arizona District Office for eight years. She holds a master’s degree in Global Technology and Development from Arizona State University and a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University, along with an International Studies Certificate, French and Chinese minors. Before joining SBA, Fhernie interned for the U.S. Department of State at the Embassy in Port Louis, Mauritius where she worked with the Foreign Affairs and Economic Development departments.

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