COVID-19 relief options and additional resources

Blessed and Highly Favored Cuisine

After Scottie Johnson retired from the U.S. Army after 26 years of service in field artillery, he wanted to do something completely different. Because he loved cooking, he graduated from Culinary Arts School so he and his wife could start their own private chef service. Today, he’s an award-winning chef, author and owner of Blessed and Highly Favored Cuisine LLC. The company brings gourmet dinners to the comfort of their client’s home or business in Kathleen, Georgia.

Scottie first learned about the SBA through his wife Lowanda and a friend who was very familiar with SBA programs and services. He was able to align himself with other veteran entrepreneurs through the Boots to Business class, an entrepreneurial education and training program for transitioning service members and their spouses. The program is offered through SBA’s resource partner the Georgia Veterans Business Outreach Center.

Scottie said Boots to Business helped him learn about how available resources, demographics and the economy could help his small business efforts. “This class helped me figure out my product services cost and how to make it valuable in the market,” Scottie said. “If it’s not of any value then it will not sell. Self-worth is very important and once you figure that part out then you can expand your worth throughout the market.”

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, Scottie also looked to the SBA for disaster assistance. “SBA provided money to help with employee pay, equipment and marketing costs during a time that it was needed. SBA helped with grants, loans, business locations and business ideas,” he said.

Scottie encourages other small business owners to be diligent when searching for sources of capital and to utilize SBA resources such as the Georgia Veterans Business Outreach Center to help them grow and expand their business.

“Know your business’ worth. Also calculate what it would cost to run the business with employees, equipment, marketing and any other areas needed. Find out the benefits of SBA and use all it provides to your advantage,” he said. “Trust in yourself, know your worth, see your route and run it!”