Imagine an education event to provide small business owners an opportunity to really learn the insights on how to finance their enterprise.
STEPPING UP TO BUSINESS is a conference targeting small business owners and entrepreneurs that will bring together banking, finance, economic, and accounting experts in one place to provide face–to-face mentoring on how to fund your path to success.
This event took place March 16, 2011 at the Cobb Galleria Centre.
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STEPPING UP TO BUSINESS is a conference targeting small business owners and entrepreneurs that will bring together banking, finance, economic, and accounting experts in one place to provide face–to-face mentoring on how to fund your path to success. The event is being organized by the Small Business Finance Institute, a non-profit business education enterprise based in Atlanta, GA. This event will be held on Wednesday, March 16, 2011 at the Cobb Galleria Centre.
This educational event will provide an unprecedented opportunity for attendees to learn how to better finance their enterprise. The day-long conference will feature seasoned speakers, workshops, resource materials, one-to-one business counseling, and a panel discussion with Q&A with specialists from many financial markets who have many years’ experience working with small business. You will learn about:
- Best practices for presenting deals to funders with a well-written business plan
- Actual insights on how lenders / investors evaluate your proposal
- How to improve understanding of financial statements and cash flow planning
- Proven strategies to find funding sources including angel investors, SBA loans, working capital finance and micro loans
This full-day of learning will provide choices of attending 4 workshops (selected from 8 options) and other activities that will greatly enhance your financial education. The event will be suitable for businesses in all stages of development, from start-up to venture funded enterprises.
General Session begins the conference with a powerful keynote address by a prominent financial expert, who will discuss “Efforts to Stabilize Capital Markets.”
Financial+Triage will be offered in one-on-one business counseling sessions where
business owners will meet with experienced experts to discuss your specific financial situation and identify challenges and opportunities. You are encouraged to bring business plans and financial information to accelerate counseling discussions and optimize results. Appointments can be reserved in advance online and on the day of the event.
Workshops will be presented to teach specific financial skill sets such as:
- Business cash flow planning and management
- How to build a successful business plan and loan proposal
- The basics of business financial statements
- SBA financial assistance programs
- Accessing angel capital investors
- Working capital financing alternatives
- Micro loans and alternative financing options
- Bootstrapping into business with little or no money
Lunch & Learn program will provide attendees with a panel discussion on the state of small business financing from the perspectives of an experienced investor, a seasoned small business lender, and a leading economist.
Exhibitors include banks, lenders, finance companies, accountants, attorneys, consultants, and other small business service providers who will have the opportunity to meet small business owners face-to-face.
Matchmaking happy hour will close the event where small business owners and entrepreneurs can network directly with lenders, financiers, and investors.
The Small Business Finance Institute (SBFI.org) is non-profit business education enterprise with the mission of improving access to funding for small business owners and entrepreneurs. SBFI was founded by veteran Atlanta banker Charles H. Green Charles H. Green.
Requests for additional information may be directed to .
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|8:00 am||Registration Opens|
|8:00||Financial+Triage Counseling* with GMEN|
|9:00||General Session | Brief introduction of agenda and instructors
Keynote Speaker | Kent Gregoire
Workshop Session #1 (choose 1)
a. Start a Business With No Money–Bootstrapping to Success
b. Writing a Successful Business Plan / Financing Proposal
c. Financial Statements 101
d. SBA Loan Programs
|12:00||Lunch & Learn–Panel Discussion “The State of Small Business Financing”
Ashish Bahl, AccuLynk
Paula Tkac, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
Samantha Workman, SunTrust
Workshop Session #2 (choose 1)
a. Writing a Successful Business Plan / Financing Proposal
b. Strategies to Finance Working Capital
c. Micro-Finance Alternatives | Not Just for Micro-Businesses
|2:30||Exhibition Hall Opens|
Workshop Session #3 (choose 1)
a. Managing Business Cash Flow
b. SBA Loan Programs
c. Navigating for Angel Capital
|5:00||Matchmaking Happy Hour|
* Business Counseling is provided free of charge by Georgia Micro Enterprise Network staff to anyone, regardless of whether you are registered for the conference. Counseling is first come, first serve, subject to prior appointments.
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Financial Statements 101
Many new and experienced entrepreneurs have difficulty digesting vital information from financial statements. While prospective lenders or investors carefully evaluate and critically interpret these results, business owners often do not understand their own financial metrics.
This workshop will be led by an experienced certified public accountant who has focused a professional practice in the small business sector for many years. Participants will take away the following information:
- How to understand a balance sheet and income statement and an explanation of each component
- How to correlate between the two reports comprising a financial statement
- How to interpret your financial position from this information
Managing Business Cash Flow
Many early stage as well as experienced entrepreneurs have difficulty accurately forecasting the cash flows in their business operations, often subjecting them to severe financial pressure. Even after identifying how their money flows, bridging the gaps to meet working capital needs is another challenge often requiring an external source of funds.
This workshop will be led by an experienced certified public accountant who has focused a professional practice in the small business sector for many years. Participants will take away the following information:
- How to calculate the cash flow implications of your revenue stream or projections
- Strategies to manage working capital gaps in your cash flow
- Evaluating sources of external working capital financing
Micro-Finance Alternatives–Not Just for Micro-Businesses
There are many new, emerging financing sources that are delivered in smaller quantities: microloans. Originally created to ensure financing access to start-up or micro businesses, many larger businesses are tapping these funds as more resources become available. Most are not as restrictive about the size of their recipients and are available to established businesses with smaller needs.
This workshop will be led by experienced lenders who have assisted hundreds of small business owners of all sizes to access the financing products available today in the micro-finance market. Participants will take away the following information:
- The resources available through various microloan programs
- How to apply for microloans and the lender’s expectations
- Where to find microloans in metro Atlanta and Georgia
Navigating for Angel Capital
Many business owners prefer to finance their business with equity rather than debt. By conceding some ownership and control, they lower their personal risk with a partner rather than debt capital. Angel investors have become an increasingly important source of capital for entrepreneurial companies. This session will focus on the suitability of using angel financing and will provide an overview this means of raising capital.
This workshop will be led by an experienced angel investor/corporate attorney who has participated in numerous early-stage financings. Participants will take away the following information:
- Venture financing market, types and strategies
- Angel financing process and pre-financing requirements
- Do’s and don’ts of raising angel capital
- Company valuation and deal terms
SBA Loan Programs
The U.S. Small Business Administration is a federal agency that has assisted small business enterprises for more than 50 years. Their most celebrated accomplishment has been to connect millions of entrepreneurs to reasonable financing through one of their many loan guaranty programs. This session will focus on the two most popular programs: the 7(a) loan guaranty program, and the CDC/504 loan program.
This workshop will be led by two experienced SBA lenders who have each helped hundreds of business owners successfully obtain SBA guaranteed financing. Participants will take away the following information:
- An explanation of the 7(a) and 504 Programs
- The qualifications required for SBA financing assistance
- Information on other SBA options for specific industries and policy goals
Strategies to Finance Working Capital
Nothing puts pressure on small business owners faster than success. Higher inventory turnover, greater production demands, and rapidly increasing sales require more capital investment to grow. External working capital financing sources are available to many business sectors to provide funding for growth.
This workshop will be led by experienced working capital financiers that have worked with hundreds of businesses. Participants will take away the following information:
- A definition of asset-based lending, factoring, and receivable financing
- An understanding of cash flow advance strategies
- The costs vs. opportunities of external financing of your working capital
Writing a Successful Business Plan / Loan Proposal
In a crowded world of mass communications, small business owners sometimes find it difficult to “tell their story” when initiating a search for financing. Knowing what is important to a lender or investor, how to effectively describe your opportunity, and how to quantify your goals and the funds it will require to achieve them are key elements to successfully negotiating with lenders and investors.
This workshop will be led by an experienced advisor who has assisted hundreds of small business owners in organizing their information and successfully obtaining business financing. Participants will take away the following information:
- Key components to include in your plan / proposal
- How to develop an executive summary that captures your business story
- The financial data that is essential to include in any proposal
Bootstrapping to Success–Starting a Business With Little or No Money
The path to starting a new business is changing as rapidly as the global economy. Many former cost barriers have been broken with new ideas and new technologies. While starting up with no money might be a challenge (depending on the type of business), there are some real world examples of entrepreneurs building their way up with as little as $150.
This workshop will be led by an experienced entrepreneurial mentor who has worked with hundreds of start-up businesses. Participants will take away the following information:
- How to separate business needs from personal wants
- How imagination can lower your hard business start-up costs
- How to eliminate start-up business costs
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Financial+Triage will offer free business financial counseling in one-on-one sessions where business owners will meet with experts to discuss your specific situation. Experienced business counselors from Georgia Micro Enterprise Network will be available to meet with you to provide valuable feedback on your business. Counseling hours are 8:00 am – 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm.
Bring your business plan, financial statements, and other pertinent information to accelerate discussions and optimize results.
Appointments can be made in advance online or on the day of the event.
Please note – Business Counseling is provided free of charge by Georgia Micro Enterprise Network staff to anyone, regardless of whether you are registered for this conference. Counseling is first come, first serve, subject to prior appointments.
Request an Appointment
All appointments will be confirmed via email or telephone approximately one week before conference.
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Michael Blake is Director of Valuation Services at Habif, Arogeti & Wynne, LLP. He has fifteen years of valuation experience including transaction support, intellectual property appraisals, fair value accounting, litigation, and valuations for securitiesâ€related engagements. He also has five years of experience in managing and performing assignments on FAS 123(R), stock option and warrant valuation, FAS 133, hedging instrument valuation, FAS 141/141(R), purchase price allocation and FAS 142/144, goodwill and longâ€lived asset impairment testing.
Michael’s valuation experience includes information technology, medical devices, healthcare drug development, restaurants, computer hardware, electronic entertainment, telecommunications, broadcasting, alternative energy, publishing, business services, ecommerce and Internetâ€driven services, aerospace, paper & timber, beverage, media, manufacturing, and private equity.
Michael received his Bachelor’s Degree, Cum Laude, in Economics and French from Franklin & Marshall College and his Masters of Business Administration Degree from Georgetown University. Michael is the coâ€founder and coâ€host of StartupLounge.com, an online podcast and forum resource for entrepreneurs and private company investors. He was a Nominee Finalist for the 2009 Turknett Foundation Leadership Character Award and a Nominee Finalist for the 2009 TechAmerica Spirit of Endeavor Award. Michael was named to the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 2009 Up and Comers List for the top 40 executives under the age of 40. Michael’s professional and academic affiliations include:
- Chartered Financial Analyst Institute
- Phi Beta Kappa
- Atlanta Society of Financial Analysts
- Georgia Tech/Emory TI:GER Advisory Boar
- American Finance Association
- Americanâ€Israel Chamber of Commerce
- American Society of Appraisers
- Ukrainianâ€American Chamber of Commerce
LISA S. JONES
Lisa S. Jones is the Founder and Chief EyeMail Officer of EyeMail Inc. She is responsible for integrating audio and video technology, to bring traditional email communications to life. Under her leadership, she directs and oversees the strategic roadmap and development of the corporation, to include management of the international expansion and distributorship of the EyeMail brand worldwide. Recent additions to the brand include to EyeMail Canada and EyeMail Brazil and next release scheduled to be EyeMail Africa.
Lisa has received several awards and honors recognizing her many accomplishments. She is an Emerging Business Honoree for Women in Technology. She is the winner of Season 1 of the CBS Show, The Next Tycoon. Jones was selected into Microsoft Corporation Mentor ProtÃ©gÃ© Program and also recognized as the 1st African-American Woman Owned Technology Company to participate in Microsoft’s Incubation Program. EyeMail recently received the prestigious Stevie Award in New York, as the recipient of the Innovator of the Year Award. Lisa is rapidly emerging as a trailblazer for women owned technology companies on the rise, specializing in email and online media innovation. She is a native of Montgomery, Alabama, Jones received both her Bachelor of Science Degree and M.B.A from Alabama A&M University.
DANIEL A. SHMALO
Daniel A. Shmalo, P.C. is the co-founder of 360 Venture Law (Shmalo Lang) LLP, a specialized law firm working with start-up and fast-growing entrepreneurial companies and their investors. Dan practices in the areas of corporate law, private securities offerings, mergers and acquisitions, investment fund formation, business contracts, and technology licensing. Dan began his career as an attorney with Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP and with Holland & Knight, LLP. In a past life, he was a financial consultant with two of the nation’s leading investment banks, and held various securities and insurance licenses. Dan is a member of the State Bar of Georgia (Corporate and TechnologyLaw Sections) and the American Bar Association and lives in Atlanta with his wife Erin and their 1.5 year old twins Brandon and Emily.
Recent Legal Matters:
- Represented group in management buy-out of telecommunication services firm from public company parent.
- Represented consulting firm in spin-off of Swedish subsidiary.
- Represented merchant card loyalty marketing company in recapitalization transaction with national private equity firm.
- Represented web-hosting provider is sale to national leader in industry.
- Represented specialty pigment manufacturer in the acquisition of South African affiliate.
- Represented investment management firm in multi-step reorganization and employee equity transaction.
- Represented vendor management and compliance company in Series D Preferred financing.
- Represented strategy consulting firm in sale to an international publicly traded telecommunications company.
- Represented enterprise software development company in sale to a Fortune 50 company.
- SERIS, the Southeastern Regional Internet Society, Past President.
- Georgia Technology Transfer Group, a GECA sub-committee, member.
- Georgia Bowlâ„¢ MBA business plan competition at The University of Georgia, Judge.
- Guest-lecturer at University of Georgia, Georgia Institute of Technology.
- Coach to a venture capital team from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University.
- Host committee for the 2004 Georgia Technology Summit, member
- TechLINKS Community contribution award March 2004, recipient.
- Dan is a marathon runner and mentor with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s “Team In Training” program. He has completed six marathons since 2004. To date, Dan has helped to raise more than $35,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. His next race is the Big Sur Marathon in Monterey, CA on May 1, 2011.
Representative Speaking Engagements:
- Venture Capital Transactions seminar (Institute of Continuing Legal Education 2003)
- Venture Capital Transactions seminar (Institute of Continuing Legal Education 2005)
- Startup & Emerging Growth Companies (Institute of Continuing Legal Education 2010).
- Boston University, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, 1988
- Tulane Law School, Juris Doctor, Cum Laude, 1992
- Georgetown University Law Center, LL.M. (Securities and Financial Regulation), 1999
Paul is a commercialization catalyst at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He helps professors and researchers to create startup companies based on their research.
In November of 2007, Paul was inducted into the Geogia Tech College of Computing’s Academy of Distinguished Engineering Alumni.
Paul is also the founder and President of Salestrakr, a web-based contact manager, salesforce automation tool and CRM.
In 2000, Paul founded Racemi. This private, venture capital backed company was founded in 2000 and is based in Atlanta. Racemi developed and was one of the first manufacturers of server blades. He is an inventor on one of the very first issued blade server patents. Racemi exited the hardware business in early 2002 and has evolved into a pioneer of data center virtualization and automation software for on-demand computing. Racemi graduated from the ATDC in the spring of 2007.
Prior to founding Racemi, Paul was a founder and CTO of TruSOLUTIONS, a San Diego-based start-up that built Linux servers for Internet infrastructure applications. Founded in 1996, TruSOLUTIONS introduced the world’s first low profile server to the market in May 1998, and then the world’s first affordable ultra-low profile server in September 1999. TruSOLUTIONS was sold to VA Linux in March of 2000 for $200M.
Before founding TruSOLUTIONS, Paul worked in the semiconductor industry in California. He was a Sr. Marketing Manager for Hitachi Semiconductor and introduced the SH microprocessor into the US market in 1994.
Paul is a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1986 with a degree in Electrical Engineering and a certificate degree in Computer Engineering. He lives in Suwanee, GA with his wife and four children.
Michael was the original Founder of CEO Ventures. He specializes in helping the CEO Ventures portfolio rapidly grow, successfully exit and serves as Chairman for a number of successful companies within the CEO Ventures portfolio. He also serves as the 2011 Chair of AngelPool. His first technology venture was eTrain in 1998 which was sold for a high multiple and since then he has earned one of the best track records in the venture community for getting new companies built and cash flow positive. Michael is a former military officer and started his career at an IBM/Diebold joint venture advising and providing systems to commercial banks, served over 7 years as an executive within the Risk Management Association (RMA) which advised and trained commercial lenders on portfolio/risk management, and is a published author in banking.
His undergraduate studies were at THE Ohio State University and University of Akron, and his executive studies include leadership at Stanford’s Advanced Management College and competitive strategy at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Business. Michael is active in numerous volunteer leadership positions to help steward technology-based entrepreneurship, frequently lectures and provides key Resources to help entrepreneurs, and has served in a number of volunteer leadership positions such as President of Atlanta’s main technology CEO association TER. He is active in philanthropic activities, serves on the board of Lekotek which helps children with disabilities, and contributes to funding inner-city minority Scholarships, autism and children’s disabilities research through his charitable-giving foundation.
Tiffany Wright is the president of Toca Family Business Services and the author of Solving the Financial Equation: Financing Solutions for Small Businesses. Over the last five years, in her current capacity and as a business advisor at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute, Ms. Wright has helped companies obtain over $31 million in financing and a similar sum in contracts and purchase orders. Ms. Wright has provided mergers and acquisition, turnaround and restructuring advisory, financial analysis and modeling, partner development, strategic market pursuit, operational support, and business strategy assistance. Ms. Wright has over 17 years of finance, strategy, management, and operational experience in a variety of industries including manufacturing, energy, finance, high tech, and real estate.
Ms. Wright has held positions in corporate finance, mergers and acquisition, partnership development, and product development. She has served as the interim CFO and CEO of several small businesses and has led business turnarounds. In addition, Ms. Wright worked abroad in Asia. She has held several corporate positions at Siebel Systems, Enron, and Honda. Ms. Wright obtained her MBA in Finance and Entrepreneurial Management from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. Ms. Wright has her B.S. from The Ohio State University. She is a member of the National Association of Female Executives, a volunteer mentor, and a regular speaker at small business finance events.
STEPHEN R. GROSS
Steve Gross is a founding organizer of HLB Gross Collins, P.C. He was Regional Managing Partner, National Director of Business Consulting and a member of the Executive Committee of the national accounting firm. Steve, a native of Atlanta, graduated from Duke University with a major in management sciences and attended Georgia State University graduate school majoring in accounting. Steve has taught strategic business planning, executive development, real estate finance, tax planning, corporate finance and financial controls to CPAs throughout Georgia, and was a national speaker and trainer on these subjects for the national firm and a national contract training firm.
Steve has consulted, audited or assisted in exit events with hundreds of companies throughout the United States and Western Europe. His involvement has assisted management teams in growing, governing and merging or selling of companies to many major international groups.
Directorships and Business Affiliations
As a part of Steve’s services to his clients, he has served on the Board of Directors of many companies, both public and private for over 17 years.
Past Directorships have included:
- Mutual Fund Family for American General Life
- Mutual Fund Family for American Capital
- Mutual Fund Family for Van Kempen American Capital
- Mutual Fund Family for Morgan Stanley Dean Witter
- Mutual Fund Family for Citigroup Smith Barney
- WebMD, Inc.
- Charter Bank & Trust
- ebank Financial Services, Inc.
- Hank Aaron Enterprises, Inc.
- Carint North America, PLC
Professional Memberships and Awards:
Steve is a licensed CPA, Certified Fraud Examiner and Certified Valuation Analyst. He is a member of the state and national CPA societies and former chairman of the Ethics Committee of the Atlanta Chapter of the GSCPA. He is a member of the Institute of Business Appraisers, the National Association of Certified Valuation Analysts, and the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.
ROSEMARIE A. DRAKE
Rosemarie is a Regional Account Manager for CIT Small Business Lending since 2004. She is a native of Philadelphia, PA and earned a BBA in business administration/accounting from Temple University (Philadelphia, PA).
Rosemarie has held various senior corporate finance positions including Business Development Officer and credit Analyst with Heller Financial, Inc.; Syndication Specialist at Wachovia Bank of Georgia, Credit Analyst at National City Bank.
She was recognized as one of “Who’s Who for the Top 100 power broker’s who lead Atlanta’s Financial Sector”, Atlanta Business Chronicle, April 2008. She serves on various boards and is the past Chair for Georgia Lender’s Quality Circle (2009-2010).
Rosemarie is passionate about bridging the gap between entrepreneurs and the lending community. She is totally committed to educating the small business owner throughout the process.
Tim Souther has more than ten years’ experience in government guaranteed lending with both the USDA and SBA loan programs, and has been involved in more than $150 million small business financing transactions. He currently serves as Regional Manager of Georgia REsource Capital, Georgia’s fastest growing certified development company.
Tim also serves as Chair of Georgia Lenders Quality Circle, a trade association for Georgia SBA / USDA lenders. He earned a B.S. in Banking Financing from the University of Georgia.
Ashish Bahl is the Chairman and CEO of Acculynk, a rapidly growing alternative payments provider which provides PIN debit on the Internet. Most recently, Mr. Bahl was the Founder and CEO of Harbor Payments, Inc. until the company was purchased by American Express in 2006, when he became the Senior Vice President of the EReceivables Business unit. Harbor Payments was the recognized global leader in the emerging electronic invoicing industry, and rated as one of the fastest growing technology firms by Deloitte in 2005.
Prior to founding Harbor Payments, Inc. in 2000, Mr. Bahl was formerly at iXL where he was a Senior Vice President of iXL Ventures and the founder of iXL’s Financial Services Practice Group (FSPG). The FSPG provided strategic and technology services to major financial institutions seeking to leverage the Internet for business advantage. Mr. Bahl grew the practice to the largest industry component within iXL, accounting for approximately 33% of the company’s revenue during 1998, the year of its IPO.
Prior to iXL, Mr. Bahl founded and served as the CEO of Exchange Place Solutions (EXPS), a firm focused on providing strategy and technology solutions to financial services institutions. EXPS’ primary competence was within the area of electronic payments, including ACH, Wire, I-ACH, and SWIFT. Exchange Place Solutions was acquired by iXL in 1997.
Mr. Bahl holds a B.S. in Mathematics and Electrical Engineering from Vanderbilt University and an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University. His civic responsibilities include Board positions in Leadership Atlanta, TIE, and the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG).
Paula Tkac is an assistant vice president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. She leads the financial markets group in the Research Department and serves as a policy advisor.
Dr. Tkac conducts research on various financial market topics including investor decision-making, the mutual fund industry, financial regulation, and the recent financial crisis and policy responses. Her research has won two William F. Sharpe Awards at the Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis.
In addition to publication in academic journals, Dr. Tkac frequently speaks to academic and practitioner groups, has appeared on CSPAN and as an op-ed writer in the Wall Street Journal.
Before joining the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta in 2000, Dr. Tkac was on the faculty of the Finance Department at the University of Notre Dame. Dr. Tkac earned her bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate in economics from the University of Chicago.
Samantha is a Vice President with Sun Trust’s SBA Lending Division. Her role is as a Business Development Officer for the Atlanta-Metro region specializing in SBA 7a and 504 lending. Samantha works with small businesses to help choose the best loan for their growing business and implement solutions based on a comprehensive understanding of their goals and vision for their business.
Prior to joining Sun Trust, Samantha was a Business Development Officer with Wells Fargo in Charleston, SC covering the Coastal South Carolina Region. Previously, she was a Relationship Manager at Wachovia and BB&T in Wilmington, NC.
Samantha is a native of Valparaiso, IN, and earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Management and Finance from Indiana University.
ANDY FRIED, CPA
B.A. in Economics, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, NY
M.B.A. in Accounting, University of Rochester, NY
Andy has over twenty-five years experience in the financial, retail and real estate sectors. He began his career as a CPA with Laventhol and Horwath in New York. In 1984, Andy became owner and President of a retail business with locations throughout the New York tri-state area. Andy sold his retail interests and moved to Atlanta where he became an owner, manager and agent of commercial real estate properties. Mr. Fried holds a Georgia real estate license.
Barry Etra is the principal of the Etra Advisory Group, which helps companies raise funds when they don’t fit traditional sources. Specialties include nonprofit, early-stage, and bridge financing. He has an MBA in Finance from Columbia University.
Benjamin Suggs is an Atlanta-based Business Advisor and Marketing Consultant serving small businesses. His firm, Due North Business Advisors helps bmall business owners revitalize their businesses, by working with them to improve their Marketing, Customer Management, Employee Management and Internal Processes.
Prior to starting Due North, Ben spent 10 years in the financial services and credit card Industry working for companies like American Express, Citigroup, First National Bank of Omaha and Scotiabank. During that time he led marketing, operations and consulting teams.
Ben has a Masters in International Management from the Thunderbird School of Global Management, and attended Hampden-Sydney College for his undergraduate degree. He and his family currently reside in Sandy Springs, GA.
Mr. Gillard is a proven sales executive with more than 20-years of experience selling and marketing technology solutions to small and midsize enterprises. As one of the first employees at The Receivables Exchange in 2007, he was responsible for building the foundation and strategy for the sell-side program of the Exchange. In his current role as Vice President of National Accounts, Mr. Gillard is spearheading the expansion of large Seller accounts. Prior to The Receivables Exchange, Mr. Gillard was European Sales Manager for Prism Holdings USA Inc., a Massachusetts-based international technology company. He started his technology sales career with Optichrome Computer Solutions Ltd, a worldwide provider of enterprise resource planning (ERP) software to the graphic arts industry, where he was responsible for setting up the firm’s German subsidiary.
Mr. Gillard graduated from the University of Central England in 1993 with honors degrees in business and German.
DANIEL H. DRECHSEL
Dan joined FTRANS in 2008 and serves as chief executive officer and serves as a member of FTRANS’ Board of Directors. His more than 25 years experience includes increasingly high profile executive-level general management, sales, operations, and technology management positions, and he is known for his extensive expertise at successfully growing emerging businesses into large-scale, highly successful corporations. Dan joined FTRANS from SAP where he was General Manager of the Banking business in the Americas. Prior to SAP, Dan served as President of Global Energy Decisions, a leading provider of data and technology to the energy businesses and was President and COO of S1 Corporation (Nasdaq: SONE), a leading provider of technology solutions for financial institutions and one of the key leaders in distribution channel innovation surrounding the growth of internet banking. Previous to that, Dan served in key executive roles with CheckFree, ADP and D&B.
Dan earned a B.S. in Industrial Management from the Georgia Institute of Technology and an M.B.A. from Mercer University. Dan can be contacted at Dan dot Drechsel at FTRANS dot net
Scott Brown is Vice President for Charter Capital, a Houston based U.S. provider of Factoring and Working Capital for small and medium businesses. Scott started his working career as a business owner of a commercial service company here in Atlanta. After 12 years of successful market expansion in the Atlanta and Southeast markets, his company was acquired by the Scott’s Co., a publically traded company.
Scott spent the next several years in executive leadership in Los Angeles, California for ServiceMaster, a Fortune 500 company, where he oversaw 14 branch locations, 2200 employees, and $120MM in revenue.
After deciding to relocate back to Georgia for family concerns, Scott spent several years as the interim President for portfolio companies acquired by a Private Equity Fund out of Tampa, Fl. Scott was responsible for shepherding pre-closing activities, aligning financing of highly leveraged buyouts, and operating the acquisition target post-close to insure a smooth transition until a permanent leadership candidate was identified.
Scott moved back to Atlanta, working for Merrill Lynch in their Private Wealth Group for a brief period, attaining his NASD/SEC Series 7 and 66 licenses, only to discover his passion was not investing others money in the markets, but more so in helping others attain capital. Scott began his career in Asset Based Lending with Presidential Financial Corp., where he was Vice President for North Georgia. Scott joined Charter Capital in late 2008, and has not looked back.
PATRICIA C. WILLIAMS, CEcD
Patricia serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the Georgia Micro Enterprise Network (GMEN). GMEN is a statewide economic development industry association focused on job creation through small business development. She also serves as Treasurer on the national microenterprise industry’s board of directors, Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO) and served as chair of its SMA committee representing organizations like GMEN from around the country.
Patricia has made community service a key part of her life. She has worked with over 30 not-for-profit organizations. She has held leadership positions in the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Atlanta YWCA, Memphis Women’s Foundation, National Black MBA Association, and Memphis Partners in Public Education â€¦ as well as participated in Leadership Atlanta, Leadership Baton Rouge, and Leadership Memphis. She now serves as Secretary on the board of directors of the Sadie G. Mays Nursing Home and Chair of its Personnel committee. Patricia is an active member of Cascade United Methodist Church. Patricia is a national speaker on several topics, including small business development, managing an economic development organization, living your passion, and Christian stewardship.
KEVIN R. MCGEE
Kevin graduated from Morehouse College in 1993 with a B.A. in Finance. No stranger to hard work, Kevin worked part time in the food service industry during college to supplement scholarships to pay for educational expenses. Upon graduating, he worked for several years chartering credit unions and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI’s) through out the southeastern United States. Kevin was involved in the early stages of the Empowerment Zone initiative, by providing technical assistance to community development credit unions and CDFI’s. After several years in the finance industry, Kevin and several partners formed a private consulting firm. Their focus was to help communities, non-profit organizations, and private companies by educating them on the basic principles of finance, economics and general business operations. As a result, these clients developed self-sustaining business practices that promoted economic development within their communities. This endeavor increased Kevin’s desire to continue down the road of entrepreneurship.
No longer able to bridle his ambition, in 1999, he yielded to his entrepreneurial calling and combined his knowledge of food service acquired in college with his business acumen, and opened his first restaurant concept. This restaurant went through several transitions which eventually evolved into Horn of Plenty Hospitality, LLC. In September 2010, Kevin made the tough decision to exit the industry and sold his interests in Horn of Plenty. Kevin decided to engage on a career track that would allow him to devote more time to helping the entrepreneurs who often sought his mentorship and guidance. In November 2010, Kevin joined a well respected leader in Micro Finance and small business lending, ACCION USA Inc. As a leader in U.S. microfinance, ACCION USA is committed to bringing affordable small business loans to microentrepreneurs. ACCION USA has provided over $119 million in over 19,000 microloans since inception in 1991, helping to grow small businesses and strengthen the communities they serve. ACCION USA is an affiliate of ACCION International, a global microfinance organization founded in 1961.
MARVIN D. BRYANT
Marvin D. Bryant is currently the President and CEO for the Atlanta Micro Fund (AMF), a community-based microenterprise development program that provides funding and business management coaching to small businesses. The AMF is an US Small Business Administration Micro Loan Intermediary and a Certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI).
Prior to working with microenterprises–the smallest of small businesses, Marvin spent most of his professional life in the banking industry. He began his banking career completing a rigorous 18-month Commercial Credit Training Program offered by NationsBank (now Bank of America). After that, he spent several years with the organization as a commercial credit analyst and banker. He then went on to work for a smaller community bank where he helped develop its Small Business Lending Unit.
Marvin served two three-year terms on the Board of Directors of the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO), the national leadership organization and voice of microenterprise development and the Georgia Microenterprise Network (GMEN), the state association of microenterprise development organizations.
Marvin is a graduate of Georgia State University where he received a degree in Finance and Decision Sciences.
Lisa Robinson works with Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE) as a Business Development Officer, responsible for marketing and underwriting their Georgia Green Loans and Microloan programs for metro-Atlanta small businesses. Prior to ACE, she worked as a program manager for Regions Bank and Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta. She moved to Atlanta from North Carolina where she worked as a commercial lender with Self- Help Credit Union and as a small business consultant for the North Carolina Institute of Minority Economic Development.
Lisa brings 18 years of experience in financial management, community economic development, and program administration in both non-profit and for-profit sectors. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Clark Atlanta University and a MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is also a certified Economic Development Finance Professional.
Bishop is the Regional Managing Partner for the Southeast Region of Tatum. He is a seasoned financial executive with more than 25 years of financial and operational management experience in a wide variety of industries. As a Tatum Partner, he served as CFO of multiple venture capital funded technology companies including software, hardware, network and service providers, where he completed multiple merger & acquisition transactions and assisted in raising over $50 million of equity financing. Prior to joining Tatum, Leatherbury had his own consulting practice specializing in providing CFO services to technology companies and litigation support services. Before that, he was President and CFO for Environmental Technology Services, Inc., an environmental consulting and laboratory firm.
Rob is a Partner in the Atlanta practice of Tatum. During his more than 25-year career, his primary focus has been on rapidly growing and/or troubled companies. Rob has served a variety of executive roles including President, Chief Operations Officer and Chief Financial Officer for companies in the manufacturing, retail, transportation, cosmetics, technology and medical device sectors. As a Tatum Partner, he has been Chief Financial and Corporate Operations Officer of Hospitality Staffing Services, a private equity owned national provider of multiple services to the hospitality/hotel industries; President and Chief Financial Officer of the Access Group of Companies, a provider of study products and merchant services; Chief Financial Officer of Astral Brands, LLC, a multi-channel product developer and marketer of cosmetics, gourmet seafood products and cataloging; Vice President – Finance for Given Imaging, an international medical device manufacturer; and Consultant to Intellitrans, an international software developer, manufacturer and distributor.
David is a Partner in the Atlanta practice of Tatum. During his 30-year career, David gained broad experience in financial and operating leadership roles with public and private companies in the manufacturing and service sectors. His expertise includes business information systems, raising capital, mergers & acquisitions, SEC compliance, supply chain management and financial controls. He is a specialist in raising capital, having raised over $50 million is equity capital and over $350 million in debt. As a Tatum Partner, he has provided financial and administrative leadership as the Firm’s own CFO as the business grew from $40 million to $140 million. He also led a turnaround at EduTrek International and merged with the industry leader, installed financial controls at the Atlanta Public Schools as interim CFO and rebuilt the corporate accounting and finance function for AJC International Inc.
THOMAS H. KING
Tom is a Partner in the Atlanta practice of Tatum. Tom specializes in CFO services, mergers and acquisitions, mentoring, controllership, restructuring and turnarounds for manufacturing and distribution companies. As a Tatum Partner, Tom served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Allied System Holding Inc., where he was instrumental in the firm’s restructuring and emergence from bankruptcy, including preparation of a comprehensive business model; bargaining with the Teamsters union; negotiating debtor-in-possession financing and a $315 emergence credit facility; and restoring credibility to the financial reporting process. As Vice President of Rock-Tenn Company, he led the accounting and finance functions; implemented an economic value-add (EVA) measurement system and a new budgeting process and system; led the multi-disciplinary teams that completed several successful acquisitions and a divestiture; and initiated a Sarbanes-Oxley 404 compliance program. He has also served Interim Chief Financial Officer of Skynet Holdings, Inc. and ISO Operations, Inc. as a Tatum Partner.
KEVIN L. CLINGMAN
Kevin Clingman is Vice President & Manager of Government Guaranteed Lending for One Georgia Bank and joined the bank in December 2006. He developed the bank’s business plan for the bank’s government guaranteed lending initiative, launched the department in March 2008 and manages the day to day operations of the department.
One Georgia Bank is one of the leading SBA 7(a) and USDA B&I lenders in the state of Georgia. The bank has been ranked in the Top Ten SBA Lenders in state of Georgia for 2009 and 2010.
Since 1993, he has worked in the areas of small business development, seed capital, commercial real estate lending and SBA lending. Previously Mr. Clingman worked for national and regional SBA lenders including Small Business Loan Source and Republic Bank, Michigan’s #1 SBA lender. Numerous times Mr. Clingman was Republic Bank’s top commercial and SBA lender. His contributions were recognized by awarding him with the bank’s President’s and Director’s Awards. He served as President of the Louisville Community Development Bank Enterprise Group in Louisville, KY and worked for Norwest Banks (presently Wells Fargo) serving as President of the Omaha Small Business Network and the North Omaha Business Development Corporation.
His accomplishments have been recognized with awards from the National Business Incubation Association, The Social Compact, The American Assembly and the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. He has been featured in various publications which include Black Enterprise, the Omaha Courier Journal and the Louisville Business Journal. He is a member of the National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders. He has served on the Board of Directors of the National Business Incubation Association, Georgia Certified Development Corporation and several community development corporations.
He is a native of Detroit, MI and a graduate of Morehouse College where he majored in Economics.
Mr. Christopher is an experienced professional in the Georgia banking community. He has spent over thirty years in Finance and Banking with industry leaders such as The Money Store Commercial Mortgage Division, CIT, Lehman Brothers and most recently, Wells Fargo.
He earned a Bachelors of Arts degree in Accounting from Pace University, The Lubin School of Business Administration. He also earned a Certificate in Metropolitan Banking from The American Institute of Banking.
MICHAEL R. HORTEN
Michael Horten is a US and European educated lawyer with over 35 years’ experience as a practicing attorney. Mr. Horten began his legal career with Sullivan & Cromwell in New York and Paris. He then spent 25 years with King & Spalding in Atlanta. At the end of 1999, he retired from the King & Spalding partnership to launch Horten CC, a virtual law firm that focuses on the needs of small to medium size companies, with particular emphasis on entrepreneurial growth companies.
Horten CC employs a non-traditional practice model that is based on two key philosophical underpinnings: First, Mr. Horten founded the firm on the premise that top-rate legal services do not have to be bundled with the “marble” and “mahogany” environment that typically is associated with those services. The firm has no central offices, no paper files and it uses the latest technology to create efficiencies. As a result, the firm’s fees are considerably lower, generally 40-50% less, than those charged by firms of comparable ability and quality. Second, Horten CC bills its clients for the value delivered and not for the time spent by the attorney. The firm does not keep track of every “six minutes,” as is the norm in most law firms. The firm believes that its clients purchase its lawyers’ skill, not their time. The firm’s work is typically performed for a fixed fee.
Mr. Horten’s experience covers a wide variety of corporate, commercial, technology and financial transactions, including domestic and international mergers, acquisitions, securities offerings, joint ventures and strategic alliances. At King & Spalding, most of his clients were large public companies like Coca-Cola, GE Capital, UPS, Georgia-Pacific, BellSouth, and Scientific-Atlanta. Most of his present clients are private companies, primarily emerging growth companies.
Mr. Horten brings a unique perspective to early-stage financings. In addition to his extensive legal work in this area, representing both investors and companies seeking capital, Mr. Horten has been an active angel investor for the last 15 years and he is a member of several angel groups as well as the Angel Capital Association, the industry trade organization for all US angel groups.
Mr. Horten has written numerous professional papers and articles and is a frequent speaker on financial and legal issues. His publications include the following books: Joint Ventures in den USA: Wirtschaftliche, Rechtliche and Steuerliche Aspekte (1996, Verlag C.H. Beck, Munich) (co-author with Karl-Erbo Graf von Kageneck); Les Joint Ventures Franco-Americaines (1994, Larcier, Brussels, and Forum Europeen de la Communication, Paris) (co-author with Philippe Sarrailhe); and Japanese-US Joint Ventures (1992, Shogakusha, Tokyo).
Mr. Horten is actively involved in a number of business and civic organizations, including Association for Corporate Growth, Angel Capital Association, Atlanta Technology Angels, Atlanta Venture Forum, and Technology Association of Georgia.
Mr. Horten did his undergraduate studies at Washington State University. He received his law degree from the University of Copenhagen in 1970 and his graduate law degree from Columbia University in 1971. In 1974, he completed the course work for a doctorate in EU law at the University of Paris.
A native of Copenhagen, Denmark, Mr. Horten speaks (at varying levels of fluency) Danish, French, German, Norwegian and Swedish.
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Kent Gregoire Advocates Responsibility Centered Principles That Lead to Success
An entrepreneur for more than 20 years, Kent J. Gregoire founded and served as CEO of more than a dozen fast-growth businesses in a wide range of industries. He has also helped many different business leaders exceed their expectations as the driving force behind The Alternative Board (TAB) and as the founder and CEO of Responsibility Centered Leadership (RCL).
While compiling his impressive track record as an entrepreneur, Kent faced and overcame many of the same funding challenges that now confront everyone attending the Stepping Up to Business program. He went on to guide his enterprises through all phases of their business cycle, including start- up, growth, and even repositioning. He eventually exited his companies by selling to strategic buyers, private equity funds, and individuals when opportunities to maximize value presented themselves.
Along the way, Kent gained extensive, highly specialized knowledge and expertise in the areas of leadership and management development, succession planning, strategic and real-time business planning, growth strategies, complex selling, and mergers and acquisitions.
Kent has since put that knowledge to work assisting other business owners and executives in achieving success. Through The Alternative Board (TAB), Kent has provided aspiring entrepreneurs with a valuable alternative to the traditional board of directors. By providing these individuals with access to some of Atlanta’s most talented business owners, who serve as a board of advisors, The Alternative Board has enabled its members to increase sales, increase profitability, and strategically lead their companies more effectively.
In addition, Kent currently helps enterprises all over the world achieve success as the founder and CEO of Responsibility Centered Leadership (RCL). This specialized consulting firm provides advisory services, training, and coaching to executive level management and professional salespeople. RCL delivers a suite of services to help organizations grow, manage and fine tune their human resources and business practices. The strategies and techniques espoused by RCL have all proven highly effective in a wide range of competitive business environments.
Soon, Kent will also share his knowledge of what businesses need to succeed in the pages of a new book. He is now writing Living In The Nowâ„¢: The Overwhelm Solution” which details the steps necessary to transforming one’s relationship to time.
Anyone who wishes to learn more about Responsibility Centered Leadership or The Alternative Board can feel free to contact Kent at 404-949-0199 or go to www.TABmetroatlanta.com or www.rcl-inc.com.
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Small Business Finance Institute recognizes our conference partners
ACCION is a nonprofit microfinance organization that provides access to capital and financial education to low- and moderate- income entrepreneurs and small business owners primarily minorities and women. A pioneer and recognized leader in U.S. microfinance, ACCION empowers individuals to create sustainable businesses, increase family incomes, and contribute to the economic development of neighborhoods.
ASIAN AMERICAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
The Asian-American Chamber is a membership based organization created to foster better business development and economic opportunity between Asian American business owners and American businesses doing business with Asian interests.
ATLANTA DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY
The Atlanta Development Authority is the official economic development agency for the city of Atlanta. ADA represents intown Atlanta, which has a population of 530,000 and growing. ADA is a research-based economic development organization, focused on residential, business and investment growth in the city.
ATLANTA URBAN LEAGUE
The Atlanta Urban League’s Entrepreneurship Center assists aspiring entrepreneurs and small businesses to build a solid foundation for their enterprises. The Business Essentials program is comprised of 4 core areas of focus that is covered by class room workshops, business coaching and other innovative methods of training. Other programs provide technical assistance to existing businesses through consulting, executive coaching and focused training.
The Atlanta-based business education epicenter pairs academic learning with cutting edge business services and products. Our goal? To educate and enlighten; to expose challenges and implement solutions. The result is increased efficiency and effectiveness of management skills, thus improved business profitability.
CLAYTON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Clayton County Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to making Clayton County the ideal place in Metropolitan Atlanta to live, work, and play. We are one of the largest business associations in the region, uniting business and professional firms to accomplish collectively what cannot be done individually. Founded in 1953, the Chamber promotes business growth and enhances the overall business climate for a prosperous Clayton County.
DEKALB CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
With over 70 years of history, the DeKalb Chamber is a membership based organization created to foster business development in DeKalb County, GA. The DeKalb Chamber speaks on behalf of the stated interest of the business community located in DeKalb County, the City of Decatur, Metro Atlanta, and throughout Georgia. The mission of the DeKalb Chamber is to support, promote, and sustain business development in DeKalb County.
THE EDGE CONNECTION
The Edge Connection delivers best-practices in microenterprise and small business training, financial literacy, entrepreneurially-focused technology training, and essential support services to aid micro entrepreneurs to launch, sustain, or grow a business. They host the Women’s Business Center of the Greater Metropolitan Atlanta Area that targets low- to moderate-income women, minorities, and persons with disabilities.
GEORGIA DBE ASSOCIATION
The Georgia DBE (Disadvantaged Business Enterprises) Association is a privately held trade organization representing certified minority and women owned businesses to connect, mobilize and deliver the latest opportunities in government and private-sector contracting. The association facilitates government contract participation through match-making, financial, education and outreach services and assist non-minority owned corporations to connect to membership.
GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) recognizes that small business is big business. Georgia’s small businesses comprise 97 percent of the state’s companies. GDEcD supports entrepreneurs and the growth of small businesses through efforts that integrate economic development sectors including technology, trade, entertainment and tourism and other means of business expansion.
GEORGIA LENDERS QUALITY CIRCLE
The Georgia Lenders Quality Circle (GLQC) is a non-profit association for banks, non-bank lenders, certified development companies, and other associations, professionals, and service providers that are active in the origination, support, management, and liquidation of government guaranteed small business loans.
GEORGIA MICRO ENTERPRISE NETWORK
GMEN’s mission: “To start and grow micro businesses in Georgia.” Supporting micro entrepreneurs, defined as a business owner with 0-5 employees and needing less than $50,000 in start-up capital, GMEN employs 3 strategies to meet its mission: 1) serving as the clearinghouse for Microenterprise Development Organization (MDO) resources; 2) providing training and technical assistance to MDOs so they can provide best practices to micro entrepreneurs; and 3) being a portal for entrepreneurial best practices.
GEORGIA SBDC NETWORK
The Georgia Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network has the mission to enhance the economic well-being of Georgians by providing a wide range of educational services for small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs.
GWINNETT CHAMBER of COMMERCE
The Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce offers the metro Atlanta business community opportunities for growth while working with regional partners to collaborate on economic and community development initiatives in Georgia. With core objectives to create quality jobs and wealth, strengthen the community and grow your business, the chamber services over 2,700 members in metro Atlanta while delivering solid programs and potential to connect your business regionally and globally.
METRO ATLANTA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
The Metro Atlanta Chamber connects and mobilizes the business community to drive economic development and public policies that promote sustainable growth and is the only business organization focused on marketing the entire 28-county metro Atlanta region with 4,000+ companies that employ nearly 1 million workers.
NATIONAL FUNDING ASSOCIATION
NFA is a dynamic networking organization among financial professionals from every category that come together to build bridges within the funding community. The Association is comprised of individuals working as investment bankers, accountants, attorneys, brokers, venture capitalists, consultants, bankers, turnaround professionals, factors, specialty finance companies, and asset based lenders.
The Senior Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) is America’s premier source of free and confidential small business advice for entrepreneurs.
SOUTH FULTON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
The South Fulton Chamber of Commerce has the mission to promote, advance and support the business, civic and community interests of South Fulton County and to take a leadership role in achieving these interests in an ethical and lawful manner.
SOUTHERN BARTER CLUB
Southern Barter Club is a for-profit enterprise that facilitates the trading of goods and services among its member without use of cash as the medium of exchange.
WORLD CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
The World Chamber of Commerce is an independent, non-profit, educational, membership-driven worldwide organization whose purpose is to promote commercial, cultural/educational and social/humanitarian relations globally, and facilitate trade and investment worldwide.