Interview in Savannah, Georgia with Small Business Assistance Corporation


We from Tri-Star, a local HVAC & plumbing company from Savannah, Georgia, decided to level-up our work, so we started a local campaign with the goal to promote various non-profit and non-governmental organizations from Georgia.

Today we took an interview with the Small Business Assistance Corporation, a Community Development Financial Institution whose priority is helping women and minority-owned business person. If you’re thinking about starting a new business and have any questions about it, feel free to contact the Institution and they will do their job professionally.

Introduction: To begin with, we would like you to briefly tell us about your organization

Small Business Assistance Corporation (SBAC) is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), certified by the U.S. Department of Treasury. We provide loans and technical assistance for new and existing businesses in the Southeast Georgia and the Low Country of South Carolina. We are the area’s mission driven small business loan specialists.


  1. What do you do exactly?

And what was the reason that encouraged you to start this organization?

The Small Business Assistance Corporation is dedicated to providing professional small business support services to small business in the City of Savannah and surrounding area. SBAC prioritizes service to women and minority owned business persons within our service area. The following services are provided to for profit businesses:

Financing for new and existing businesses.

Provision of debt and equity funds to new and existing businesses through the Savannah Regional Small Business Capital Fund.

Provision of management and technical assistance to small and medium size businesses in all phases of their development.

Dissemination of information concerning local business issues and program services available to support small business growth.


  1. What motivates you?

Describe your mission passion

Simply put my motivation comes from the ability to provide access to capital to those who need it most. those This Corporation strives for socio-economic improvement for all citizens through the expansion of small business by systematic focus on equitable access to capital, management assistance and business opportunities for all segments of our community. Through these efforts this Corporation creates employment for low or moderate income people and revitalize low income communities. We believe that a thriving small business community is a crucial element needed to accomplish a vibrant, job creating economy.


  1. Tell us about your goals

Loan volume is our measure of activity and success. SBAC has been in full operation since September 1989. As a result, the cumulative total of approved business proposals is Five Hundred Ninety Five Million, Six Hundred Six Thousand, Three Hundred Nineteen Dollars ($595,606,319.00). Our organization continues to provide a variety of loan programs which are being offered to the business community within 53 counties in Southeast Georgia as well as Beaufort, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, Hampton and Jasper counties in South Carolina.

  1. What was the hardest/toughest moment you had to deal with?

Obstacles you faced when dealing with bureaucracy, permits, funding, etc. Something you would like to point out to anyone who might be starting their own organization.

While SBAC has been in existence for more than 28 years, maintaining awareness within the small business community is critical. I believe we are the best kept secret in Savannah. However, through outreach programs, comprehensive loan and business packaging, management and technical assistance programs, SBAC continues to succeed in improving small business growth in our service area.


  1. What was the most fulfilling moment that happened to you?

The most unforgettable and equally fulfilling moment at SBAC was presenting my very first loan proposal to the board for approval. Perhaps, the best part was informing the client of the approval as well as the opportunity to recreate that moment for years to come.


  1. What separates you from the rest? Why you?

Per Savannah SCORE mentor Ken Zapp, SBAC, may be the region’s most influential player in fostering business development. Of course, I agree. In a recent article, SBAC was identified as the place to go for new venture funding. Ken stated, SBAC’s staff attempt to match each applicant’s funding needs with the best combination of loan sources, including commercial banks. The organization seems to focus on each applicant’s unique needs and potentials when developing a package of credit sources. This individualized approach and not being limited by any one source’s requirements, has helped many firms open their doors (or their websites).


  1. Do you have any upcoming events in the forthcoming months?

November 13, 2017

Savannah SCORE Chapter

SBAC Mentor Presentation



  1. What is it that you love most about what you do?

Borrowing from Jim Collin’s book From Good to Great, I love doing good work with good people for a great purpose. As Community Development Loan Officer, I have the privilege of promoting the mission of SBAC and increasing client referrals especially concentrated within the city of Savannah. Each business financed and each job created represents a critical step in the transformation of a life, a family and a community. This is real change. This is the purpose of CDFI’s like SBAC.


  1. What is the biggest challenge you’re faced with today?

Prospective small business owners understanding and embracing the process involved in acquiring a loan. We work closely with borrowers to eliminate the perception of having to jump through hoops, pulling teeth or too much red tape. Pre-loan appointments are the perfect opportunity to clarify expectations and answer pertinent questions regarding the overall process. Borrowers and lenders each play important roles in preparing and submitting complete loan applications.


  1. Anything else you would like to add?

For those who are not ready to apply for a loan but may have questions about starting a business, we can help. Existing business owners looking to expand, we, along with our resource partners are available to offer business counseling at no cost as well. Simply give us a call to schedule an appointment.


Contact: How can people reach out to you?

Your organization’s name, phone, address, e-mail and links to your website and social media.

Sheree E. Darien
Community Development Loan Officer
Small Business Assistance Corporation
111 E. Liberty Street, Suite 100
Savannah, GA 31401
Phone: (912) 721-6328 Fax: (912) 721-6329
Apply for a business loan today!