SCORE leaders and clients participate in Small Business Roundtable with Jovita Carranza, U.S. Small Business Administrator.

As part of Small Business Week, Savannah SCORE and three of their small business clients had the opportunity to participate in a Small Business Roundtable on September 25 with the head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), Jovita Carranza.

Congressman Buddy Carter, representatives of UGA’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and the Small Business Assistance Corporation (SBAC), as well as the owners of several other Savannah-based small businesses also participated.

Michael Siegel, SCORE

During the roundtable, small business owners spoke of how funds from the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act helped support their businesses when the pandemic took hold in the U.S.

Some of the small business owners at the event shared stories of how funds from the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) and other SBA loans saved hundreds of jobs and helped keep them in business. Congressman Buddy Carter mentioned that he was hoping a new round of PPP funds would become available to continue to help small businesses weather the COVID crisis.

Administrator Carranza gave a detailed history of the CARES Act effort. The SBA has been the federal oversight agency for the $700 billion in government aid that was made available (this includes amounts still available to be loaned). She noted that deploying over $700 billion in assistance nationally in such a short time frame was unprecedented. SBA Georgia District Director Terri Denison expressed gratitude to SBA’s Resource Partners (SCORE and SBAC) for helping the small business community be aware of and apply for the Federal funding programs and also for mentoring them during these challenging times. The SBAC and other area banking institutions were recognized for their pivotal role in getting these much-needed funds out to the community in a timely manner.

“It was an honor to take part in this roundtable with Administrator Carranza. It was a great opportunity to promote Savannah’s vibrant small business community and the organizations, like SCORE, that support it.”

Ned Duffy, Certified SCORE Mentor and Michael Siegel, Savannah SCORE Chapter Chair

The Savannah SCORE clients who attended were: Maria Vaughan and Michael Wedum, the founders of COR Compost and winners of Savannah SCORE’s 2019 “BizPitch Savannah” entrepreneurial competition; Rue and Toni Reynolds, founders of StarBarks/BARKS Dog Daycare; and Sam Cook, founder and CEO of Seimitsu Business Technology Solutions 

Maria Vaughan and Michael Wedum, the founders of COR Compost

Savannah SCORE’s mentors continue to provide free professional business mentoring to its clients, and free online business education programs to the entire community.

In addition, Savannah SCORE’s “BizPitch Savannah™” Entrepreneurial Competition, now in its third year, offers aspiring local entrepreneurs a chance to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges and win over $10,000 in cash and free professional services to help launch their new businesses.

Applications to become a “BizPitch Savannah™ 2020” contestant are being accepted now through midnight, October 2. Online applications and competition rules are available at