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AICC & SBA Partner Together for Change 

L to R Seated: Chandler Sharma and Terri Denison. Back row: Surinder Bahl, Brenda Morant and Paul Bahl. SBA photo by Jim Hightower


Atlanta: Just days before their 55th anniversary, the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) met with board directors from the Asian-Indian Chamber of Commerce (AICC) for a Strategic Alliance Memorandum signing at the AICC building in Atlanta.

The meeting of about 30 members was held to develop and advance mutual understanding and working relationships between the SBA and AICC in order to strengthen and expand small business development in the local area. The Alliance Memorandum signed by both parties on July 24th 2008, began a two-year partnership that will produce educating presentations and business expos to achieve their common mission to help start, maintain, and expand small businesses. The groups’ first plan is to organize several education presentations that help with obtaining minority certification and financing options for small businesses.

Opportunities in Federal Procurement Programs, Says SBA District Director


Terri Denison is the District Director of the Georgia Office of the US Small Business Administration (SBA). Talking to NRI Pulse after the July 24th meet, she said she saw opportunities for Indian-owned businesses to participate in Federal procurement programs.

She spoke about the SBA 8(a) program. Under this program, SBA acts as a prime contractor and enters into contracts with other Federal Government departments and agencies. In its role as a prime contractor, SBA awards subcontracts for their performance by certified companies.

“Many participants of the 8(a) program are minority owned businesses,” said Denison. “The SBA works with the small business for a period of nine years. We first help them learn the Federal procurement system. By the end of the nine years, they are able to compete in the Federal market place.”

“A lot of times people don’t know what’s available to them,” said Denison. “We will work with the Asian Indian Chamber of Commerce at educating members on the government resources and programs available to small businesses. Then, as we get a feel of the particular needs of the members, we can pursue them with tailored programs, initiatives and workshops. We can ensure that the members make contact with those parts of our agency that handles whatever it is that they need particularly.”

Denison said the SBA has been around since 1953. “We are a Federal Government agency with a mission to help grow the economy of the US by helping small businesses start and expand. We are most well-known for providing financial assistance. We help small businesses get access to capital through loan guarantees. A commercial lender will come to us when they feel like they need additional security, and ask for the loan to be guaranteed by us.”

“We also fund some organizations that help people who are looking to start a small business or expand an existing one through counseling and training,” she said.

The Asian-Indian Chamber of Commerce provides a platform for Asian-Indian businessmen to meet and network in the United States and globally facilitate and promote trade and business. Brenda Morant is the Executive Director and ICC serves as an advocate for the interest and rights of Asian-Indians on issues that affect businessmen globally and in the United States.

“The Small Business Administration and Asian-Indian Chamber of Commerce are seeking to help small business maintain a permanent place in the world of business”, Chandler Sharma, President of the Asian Indian Chamber of Commerce said.

Terri Denison, the District Director of the Georgia Office of the US SBA spoke at the July 24th meeting. The SBA protects the interests of small businesses through providing financial, contractual and business development assistance. The SBA has delivered over 20 million loans, loan guarantees, contracts, counseling sessions, and promotes international trade and now these services would be available to Indian community with the assistance of AICC.


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