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SBA Panel: Celebrating Rural Entrepreneurship
Register for the free, virtual session from 12 noon – 1 p.m. CST on Thursday, Aug. 26.
The U.S. Small Business Administration will host a live online panel session to celebrate Rural Entrepreneurship with rural-owned small businesses as they share their small business stories and how they utilized SBA and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) resources and economic aid as critical financial lifelines to pivot during the pandemic.
Learn about the resources available from the SBA and USDA to help rural entrepreneurs compete in the marketplace, launch or expand businesses, receive counseling, funding opportunities, and help to recover or rebuild from disasters.
Panel Session Speakers
- Panel Moderator: Terri Billups, Senior Advisor, SBA Office of Field Operations
Terri Billups is the SBA Deputy Director and Senior Advisor for Rural Affairs and is responsible for identifying regulatory, legislative and rural issues of concern to small entities in rural areas of the U.S. and its territories. Prior to returning to the SBA in the rural affairs role, Ms. Billups served in various federal positions within the SBA and the Department of Defense.
- Special Guest Speaker: Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr., D-Georgia-2
Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. is serving his fifteenth term in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Middle and Southwest Georgia’s Second Congressional District. A leader among the fiscally responsible Democrats in Congress, Congressman Bishop has served on the House Committee on Appropriations since 2003. In addition to being the Chairman of the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, Congressman Bishop also serves as the Co-Chair of the Congressional Military Family Caucus, the Vice Chair of the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, and a senior member of the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee.
- Panelist: Amy Lea, SBA’s Acting Regional Administrator for Region 8 and Wyoming District Director
Amy Lea is currently serving as the U.S. Small Business Administration Acting Region VIII Administrator, and is also the Wyoming District Director. In this role, she helps Wyoming small businesses start, grow, expand and recover by connecting them with the Agency’s funding, counseling and training, and government contracting programs and disaster assistance resources.
- Panelist: Steffanie Bezruki, Chief of Staff, USDA Rural Business-Cooperative Service
Steffanie Bezruki serves as Chief of Staff for the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBCS), which helps provide those living in rural areas with the capital, education, and entrepreneurial skills to start and grow a business.
- Panelist: Nathan Drager, President/Founder, Quantum PC Services, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
Nathan Drager started Quantum PC Services in 2012 from his home office in Door County, Wisconsin, working first as a consultant to identify his customers and the area’s IT needs. As the business became better known, demand kept growing as it transitioned to ever-larger locations to accommodate new employees and a growing equipment supply.
- Panelist: Charissa Rubey, CEO, Dakota Micro, Cayuga, North Dakota
Dakota Micro, Inc. is a family-owned and operated business started by Charissa Rubey and her husband, Dave Rubey. The company develops and manufactures ruggedized camera systems and surveillance equipment for agricultural, public works and military applications. They export their products worldwide from their manufacturing facility on the family farm.