The Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting a Small Business Celebration with a kickoff event on August 20 at 7:30 a.m. with special guest speaker from the Small Business Administration Ashley D. Bell. The full Celebration, replacing events traditionally held during Small Business Month in May, will feature a spotlight on local small businesses, seminars and other training opportunities. Swift & Staley is the Small Business Celebration sponsor.
The virtual broadcast of the guest speaker on August 20 will be carried live via Zoom and shared on WPSD Local 6. Register to attend the event via Zoom at paducahchamber.org.
Ashley D. Bell, Regional Administrator for the Small Business Administration (SBA), Region IV, also currently serves as the Entrepreneurship Policy Advisor for the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council. Bell recently served and was appointed by the President as the White House Policy Advisor for Entrepreneurship & Innovation. He is the SBA’s point person for the Agency’s role in the nationwide Opportunity Zone effort.
Local businesses can participate in the celebration by submitting information for a drawing during the August 20 kickoff event. The three businesses will be spotlighted during the broadcast and have videos created by Total AV Service to show at the September 3rd Power in Partnership Breakfast. A “grand prize” drawing will be held for one business to receive one-month’s use of a digital billboard on Lone Oak Road. The billboard sponsor is Hibbs Insurance.
To participate, Chamber members with 15 or fewer employees are invited to submit a 75-word summary with the latest news about their business, including current hours, special sales or promotions. All information collected will be posted online on the Chamber’s website and Facebook page. The Small Business Summary form can be found online at paducahchamber.org. The deadline to submit a business summary is noon on August 19.
As the SBA Region IV Administrator, Bell oversees SBA programs, offices and operations across the Southeastern United States where thousands of aspiring and existing entrepreneurs receive high quality assistance including SBA-backed loans. His district covers Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
Bell is a seasoned entrepreneur, having opened the doors to his first business while he was still in law school at age 22 in the heart of Gainesville, Georgia’s African American community. A lawyer by trade, he began his career as a public defender, and went on to become a trial attorney and co-founder of a law firm based in Atlanta, Georgia. He brings an enthusiasm and commitment to his work at SBA and the White House born out of a personal understanding of the challenges and successes small business owners face. He knows first-hand the transformative power and positive impact they have not only on the lives of their employees, but also on the communities they serve. These personal experiences fuel Bell’s dedication and tireless tenacity to promote Opportunity Zones and the mission of the White House Opportunity & Revitalization Council which was developed as part of the President’s commitment to all Americans – including those living in underserved and rural communities.
Bell was recognized in 2016 as one of the "Top 40 Young Lawyers" by the American Bar Association. He was a 21st Century Leadership Fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and holds an honorary doctorate from Lighthouse College. Bell earned his law degree at Louisiana State University.
For more information on the August 20th event or any of the upcoming Paducah Chamber events, go to paducahchamber.org.