Signing Launches Relationship with CCC and the U.S. Small Business Administration
CLARKSDALE – Wednesday officially marked the beginning of a great relationship between Coahoma Community College and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) with a program that was highlighted by the signing of a Strategic Alliance Memorandum (SAM) between the two entities.
Since its founding on July 30, 1953, the SBA has delivered millions of loans, loan guarantees, contracts, counseling sessions and other forms of assistance to small businesses across the nation. The signing represented SBA’s commitment to better serve CCC and the communities within the institution’s five districts that include Coahoma, Bolivar, Tallahatchie, Quitman and Tunica counties.
SBA dignitaries in attendance included Region IV Administrator Cassius Butts, Mississippi District Director Janita Stewart and Mississippi Deputy District Director Gary Reed. They were joined by CCC’s President Valmadge Towner, CCC faculty and staff, students, city officials, and community members.
“It’s a very big honor that Mr. Butts, as well as Mrs. Stewart and Mr. Reed, could take the time out of their busy schedule to visit Coahoma Community College,” said CCC’s Dr. Rolanda Brown, organizer of the event.
The program opened with a welcome from CCC student Cameron Cannon, followed by an invocation by Tutwiler’s Police Chief Rico Smith. Reed then gave the program’s occasion, detailing the history of the SBA and it’s purpose. He said although an alliance with CCC has been in the work for several years, it has finally come to fruition.
“Something worth having is worth waiting for, and today is that day,” Reed said.
After a sermonic selection by the Coahoma Community College Men’s Ensemble, Tana Vassel of the Clarksdale and Coahoma County Chamber of Commerce spoke to the audience about the benefit of entrepreneurship to individuals and the community.
“We know that small businesses are the backbone of this community,” said Vassal. “The best part about entrepreneurship is that is doesn’t discriminate—young or old, red or yellow, rich or poor—everyone can succeed at it.”
Stewart then gave statistics on the assistance SAB has already provided in CCC’s five districts, while introducing Butts, the afternoon’s guest speaker.
Butts was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2011, and is responsible for delivery of SBA programs in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Prior to his federal appointment, Butts worked in banking, consulting, and was also a small business owner. During his appointment, Butts has managed oversight of two record-breaking years for SBA Lending in Region IV; nearly $8 billion in SBA-backed loans to small businesses within the aforementioned eight states.
Although Butts discussed the significance of the signing, he also used his time to inspire those in attendance.
“This signing is significant, but this is also an opportunity to help someone be better than they were the day before,” Butts said.
Under his administration, Butts said he has been committed to partnering with Historically Black Colleges and Universities within his region. President Towner thanked him for his eagerness to bring CCC onboard.
“This is a huge deal for the college and the community,” said Towner during his remarks before the signing.
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