MAY 2015

SJR State, SBA partner to strengthen small business development

Small Business Administration

Members of the Small Business Administration North Florida District met with St. Johns River State College leadership recently to kick off National Small Business Week. The two parties signed a Strategic Alliance Memorandum signifying a joint effort to strengthen and expand small business development in the College’s tri-county district.

College President Joe Pickens thanked SJR State’s Director of Business Education Joel Abo and the SBA’s North Florida District Director Wilfredo Gonzalez for expanding their current affiliation, which includes the SBA serving on the College’s Business Advisory Board, attending college career fairs, and providing specialists to serve as guest speakers.

According to the SBA, the alliance will offer more opportunity for growth. “The SBA has an extensive resource and community partner network that helps us reach many people. The Strategic Alliance Memorandum we signed with St. Johns River State College will allow us to provide greater outreach and support to young entrepreneurs in several North Florida counties,” Gonzalez said. “We look forward to working with the College to provide training and workshops that can benefit the local community.”

Pickens said small businesses are the backbone of the community’s economy. “Our local businesses not only reflect the diversity of Northeast Florida, they bring our district economic value and provide a good source of new employment,” he said. “We are excited to be part of a partnership that will connect our students with additional resources and will encourage innovative business solutions, as well as promising entrepreneurs to arise from our campuses.”

SJR State offers Associate in Science degrees and college credit certificates in accounting, business administration, industrial management technology, office administration, and logistics and transportation. The College also offers a bachelor’s degree in organizational management with four specializations: supervision and management, health care administration, public services administration and computer information systems. For more information on the College’s programs, visit the website at

To learn more about the Small Business Administration and National Small Business Week, visit

Pictured are the Director of the Small Business Administration North Florida District, Wilfredo Gonzalez (seated left) and SJR State President Joe Pickens signing the Strategic Alliance Memorandum. Standing are, from left, Annette Paulson, SBA Economic Development Specialist; Dr. Anna Lebesch, SJR State Vice President for Workforce Development; Joel Abo, SJR State Director of Business Education; and Nayana Sen, SBA Public Affairs Specialist.