All About the SBA

Hear from our panel of experts on all things SBA, and the crucial support it offers to owners of privately held businesses including, but not limited to SBA loan guarantees, and more recently PPP and federal disaster loans.

Followed by Q&A and networking breakout sessions.

The Center for Free Enterprise is back to in-person events! Our first three events were well-attended, safe, and successful. Our next event will be moderated by CFE Co-founder Ben Calkins of the Calkins Law Firm, Ltd. The panel includes:

  • Thomas Sangrik from the SBA
  • John Kropf of Growth Capital Corp.
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About Ben Calkins

CFE co-founder Ben Calkins is an honors graduate of Harvard College and the University of Michigan Law School. His “new model” law firm, The Calkins Law Firm, Ltd. is a premier boutique law firm that specializes in business law and focuses on business transactions and business disputes. He maintains a perfect 10 “Superb” rating from Avvo.com and was presented the Client Distinction Award by Martindale Hubbell. Ben is the former President of both the Harvard Club of Northeast Ohio and Ohio Venture Association. Mr. Calkins co-founded the North Coast Angel Fund, one of the largest angel funds in America, as well as the Center for Free Enterprise.

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About Thomas Sangrik:

Thomas Sangrik is a Lender Relations/Economic Development Specialist and the District International Trade Officer (DITO) at the SBA’s Cleveland, Ohio District Office, which covers 28 counties in Northern Ohio. Tom’s territory includes the counties of Lake, Geauga, Ashtabula, Mahoning, and Trumbull, Columbiana, Carroll, and Jefferson Counties in Ohio.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was created in 1953 as an independent agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation. The SBA works with local lending institutions and community organizations to provide access to capital to eligible small businesses with our financing programs. Although SBA has grown and evolved in the years since it was established in 1953, the bottom line mission remains the same. The SBA helps Americans start, build and grow businesses. Through an extensive network of field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations, SBA delivers its services to people throughout the United States.

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About John Kropf:

John Kropf has been President & Executive Director since 2005. Prior to joining Growth Capital, John served as the Vice President and Deputy Director with Bridgeway Capital in Pittsburgh where he leads their Certified Development Company to Number One CDC status as well as the Number One SBA Microloan lender. John also worked with Wells Fargo Financial and his nearly 30 years of experience in lending, business development, marketing, and organizational leadership have led to Growth Capital being the number one SBA 504 lender in the State of Ohio and the number one SBA Community Advantage lender in the entire Midwest.

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