Dustin Baker: The SBA Roadshow

April 30, 2021

Our very own Dustin Baker

premiered the first season of the SBA Roadshow here at 36°N on Monday, April 26. The SBA Roadshow is a mini-series dreamed up by Dustin that showcases the positive impact of the Small Business Administration's loan programs on communities all over the U.S. The series follows Dustin, Founder, and CEO of Baker Lewis, on a cross-country roadshow visiting small businesses who benefited from SBA and Paycheck Protection Program loans during the pandemic, and the banks who helped them. Dustin’s mission in creating the SBA Roadshow is to build community through shared stories—stories of resilience, determination, and persistence that define the entrepreneurs who are the backbone of the U.S. economy. In the series, Dustin travels across the country to check in with the business founders and owners who received PPP loans that were necessary to keep their businesses alive through the pandemic.

Monday night’s premiere welcomed friends, family, and nationally ranked SBA lenders to our space to check out the first episode of the SBA Roadshow and hear from its creators. In Season 1, Dustin starts in Oklahoma and heads east, interviewing 11 businesses and SBA lenders on his way through Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, and Illinois. The people and businesses he meets along the way share their stories of adversity and triumph as they explain the impact of receiving PPP and other SBA loans in the most trying times.

Oh- and Dustin isn’t just talking the talk. In 2020, Baker Lewis shifted from its
regular consulting practice to help 52 small businesses secure PPP loans for a
total of $7.3 million, with loan sizes ranging from $2,000 to $884,000.

One of the stops Dustin made along his way was a visit to the Garners in Columbia, Tennessee. Blair Garner is a nationally syndicated on-air radio personality and member of both the National Radio Hall of Fame and the Country Radio Hall of Fame. He left the microphone in 2020 when he and his husband Eric purchased a long-abandoned Baptist church south of Nashville, taking out an SBA loan to convert the property into a state-of-the-art live streaming music venue - The Mulehouse. The Garners made the decision mid-pandemic to move forward with construction and are set to open the doors this May.

“We’re grateful that Dustin was able to visit us here in Columbia - - giving us the opportunity to share our story of opening a new business during this challenging time,” said Blair, Owner and Founder of The Mulehouse in Columbia, TN. “There’s power in community, and my hope is that small business owners will continue to work together to help each other rise above the adversity that we’ve all experienced over the past year. It’s impactful to see businesses extending goodwill by telling their SBA success stories- there are many to be told.”

Dustin is a relatively new Tulsan, having relocated his family to the city in July of 2020. As soon as he got here, he set up the Baker Lewis headquarters office here at 36 Degrees North, Tulsa’s Basecamp for Entrepreneurs, where he is surrounded by other small businesses and passionate entrepreneurs. Dustin actually moved to Tulsa as a part of the Tulsa Remote program which brings diverse, bright, and driven remote workers and entrepreneurs to our city to build community, collaborate, and network.

The SBA Roadshow is a collaboration between Dustin’s firm and DynamikWorks, a branding and production company owned by fellow Tulsa Remote participants Rich and Khadijah Barber, who Dustin met through the program shortly after relocating to Tulsa.
Ben Stewart, Executive Director of Tulsa Remote, says this is exactly the kind of professional connectivity that the program exists to create.

“Tulsa Remote’s biggest differentiator is our deep commitment to fostering community among our members. Time and time again, we have seen that connecting our members to the network of existing members, alumni and the broader Tulsa community has been critical to our program and our members’ success,” said Ben, “ I am thrilled to see Dustin, Rich and Khadijah use this opportunity to come together through the Tulsa Remote and create exciting new projects as an outcome.”

We’re so proud of Dustin and the Barber Family for their hard work showcasing small businesses across the country and the lenders that helped them succeed! Check out the awesome event recap video below produced by DynamikWorks! You can watch Season 1 of the SBA Roadshow on their website. Stay tuned for Season 2 premiering later this summer, which will follow Baker through the Mountain West states of Colorado and Utah, as he visits more small businesses impacted by SBA loans.

SBA Roadshow World Premiere Highlights

SBA Roadshow Episode 1

SBA Roadshow Episode 2