An Alabama State University leader who spent decades working to help the area’s small businesses died unexpectedly Wednesday after a short illness, the school said.
Lorenza Patrick was the director of ASU’s Small Business Development Center for 20 years, and he and his staff helped entrepreneurs get their businesses started, helped small business owners get loans, and organized counseling and training sessions. The school said Patrick has personally counseled more than 2,600 people and helped with the creation of more than 200 businesses.
Under his leadership, the center’s procurement program has helped land more than $166 million in contracts for local businesses.
He was 69.
Patrick was “a true advocate for all small business owners, women in business and minority business-people,” ASU spokesman Kenneth Mullinax said. “His SBDC at ASU has helped countless small business owners and employees in this area with a myriad of information and government assistance that helped them establish businesses and expand existing businesses.”
In February, fnancial advisory site NerdWallet ranked the Montgomery area as one of the top places in the nation for black-owned businesses, citing resources like the SBDC and the support they provide.
Patrick also was a trustee and deacon at Beulah Baptist Church in Montgomery and served on numerous local and regional development committees.
Visitation will be 2 to 8 p.m. Monday at the Ross-Clayton Funeral Home, 1412 Adams Avenue. The phone number is 262-3889. Patrick’s funeral service will be 11 a.m. Tuesday at Beulah Baptist Church, 3703 Rosa Parks Ave. Burial will follow at Eastwood Cemetery.
Condolences for the family may be sent to the funeral home and flowers are welcomed.
May 21, 2015