News Column

SBA Honors Small Business Champions

May 22, 2012
Small business administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration today honored nine champions of small business. Honorees included a service disabled veteran who is passionate about helping fellow vet entrepreneurs; an African American couple who used their entrepreneurial success in insurance and bonding to advance an underserved entrepreneur community in north Omaha; and the remarkable and ambitious Turkish immigrant who, with financial assistance from SBA, added yogurt to his product line and today is expanding and producing jobs and dominating the U.S. Greek yogurt market.

These small business owners and leaders of small business support organizations were recognized today for their business accomplishments and outstanding support of other entrepreneurs. The Champion Awards were presented in Washington, D.C., as part of the annual observance of National Small Business Week, May 20-26.

"The SBA is proud to honor these men and women as champions of small business. Their tireless efforts have supported small businesses, local communities, and America's economic recovery efforts," said SBA Administrator Karen G. Mills. "They provide the counseling, advocacy, advice and support that small business owners need, and foster an environment where the spirit of entrepreneurship can flourish, resulting in economic growth and job creation."

This year's Champion Awards recognize winners from California, Idaho, two from Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota and Oklahoma. For more detailed information on all the winners, please go to and click on 2012 Winners.

The Champion Awards were presented at the Champion Award Winners Gala in Washington D.C., sponsored by VISA and T-Mobile. Small Business Week events can be seen virtually via streaming video on the Web at

The 2012 National Champions and Special Award Winners are:

2012 National Financial Services ChampionDavid Adams, CEOMichigan Credit Union League, Lansing, Mich.

2012 National Home-Based Business ChampionWendy Navarro, OwnerSaige Nicole's Specialty Baby and Toddler Boutique, Costa Mesa, Calif.

2012 National Minority Small Business ChampionDick Davis, CEO and Sharon Davis, presidentDavis Companies, Omaha, Neb.

2012 National Women in Business Champion Sarah Calhoun, OwnerRed Ants Pants, LLC, White Sulphur Springs, Mont.

2012 National Jeffrey Butland Family-Owned BusinessBrian Jay Hayer, president & CEOWarner and Company Insurance, Fargo, N.D.

2012 National Veteran ChampionKeith King, president & CEOKeith King and Associates, Detroit, Mich.

2012 National SBA Young Entrepreneur Mark Masters, CEO Chloeta Fire, LLC, Oklahoma City, Okla.

2012 National Exporter of the YearAlbert Youngwerth, president; Joe DeGano, sales & marketing manager;and Alison Kelsey, International Distribution DevelopmentRekluse Motor Sports, Inc., Boise, Idaho

2012 Entrepreneurial SuccessHamdi Ulukaya, president & CEO Chobani, Inc., Norwich, N.Y.

Small Business Week 2012 sponsors and co-sponsors include: AARP, Association of Small Business Development Companies, AT&T, Dun & Bradstreet, InterContinental Hotels Group, International Franchise Association, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, National Association of Development Companies, National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders, National Association for the Self-Employed, National Small Business Association, Neustar, Northrop Grumman, Office Depot, Paychex, Inc., Prudential, Raytheon, Sage North America, Salesgenie, SCORE, Small Business Investor Alliance, T- Mobile, VISA, Wall Street Journal and Women Impacting Public Policy.

The U.S. Small Business Administration's participation in this co-sponsored activity does not constitute an express or implied endorsement of any co-sponsor's, donor's, grantee's, contractor's or participant's opinions, products, or services. All SBA programs and co-sponsored programs are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Reasonable arrangements for persons with disabilities will be made, if requested at least two weeks in advance, by contacting Cosponsorship Authorization #SBW2012.

Source: Copyright PRNewswire-USNewswire 2012

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