Top SBA Resource Partners Honored at National Small Business Week - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Top SBA Resource Partners Honored at National Small Business Week

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SOURCE U.S. Small Business Administration

WASHINGTON, May 16, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Four resource partners received top honors today from the U.S. Small Business Administration as entrepreneurial development award winners at National Small Business Week in Washington, D.C., in providing exceptional service, growth, and outreach to their small business communities.

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While overall outreach in providing relevant and timely training and counseling services was an important factor in the resource partner awards, excellence and innovation in assisting small businesses were paramount in determining the winners.

"SBA's dedicated resource partners help us in reaching a million small businesses each year that help drive job creation and economic growth across the nation," said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet.  "We are proud to recognize these resource partner award winners for their role in helping to make our mission a success, and for the impact they make on the small businesses they serve."

The categories for the 2014 SBA Resource Partner Awards are SCORE Chapter of the Year, Small Business Development Center Excellence and Innovation Center Award, Veterans Business Outreach Center Excellence in Service Award and the Women's Business Center of Excellence Award. The award winners are as follows:

SCORE Chapter of the Year
Orange County SCORE
Santa Ana, Calif.
Dennis Wright, Chapter Chair
Carl Woodard, District Director

The Orange County SCORE chapter has consistently served the highest number of clients of all SCORE chapters across the country.  Its culture of innovation is the hallmark of this chapter, which drives continual expansion and improvement in services, bringing more clients into their educational and mentoring services.  

Chapter Chair Dennis Wright has been instrumental in the Orange County chapter's pioneering of the innovative CEO Forum program.  These forums consist of monthly half-day collaborative meetings of small business owners that are facilitated by SCORE mentors.  SCORE Orange County hosted a number of these events in 2013 and, with Wright's guidance; the concept has now been successfully replicated in a number of additional SCORE chapters.

Small Business Development Center Service Excellence and Innovation Center Award
International Trade Center, Small Business Development Center
San Antonio, Texas
Cliff Paredes, Center Director

One of the largest and the most successful trade assistance organization in the State of Texas, the International Trade Center Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is a specialty center of the South-West Texas Border SBDC Network, hosted by the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) Institute for Economic Development.  Established in 1992, the center provides businesses with high-value trade consulting services, cutting-edge market research and innovation training programs that deliver results. 

In 2003, the center began advising foreign governments through what is known as the international SBDC Expansion Initiative with a U.S. Agency for International Development Mexico Training, Internships, Exchanges, and Scholarships initiative between UTSA and the Universal Autónoma de Guadalajara.  As of today, the center has trained more than 1,300 professionals from all over Mexico.  As a result of the project, 120 Mexican SBDCs have formed and the Mexican Association of SBDCs was organized.

Building on the success in Mexico, the program to develop SBDC networks has grown over time to include El Salvador, Central America, Caribbean nations, and South American nations of Colombia and Peru, as well as Tunisia in Northern Africa.

Veterans Business Outreach Center Excellence in Service Award
Veterans Business Outreach Center at Gulf Coast State College
Panama City, Fla.
Brent Peacock, Director

In 2013, the Gulf Coast State College Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) provided small business counseling, training, finance and contracting assistance to more than 2,000 veterans. Of those, 174 were women, 317 were service disabled veterans, and 112 were National Guard and reservists.

Under Brent Peacock's leadership, the VBOC has established an outstanding reputation for giving veterans the tools to capitalize on their already sharp skills, enabling them to build a foundation for successful entrepreneurship.  Serving veterans in the Southern states, the Gulf Coast State College VBOC staff has assisted in securing nearly $6 million in capital investments for their veteran clients. Peacock and the team have been instrumental in helping veteran small business owners acquire 31 prime contracts and 14 subcontracts totaling $274 million.

Peacock also took the lead in implementing the SBA/Syracuse University partnered "Boots to Business" entrepreneurship training program at various military installations for veterans transitioning back to civilian life and small business ownership.  He also did numerous training workshops for Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE), a program aimed at helping women veterans start and grow their businesses.

Women's Business Center of Excellence Award
The Women's Business Center of North Carolina
Durham, N.C.
S. Briles Johnson, Director

The Women's Business Center of North Carolina is a model WBC that has provided outstanding business services designed to promote economic self-sufficiency for all women of North Carolina through entrepreneurship. The center, a partnership between the N.C. Institute of Minority Economic Development and the SBA, has committed itself to increasing the number and the success rate of women-owned small businesses.

In 2013, the center counseled more than 350 clients and provided training to more than 4,300 participants.  During the same period, the center's clients created or retained more than 400 jobs, received contract awards of over $4.2 million, received capital and credit totaling more than $1.8 million and had annual sales over $49 million.

Since 2000, this high achieving center has helped area businesses to grow and diversify the marketplace. The center's dynamic services includes customized one-on-one assistance, training, knowledge, networks and solutions that help to create diverse, globally competitive companies that positively impact the local economy. 

During National Small Business Week, SBA honors State Small Business Persons of the Year from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico, and recognizes businesses recovering from natural disasters, people who have helped others recover from natural disasters, contractors and contracting officers, and a Small Business Investment Company. 

For more information on National Small Business Week and the award winners, visit www.sba.gov/smallbusinessweek.  

Release Number: 14-30

Contact: Cecelia Taylor (202) 401-3059
Internet Address: www.sba.gov/news
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