During the 2020 National Small Business Week, the U.S. Small Business Administration honored its resource partners for their impact on local economic development and support of small business creation and growth across the nation. Additionally, all of the SBA’s Resource Partners were recognized for providing resources to small businesses as they work to sustain their operations and employees, as well as pivot and retool amid the global pandemic. The SBA honored the following resource partners with 2020 National Small Business Week awards:
- Southeastern Connecticut Women’s Business Center
- University of Pittsburgh Small Business Development Center
- Veterans Business Outreach Center at Fayetteville State University
- SCORE Chapter – Greater Seattle
The award winners have been recognized during the SBA virtual event held on September 22-24, 2020. Each year, the SBA counsels, trains and advises more than one million entrepreneurs and small business owners with the help of its resource partners. Together, SBA Resource Partners provide business consulting, access to capital, mentoring services, specialized training, and the expertise for each stage of a business’s lifecycle. Their outstanding efforts have supported the growth of small businesses, which drives the nation’s economy. Entrepreneurs receiving resource partner assistance are more likely to start a business and successfully obtain the financing necessary for business growth.
The SBA congratulates the following 2020 resource partner national award winners:
Women’s Business Center of Excellence Award
Southeastern Connecticut Women’s Business Center
Laura Stetler, Project Director, Women’s Development Business Council
New London, Connecticut
Since 2018, the Southeastern Connecticut Women’s Business Center (WBC), based in New London, has served the southeast part of Connecticut, including New London and Middlesex Counties, with programs and services for aspiring, emerging and established entrepreneurs.
The Women’s Business Center of Excellence Award honors the Southeastern Connecticut WBC for its excellence and innovation in assisting women entrepreneurs by providing diverse training and counseling.
The state of Connecticut’s Women’s Business Development Council is host to three of SBA’s WBCs, including the Southeastern Connecticut WBC. The WBC program was founded to foster the growth of women-owned businesses by providing access to education, training, mentoring, business development, and financing opportunities to women throughout the U.S. and its territories.
Small Business Development Center Excellence and Innovation Award
University of Pittsburgh Small Business Development Center (SBDC)
Raymond Vargo, Director
Established in 1979, the University of Pittsburgh has built an impressive record of service for clients. Director Raymond Vargo believes three of his SBDC’s programs stand out as key to area small business growth and development. A “Launch My Business” workshop is geared toward providing small business startup advice to entrepreneurs in coal-impacted communities interested in opening the doors to small business ownership. The University of Pittsburgh SBDC’s “Problem Solvers-Decision Makers” course brings small business owners together, sharing ideas and formulating solutions to growth issues. And two programs titled “UPMC Essentials for Success and “Doing Business with Pitt,” registered such positive feedback that they’ve now been expanded into additional Pennsylvania communities and emulated by other universities and colleges.
The University of Pittsburgh SBDC is a member of the Pennsylvania SBDC and the Association of Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC) networks. As a member of these networks, they can draw on a rich base to provide clients with a comprehensive range of business services for every stage of development. No matter what the business or industry, SBDC’s highly skilled consulting team has experience spanning the business lifecycle and are here to make sure that businesses not only survive but grow.
Veterans Business Outreach Center Excellence in Service Award
Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) at Fayetteville State University
Tamara Bryant, Director
Fayetteville, North Carolina
The Veterans Business Outreach Center at Fayetteville State University provides veterans, active duty, and military spouses with the tools needed to establish and grow their businesses, generate profits, and become essential contributors to the economic development of North Carolina. Last year, the VBOC at FSU counseled 734 clients, contributing to the creation of 92 jobs. Thanks to a strong partnership with local lenders, the center helped clients access more than $1.2 million in startup and expansion capital.
The center also conducted 43 Boots to Business and Boots to Business Reboot classes, with 672 participants across four installations. During 2019, the center also organized 60 seminars and training sessions for 1,558 participants.
SCORE Chapter of the Year
SCORE Greater Seattle
Krista Fuller, Chapter Chair
Tom Hughes, Assistant District Director
SCORE Greater Seattle has a proven track record of results and the ability to create sustained community impact. With more than 100 skilled mentors and added educational workshops, the chapter has helped Greater Seattle’s small businesses to start and grow.
SCORE Greater Seattle is viewed as one of the strongest chapters in the country. They regularly assist other chapters with tools and advice on growing, improving, and managing their chapters. They have developed best-in-class Volunteer Engagement, Client Engagement and Community Engagement practices, which are regularly shared with other chapters around the country.
In addition to the national virtual awards event, SBA offices in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Guam will celebrate National Small Business Week throughout September 2020. For registration and additional information on National Small Business Week, please visit sba.gov/NSBW.