Small Business Week grows in second year, capped by awards

For the second consecutive year, the Colorado Springs Small Business Development Center and the Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado devoted an entire week to small businesses, providing workshops and networking opportunities, culminating with an awards luncheon June 20.

The week’s theme, “From Peaks and Valleys to Powerful Pathways: Overcoming Challenges for Business Success,” focused on overcoming obstacles.

“The week was fantastic,” said Matt Barrett, executive director and CEO of the Southern Colorado BBB. “The feedback was that the information was very helpful. People found it very encouraging to realize there are other business owners going through hard times.”

Prior to the event, Barrett said Small Business Week sets out to create awareness of resources available to small businesses in the community; to bring attention to the champions of small business, including volunteers;  to honor and recognize small business successes already in the community; and to educate.

Colorado Springs SBDC Executive Director Aikta Marcoulier said she was pleased with the event, saying, “The week went very well. We had about 100 more attendees than last year. That’s the goal of Small Business Week. We want to educate business owners and get them exposure.”

She said the awards ceremony sold out, with more than 260 attending the luncheon, and 600 people took part in the workshops.

“It couldn’t have happened without the BBB,” Marcoulier said, “but even more so, the 40 outreach partners who helped promote the week and the five corporate partners who helped put on the workshops free of charge all week.”

In addition to providing education tools for business, many individuals were given awards for their dedication to small business and the community. This year’s winners:

• Family Owned Small Business of the Year, presented by Qualtek and Blue Star Recyclers, was given to David Perkins of Perkins Motors;

• Phoenix Award for outstanding contributions to disaster recovery was presented to Bob Cutter;

• Small Business Champion of the Year, sponsored by Janska, was presented to Weist Capital Group’s Laura Long;

• Small Business Person of the Year, sponsored by Pikes Peak Regional Development Corporation, was presented to Magneti CEO Adam Williams;

• Michael Pennica of the Pennica Financial Group received the Veteran-Owned Business of the Year award;

• Young Entrepreneur of the Year, presented by the El Pomar Institute for Innovation and Commercialization, went to Magneti COO Jesse Marble;

• Volunteer of the year, presented by the SBDC, was given to Chuck Bowles.

“I am very honored and humbled to receive such a prestigious award,” said Williams.

“This recognition only inspires me and the rest of the team at Magneti to work even harder to represent small businesses across the Front Range in 2014 and beyond.” nCSBJ