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Iowa SCORE chapter takes SBA honor

The East Central Iowa SCORE chapter, a California Women’s Business Center, and a Texas Small Business Development Center were recognized as exemplary mentoring and counseling partners to the U.S. Small Business Administration in providing exceptional service, growth, and outreach to their small business communities.

Each of these resource partners received national Entrepreneurial Development awards during a Small Business Week event this morning in Washington, D.C.  The award event, sponsored by Northrop Grumman Corporation, also highlighted lender awards from the SBA.

“With the help and dedication of SBA resource partners, we reach more than one million small businesses every year to help them drive job creation and economic growth throughout the country,” said SBA Administrator Karen Mills.  “They make a significant impact in the lives of the entrepreneurs that they serve, and in the success of their hometown communities every single day.”

The Entrepreneurial Development Award categories include the National SCORE Chapter of the Year, the Women’s Business Center of Excellence Award, and the Small Business Development Center Service Excellence and Innovation Center Award.

The SCORE Chapter of the Year went to East Central Iowa SCORE; Gregory Tomsic, Chapter Chair; Richard Weeks, District Director; Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

The SCORE Chapter of the Year Award honors a chapter whose volunteer counselors have exceeded high standards for counseling and mentoring small business clients, including expanding counseling services and programs that benefit the local small business community.

East Central Iowa SCORE has demonstrated tremendous growth with an increase of 93% in terms of clients served, exceptional public outreach to community partners, and outstanding client satisfaction. East Central Iowa SCORE also successfully implemented its Business Long Term Recovery Program, a disaster recovery and revitalization program designed to help small businesses recover and thrive after the floods of 2008 and the recession that followed.

Tomsic brings more than 30 years of entrepreneurial experience in product management, business development and new venture management.  He continues to mentor clients and present workshops, and considers serving as SCORE’s chapter chair as the most valued of his responsibilities.  Weeks specialized in training and sales for more than 30 years.  In 1998, he became an entrepreneur and started an international freight forwarder and U.S. Customs broker.  He has been the SCORE district director for the last three years.

The Women’s Business Center of Excellence Award went to Asian Pacific Islander Small Business Program Women’s Business Center Colleen Seto, WBC Director Los Angeles, Calif.

The Women’s Business Center of Excellence Award honors a Women’s Business Center for its excellence and innovation helping women entrepreneurs through a wide variety of training and counseling.  Since in 1999, the Women’s Business Center (WBC) at the Asian Pacific Islander Small Business Program (API SBP) has consistently provided  micro-enterprise development services to assist and equip women, and low-income and immigrants groups.

The API SBP WBC is a collaborative of five community organizations that include the Chinatown Service Center, Koreatown Youth & Community Center, Little Tokyo Service Center CDC, Search to Involve Pilipino Americans, and the Thai Community Development Center.  In its 12 year history, the API SBP WBC has counseled and trained more than 8,000 individuals, businesses and entrepreneurs.  The center, which served nearly 3500 clients in fiscal year 2010, has assisted with the formation of 300 jobs and start-up businesses, and has helped many more to retain jobs and sustain existing businesses. At the helm of the center is WBC Director Seto.

Her background in accounting and financial administration has helped the WBC to maintain a high-level of service through its small/micro credit education and counseling efforts.  The center’s grass-roots approach provides services in language and in culturally appropriate settings.  The center serves as a vital link between the mainstream economy and ethnic small businesses, and helps entrepreneurs to build sustainable businesses in the community.

Small Business Development Center Service Excellence and Innovation Center Award  was given to the University of Texas – Pan American Small Business Development Center Maria; Juarez, Director.

The Small Business Development Center Service Excellence and Innovation Center Award honors a SBDC Service Center for providing value to small businesses and advancing program delivery and management through innovation.  The University of Texas Pan American Small Business Development Center (UTPA SBDC) has a well documented record of success in assisting small business owners to achieve their entrepreneurial dreams.  Fiscal year 2010 was a record year for the center.  The UTPA SBDC counseled more than 300 clients, surpassing its goal, and helped to create nearly 100 new businesses in the Rio Grande Valley area.  It also helped to create or retain nearly 600 jobs, and its capital infusion almost doubled to more than $12 million in funds received from SBA loans, private bank loans, venture capital and direct investments to help start local businesses.

The UTPA SBDC exceeded performance milestones including long-term counseling of clients, new businesses started, capital infusion and client satisfaction.  Along with its dedicated staff, the center has helped build small businesses by creating and implementing innovative programs and events, and has also demonstrated great success through its proactive partnerships.  For 25 years, the center has been a leader in the Southwest for fostering entrepreneurship and growth through innovation and efficiency.

SCORE, Women’s Business Centers, and Small Business Development Centers are part of SBA’s extensive network for small business mentoring, counseling and training at every level, and are located throughout the United States.  In fiscal year 2010, these valued resource partners provided services to more than one million clients nationwide.


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