The Kentucky Small Business Development Center and the Kentucky District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration presented the awards ceremony. Acknowledging the importance of National Small Business Week in the state, Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton recognized the contributions that Kentucky’s small businesses and entrepreneurs make to the state.
“Small business is the backbone of the American economy,” Hampton said. “As you’ve seen over the last several months, Kentucky is experiencing an unparalleled renaissance of economic growth, and it’s only going to continue as we nurture a climate for small business to thrive.”
WLEX-18 Chief Meteorologist Bill Meck served as emcee, and Connie Meck, from the Sign Language Network of Kentucky, provided interpretation for the event.
The Kentucky Small Business Development Center (KSBDC) presented Kentucky Pacesetter awards to 10 businesses. The winners were chosen based on how they are changing Kentucky’s economic landscape by introducing innovative products, increasing sales and/or production, boosting employment and serving their communities.
This year’s Kentucky Pacesetters are:
• Bluegrass Electrical Consultants Inc. of Burlington;
• Doc Lane’s Veterinary Pharmacy LLC of Lexington;
• Imperial Fisheries LLC of Middlesboro;
• Limestone Branch Distillery of Lebanon;
• Oscarware Inc. of Bonnieville;
• The Miller House Restaurant of Owensboro;
• Two Rivers Fisheries Inc. of Wickliffe;
• Universal Compressor Solutions LLC of Mayfield;
• Verbal Behavior Consulting Inc. of Lexington; and
• Victory CNC Plasma, of Owensboro.
“Kentucky has so many outstanding small businesses and entrepreneurs offering amazing products and services. They are critical to Kentucky’s economy and quality of life. We cannot thank them enough or celebrate them enough, but it’s great to try,” said Becky Naugle, KSBDC state director.
The U.S. Small Business Administration has recognized outstanding small businesses each year since 1963. The Small Business Person of the Year winner from each state was acknowledged at both regional and national levels. The 2017 Kentucky Small Business Person of the Year is Debra Dudley, co-founder and president of Oscarware Inc. in Bonnieville. She is also the runner-up U.S. National Small Business Person of the Year.
“I’m so happy, so grateful for this honor,” Dudley said. “It’s not an award I’m just going to put on my desk. To me it’s a reward for the hard work we’ve done in the 28 years we’ve been in business.”
The 2017 Kentucky Small Business Administration award winners are:
Kentucky Small Business Media Advocate of the Year: Tim Preston, editor of Grayson Journal-Enquirer and Olive Hill Times, in Grayson.
Kentucky Financial Services Advocate of the Year: Robert Brandon Feltner, business banking officer at Citizens Bank of Kentucky, in Prestonsburg.
Kentucky Minority-Owned Small Business of the Year: El Kentubano LLC, in Frankfort. Luis David Fuentes is the owner and publisher.
Kentucky Veteran-Owned Small Business of the Year: Land Shark Shredding LLC, in Bowling Green. Don Gerard is the president and CEO.
Kentucky Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year: Puzzles Academy and Puzzles Fun Dome, in Louisville. Kimberly Stevenson is the president.
Kentucky Young Entrepreneur of the Year: Josh Barrett, owner and operator of Josh Barrett and Associates, in Richmond.
“All of us owe a deep debt of gratitude to the entrepreneurs of Kentucky who do so much to make our Commonwealth a prosperous and happy place,” said Ralph Ross, district director of the Kentucky office of the U.S. Small Business Administration.
The Kentucky Small Business Development Center, part of the University of KentuckyCollege of Agriculture, Food and Environment, is a network of 12 offices located throughout the state. The center helps existing and startup businesses succeed by offering high quality, in-depth and hands-on services. KSBDC is a partner program with the U.S. Small Business Administration. More information on KSBDC services can be found on their website, www.ksbdc.org/.