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The Rhode Island office of the Small Business Administration (SBA) is calling for entries for its prestigious annual Small Business Awards, recognizing companies or individuals for exceptional performance.

The awards have been given out for decades, with winners beginning at the local level, and some moving on to regional and national recognition.

It begins by someone nominating a company or individual, and then the nominee completing a nomination package, which must be received by the SBA by 3 p.m., Jan. 9, 2018. Individuals can nominate themselves.

To begin the process nominations can be emailed to the local SBA office (providence.ri@sba.gov) or faxed to 202-481-2551. The initial nomination should contain the name of the nominator, his or telephone number and email; the award nominee’s full name, business name, address, telephone, and email; and the nomination letter noting which category and what makes the business stand out

For additional information, contact the SBA Rhode Island District Office at 401-528-4561, visit https://www.sba.gov/nsbw/awards or www.sba.gov/ri and click on 2018 Small Business Awards: How to nominate a small business.

The categories are Small Business Person of the Year, Small Business Exporter of the Year, Jeffrey Butland Family-Owned Small Business; Minority Small Business Owner of the Year, Veteran Small Business Owner of the Year, Woman Small Business Owner of the Year, Microenterprise of the Year, Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Small Business Manufacturer of the Year, and Financial Services Champion.

Winners in 2017 were: Gary Palardy, president and CEO of Blue Moon Industries of Providence, Small Business Person of the Year; Ann Kaiser, CEO of ProjectEngin, LLC of Barrington, Rhode Island and New England Microenterprise of the Year; Jeffrey Nelson, president and owner of Brassworks Fine Home Details of Providence, Entrepreneurial Success Award; Kevin Redmond, CEO, Joan Redmond, Controller, and Peter Kaczmarek, president and COO of Mearthane Products Corp. of Cranston, Small Business Exporter of the Year.

Also, Laura A. Slack, vice president and senior commercial lender for Freedom Bank of Smithfield, Financial Services Champion; Rachyl Medina Travis, Jaklyn Travis Randall, and Lillian Median Travis, owners of The Travis Family Farm in Scituate, Home Based Small Business of the Year; Roberta A. Degraide, president and Denise Armstrong-Florio, Design Fabricators of Cranston, Jeffrey Butland Family-Owned Small Business of the Year;

Also, Susan Lataille, owner of Discover You Events of North Smithfield, Joseph G.E. Knight Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence; Armando Nieves, president of Armando & Sons Meat Market Group of Providence and Pawtucket, Minority Owned Small Business of the Year; Matthew Tortoa, CEO and Founder of Crave Food Services Corp. of North Kingstown, Veteran Owned Small Business of the Year; Kelly Mendell, president of MIKEL, Inc of Middletown, Woman-Owned Business of the Year; and Aaron Jay Horowitz, president and CEO of Sproutel, Inc. of Providence, Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

The District Director Award was presented to M<ark Cousineau, president of Community Investment Corp.

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Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp.

He currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals.

He is a member of Local Independent Online News Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.