The U.S. Small Business Administration is now accepting nominations for its 2019 National Small Business Week Awards, including the annual Small Business Person of the Year. Since 1963 the SBA has recognized outstanding small businesses in several categories and on three various levels – district, region and nationally.

Nominations must be filed by Jan. 9, 2019, and awards on each level will be announced in May. The Rhode Island district typically holds an awards ceremony for winners during National Small Business Week, which is May 5-11, 2019.

“This is a great opportunity to recognize those small businesses that have contributed significantly to their local communities, developed creative products or made advances with innovative technologies,” said SBA Administrator Linda McMahon in a press release announcing the awards process. “A National Small Business Week award is one of the nation’s highest honors for small business achievement.  I encourage you to visit our dedicated website to download forms, criteria and guidelines for submitting a nomination. I look forward to your nomination and wish you the best of luck.”

The SBA names a small business person of the year in each state, while SBA districts recognize award winners in several categories, with some moving on to the regional and national levels.

Last year’s Rhode Island Small Business Person of the Year was Kelly B. Mendell, President of MIKEL, Inc. of Middletown.

Charles Dewey, CEO of Evans Capacitor Co. in East Providence won National Subcontractor of the Year.

There were also three New England winners: Carol Dancer, president of Absorbent Specialty Products, LLC of Cumberland, Woman-Owned Small Business; John Lindsey Shepard, CEO of Veteran Assembled electronics of Providence, Veteran-Owned Small Business; and Buck Harris, vice president, Community Investment Corp. of Providence, Financial Services Champion.

Other Rhode Island winners were:

  • MICROENTERPRISE: Nancy Hatch Warner, Owner of The Worm Ladies of Charlestown, Inc.
  • YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR: Johnny Luo, M.D., President Doctor’s Choice of Warwick.
  • SMALL BUSINESS EXPORTER: Michael Sigourney, CEO & Founder
    Anne Beaupre Sigourney, CFO, Rick Grundy, President of AVTECH Software, Inc. of Warren.
  • SMALL BUSINESS MANUFACTURER, Donald J. Boyle, President of Jade Manufacturing Company, Inc. of Warwick.
  • MINORITY-OWNED SMALL BUSINESS: Alba Lucia Rios Puerto, Owner Spanish Wholesale Center of Central Falls.
  • JEFFREY BUTLAND FAMILY-OWNED SMALL BUSINESS: Lisa M. Sienkiewicz, Co-Owner and Gail Parella, Co-Owner. Gil’s Appliances of Bristol.
  • HOME-BASED SMALL BUSINESS: Kim M. Coulter, William A. Coulter, Nina L. Luchka, Joshua A. Coulter, Partners, Stony Hill Cattle Company, LLC. Of Charlestown.
  • RHODE ISLAND DISTRICT DIRECTOR AWARD: awarded posthumously to Cheryl Watkins Snead, Founder, President and CEO of Banneker Industries, Inc. of North Smithfield.
  • JOSEPH G.E. KNIGHT AWARD FOR ENTREPRENEURIAL EXCELLENCE: Christine Francis, Owner Carmen & Ginger of

All award winners are selected through the nomination process, except for the District Director’s Award. Cheryl Watkins Snead, who died at the age of 59 in January 2018. Through the years, she had become among Rhode Island’s leading small business champions.

For more information or to nominate a small business please contact / 401-528-4630.

Frank Prosnitz

Frank Prosnitz brings to WhatsUpNewp several years in journalism, including 10 as editor of the Providence (RI) Business News and 14 years as a reporter and bureau manager at the Providence (RI) Journal. Prosnitz began his journalism career as a sportswriter at the Asbury Park (NJ) Press, moving to The News Tribune (Woodbridge, NJ), before joining the Providence Journal. Prosnitz hosts the Morning Show on WLBQ radio (Westerly), 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday, and It’s Your Business, also on WBLQ, Monday and Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Prosnitz has twice won Best in Business Awards from the national Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW), twice was named Media Advocate of the Year by the Small Business Administration, won an investigative reporter’s award from the New England Press Association, and newswriting award from the Rhode Island Press Association.