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Each year in celebration of National Small Business Week, the U.S. Small Business Administration in Maine recognizes outstanding small business owners and their champions for their achievements and successes. Every day Maine entrepreneurs work tirelessly to provide quality goods and services to their customers as well as provide job opportunities for their employees and themselves. Many of these business owners have utilized SBA programs including loan guarantees, business advising through SBA’s resource partner network, or government contracting certifications to assist in their business growth. These entrepreneurs deserve our gratitude and support and we welcome the opportunity to acknowledge their efforts and share their stories.

Locally, the SBA holds a widely attended annual event to present awards and hear from some of Maine’s finest entrepreneurs. This event is the highlight of our year and without fail, each year we marvel at the journeys our award winners have taken on their pathway to success. These award winning small businesses and their champions have been nominated by our partners, supporters, and community members. They openly share their times of success as well as the hurdles and challenges they’ve overcome along the way. The audience, comprised of nominators, family, friends, lenders, SBA partners, and the Maine SBA team finds great inspiration in these stories and we hope to uncover more of these uplifting stories with our 2020 Maine SBA Small Business Awards.

In 2019 we recognized an outstanding group of awardees including our Small Business Persons of Year, Janie Wang and Chris Anderson, owners of Modernist Pantry in Eliot. As the proverbial story goes, Janie and Chris started their business in the basement of their home turning their hobby and love of cooking into a thriving and growing business. Over the next 8 years, they steadily grew their business which provides specialized ingredients and gadgets for modern cooking styles. They now fill orders for their customers, professional chefs and home cooking enthusiasts, from their expansive building that houses hundreds of products. With the help of an SBA 504 loan they were able to buy the land and build their state of the art facility that can accommodate the rise in e-commerce orders the couple has seen.  

We know there are many stories like Janie and Chris out there, but we need your help with nominations. SBA awards are presented in a variety of categories and some are competed nationally but with a significant focus on recognition and promotion throughout Maine. Some of the business award categories are: Small Business, Woman Owned, Veteran Owned, Exporter, Family Owned, and Small Manufacturer just to name a few. Currently we are seeking nominations, with initial nominations due December 13th and a completed package for finalists due on January 7th, 2020. For a complete list of categories and criteria, please visit our website for all the details: www.sba.gov/me or email .      

Please help us discover and recognize Maine’s extraordinary small businesses!