The 21st annual Enterprise Awards luncheon sponsored by the Arizona Small Business Association (ASBA) (www.asba.com) at the Fairmont Princess Resort in Scottsdale was a lively affair with many worthy small businesses picking up awards. ASBA was joined by U.S. Small Business Administration and the Healthy Arizona Worksites program in the event. The top prize is the Small Business Person of the year, but many more awards were presented.
Cynthia Miracle Reed, president and CEO of MIRACORP of Mesa, Arizona walked away with the top honor as Small Business Person of the Year. A military veteran, she started her company in 1999 in a bedroom converted into an office. How her business boasts a 6,000 square foot company office building and 122 employees. The firm has a presence in Washington, D.C. and 10 states and a record of serving federal agencies like the Departments of Energy, Agriculture, Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security and the Air Force.
Since receiving approval under a federal program for help for socially and economically disadvantaged small businesses to compete for federal contracts MIRACORP has shown a phenomenal growth in revenues of 850 percent. The company offers customers a number of services such as accounting and finance, personnel support, environmental compliance, warehouse management, medical records management, education and training, competitive analysis and strategic planning. The company is now a $7 million firm.
The Small Business Exporter of the Year Award went to James Ratcliff, chairman and CEO of Rowpar Pharmaceuticals in Scottsdale, Arizona. Dr. Ratcliff’s business makes toothpastes, oral rinses and oral sprays. Rowpar holds 20 national and international patents and its products are sold in the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, England, India, Asia and the Middle East.
Vanessa Gleich, director of the American Indian Chamber Educational Fund Procurement Technical Assistance Center in Chandler, was awarded the Enterprise Award for the Minority Small Business Champion of the Year. She has 20 years’ experience in federal procurement and now helps Native American owned companies sell to the government. She also helps over 100 non-native companies each year.
The Young Entrepreneur of the Year award was given to the founder and CEO of Illumin8 Outdoor Media, LLC in Phoenix, Jeffrey Kunowski. While in college he gained 12 internships and started his company. The firm manufactures and sells LED signs made of bright and efficient LED light panels that can be used almost anywhere. Clients include Anheuser Busch, the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Panasonic of North America, the Phoenix Suns, the U.S. Airways Center, the Arizona Diamondbacks and others. He and a partner last year formed another company, MK Solutions Group, to provide innovative technology for sports and entertainment venues.
The Arizona Financial Services Champion of the Year is Stephen Haggard, president and CEO of the Metro Phoenix Bank of Phoenix. He helped Metro Phoenix expand SBA lending and over the last three years it has invested $68 million in Arizona Small Businesses. Haggard spent time on the other side of the fence working for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Division of Supervision. He was a bank examiner in the Kansas City regional office.