The King County Executive's Small Business Awards ceremony was held today. I had the opportunity to attend and met a great group of business owners and leaders. Essex Porter of KIRO TV was the emcee. Dow Constantine, King County Executive, was our host and presented the Small Business of the Year Award.
This is the fourth year that this awards program has occurred. This is why:
The U.S. Census Bureau of Labor Statistics reported there were 71,070 non-farm firms with employees in King County during 2010, and 95% of these had 50 or fewer employees. The challenges to operating a small business are infinite and often daunting, but the collective contributions of small businesses are vital to the diversity and growth of the county's economy. On behalf of all small businesses throughout the county, this award is given to the small business that best exemplifies the tenacity, perspicacity, and audacity it takes to successfully operate a small business.
All of the nominees were judged on merit within their category, innovation, and community involvement.
This isn't a self-nominated type of award - the nominees didn't know they were being nominated and they were all thrilled just to be nominated. Yes, that sounds trite in these days of awards for anything and everything, but it's true. These are hardworking business owners and executives who don't run a business for the fame and fortune of it. They do it because they love what they do and they strive to do it better every day. They exemplify the best in business leadership. Here are some of their secrets to success:
They are focused on doing the right thing – for their business, employees, customers and community.
They aren’t complacent – they take classes, they read business publications, they hire experts when they need them, they continually invest in their businesses.
They innovate – finding new ways to serve existing customers, utilizing resources in new ways, exploring and opening new markets.
These are the businesses that were nominated. Those in bold ** are the winners in each category.
Small Business of the Year
** Fremont Brewing Company, Seattle
Pacific Bag, Woodinville
Snoqualmie Springs School, Issaquah
Minority Owned Small Business of the Year
Accel BI, Seattle
Brown Pear Solutions, Seattle
** Global Venture, Kent
Woman Owned Small Business of the Year
8 Limbs Yoga Center, Seattle
** Fryer-Knowles Inc, Seattle
Stockbox Neighborhood Grocery, Seattle
Exporting Small Business of the Year
** Concut Inc., Kent
KuKuRuZa Gourmet Popcorn, Seattle
Seattle Safety LLC, Auburn
Rural Small Business of the Year
Big Mountain Electric, Inc., Enumclaw
** Krainick Dairy LLC, Enumclaw
Local Roots Farm, Duvall
Green/Sustainable Small Business of the Year
** Cascadia Consulting Group, Seattle
Green Cleaning Seattle Eco-maid Services, Seattle
Ridolfi Inc., Seattle
Workforce Small Business of the Year
** Community Attributes Inc., Seattle
SkyMania Trampolines, Kirkland
These businesses have generated truly remarkable results. They include:
400% increase in revenue
$25M in revenue
International growth to 20 stores
A diverse employee team where 30% of them are political refugees
Congratulations to all!