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SBDC/SBA to Honor Small Business in the Virgin Islands June 1-7

The Virgin Islands Small Business Development Center (VI-SBDC) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will honor small businesses during Virgin Islands Small Business Week from June 1 through 7. The week’s highlight will be the annual awards ceremonies set this year for St. Croix, on June 5, and for St. Thomas, on June 6. The week will also provide small businesses with the opportunity to participate in specialized training sessions designed to foster business growth.

The keynote speaker for the awards ceremonies will be Mitch Meyerson, an entrepreneur, visionary, speaker, trainer and author of eleven books. Myerson has helped the owners of businesses worldwide break through barriers and create the personal and professional lives they desire.

 The efforts of VI-SBDC clients who have achieved business milestones will be recognized during Small Business Week.

“As a society we tend to focus and remain focused on the negative circumstances that may surround us, when as a community we must look at the positive things that we have accomplished,” said VI SBDC State Chair Leonor Dottin. This year, among the business owners the VI SBDC will honor are Yoki Hanley of Itiba, LLC, Jill Farley of Cool Signs, Cyril and Gemene Thomas of Just Threads, Marston Adams of Kiki’s Automotive, Inc., and Jennifer Jackson and Lionel Jacobs of Awarak Bay: The Inn at Salt River, LLC. The Small Business Advocate of the Year is The Virgin Islands Daily News.

The awards ceremonies will be among several activities held on the same day. There is the Small Business Week Business Showcase, which features several small businesses and our major sponsors, for the Small Business Week activities from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; the awards ceremony and video presentation from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.; the Awards Luncheon and Keynote address from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m.; and the seminar on “Protecting Your Business and Your Future” from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The U.S. Small Business Administration will also recognize the accomplishments of three business persons as SBA Entrepreneur of the Year: on St. Croix Angel Diaz, owner of La Reine Chicken Shack; on St. John Curtis Penn, the owner of Carib Villas & Resorts; and on St. Thomas Dr. Michael S. Barrow, owner of Happy Teeth Dental Office. The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Bank of the Year is Banco Popular de Puerto Rico.

This year, the awards being offered to the VI SBDC honorees were made locally by Wood Artist William F. Johnson from a mahogany tree.

“I am honored to have four institutions, both private and public, assisting us this year to offer specialized trainings to small businesses,” said Dottin. “It demonstrates their interest in furthering their commitment to the territory’s small business owners.” Training sessions scheduled for the week include “Mastering Online Marketing: The Five keys to Building a Profitable and Sustainable Business with Online Presence” and “Protecting Your Business and Your Future.” Vice President of Asset Protection for Banco Popular Héctor Torres will present the seminar Protecting Your Business and Your Future.

Small Business Week awards ceremony will take place on St. Croix on Thursday, June 5, at the Divi Carina Bay Resort, and on St. Thomas on Friday, June 6, at Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort. For additional information on all the activities that will take place during Small Business Week, please contact the Virgin Islands Small Business Development Center at (340) 776-3206 on St. Thomas or (340) 692-5270 on St. Croix, or the U.S. Small Business Administration at (340) 718-5381.

All the activities being offered during Small Business Week are being made available by the support received from FirstBank VI, viNGN, Banco Popular and the Virgin Islands Economic Development Authority.

The Virgin Islands Small Business Development Center is a partnership program of the University of the Virgin Islands and the U. S. Small Business Administration.