The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is seeking nominations for Small Business Person of the Year awards given annually to outstanding small businesspersons and small business champions.

The president of the United States designates one week each year to recognize the small business community's contributions to the American economy. Small Business Person of the Year winners from every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam, spend three days in Washington, D.C. for small business-related activities and meetings with government officials. The SBA Boise District Office holds an award event in the spring to honor state and regional winners.

National winners are chosen from the state and regional winners.

"Small businesses are essential elements in sustaining our nation's economic growth, and currently represent about 97 percent of all employers," said Thomas Bergdoll, SBA's Boise District Office district director. "Small Business Week is an opportunity for all of us to acknowledge with pride and gratitude the contributions America's small business community make to our nation's quality of life."

Small businesses today generate approximately 50 percent of non-farm private gross domestic product, employ 52 percent of private sector workers, and make up 97 percent of all exporters. Small businesses also lead the nation in job creation, providing about three-quarters of net of new jobs. Champion awards are given to persons who have used their professional skills or personal talents to further public understanding and awareness of small business.

Categories include: SBA Young Entrepreneurial of the Year. Financial Services Champion, Home-Based Business Champion, Minority Small Business Champion, Small Business Exporter of the Year, SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Small Business Journalist of the Year, Veteran Small Business Champion, Family-Owned Small Business of the Year, and Women in Business Champion.

Individuals, organizations such as professional and trade associations, business organizations, chambers of commerce, banks or a small business' employees may submit nominations. Small business owners may nominate themselves. Nominees for champion awards do not have to be small owners.

Winners are selected based on Length of time in business, growth in the number of employees, increases in sales and/or unit volume, improvements in financial condition, responses to adversity, and the business owner's contributions to community-oriented projects.

The deadline for submitting nominations is Dec. 3. For information and forms, contact Rodney Grzadzieleski in the SBA Boise district office at (208) 334-9004, extension 333, by e-mail, or stop by the SBA's Boise District Office at 380 E. Parkcenter, Suite 330.

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