Sixteen owners of small Kansas businesses were honored by the Kansas Small Business Development Center and its eight regional centers and two outreach centers in a March 8 ceremony in the state Capitol.
The long list of invitees included Gov. Kathleen Sebelius; Dr. Larry Gould, Fort Hays State University provost; all state legislators; the Kansas congressional delegation; members of the KSBDC Advisory Board; SBA officials; KDOC officials; the presidents of the state's universities and community colleges; Chamber of Commerce directors; officials from the KSBDC Regional Centers; and representatives from the news media.
"Our economy couldn’t survive without entrepreneurs and the businesses they launch," said Gov. Sebelius. "Every business in existence today – large or small – was born out of the dream of an entrepreneur, and small businesses are the foundation upon which our prosperity is built, which is why we must encourage their creation and success.
"This year we are again honoring successful Kansas entrepreneurs and small businesses which are important parts of our state's growing prosperity. They're helping make our state a stronger and more prosperous place, and I'm proud to celebrate their achievements."
"Entrepreneurship and innovation are the keys to a revitalized Kansas economy," said Wally Kearns, state director of the KSBDC. "From its inception in 1983, the Kansas Small Business Development Center Network has been growing Kansas entrepreneurs by delivering one-on-one counseling, training and support services to small businesses and entrepreneurs in every county in Kansas."
Also on the guest list was Dr. Edward Hammond, president of Fort Hays State University, who made key remarks about entrepreneurship and the importance of small business to Kansas" economy. FHSU serves as the administrator of the KSBDC network, which is a partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Kansas Department of Commerce.
Members of the public, including family and friends of the honored businesses, also attended.
The ceremony was sponsored by Emprise Bank, Hays; Farmer's State Bank, Westmoreland; Federal Home Loan Bank, Topeka; Labette Bank, Parsons; Peoples State Bank, Colby; Pottawatomie County Economic Development Corporation; The Bank of Ulysses, a branch of the Johnson State Bank; and The First National Bank of Girard, Girard.
The highlight of the ceremony was the presentation of 16 plaques to the businesses by each business's state senator and representative. Six of the awards were for Existing Businesses of the Year, and 10 were for Emerging Businesses of the Year.
The Existing Business of the Year honorees were Flint Hills RV, Andover (Emporia State University KSBDC); Truck Town, Colby (Fort Hays State University KSBDC); Burns Auto Repair Inc., Frontenac, (Pittsburg State University KSBDC); Jayhawk File Express, Lawrence & Topeka (University of Kansas KSBDC); Compton Hardware, Horton (Washburn University KSBDC); and KNCK Inc. dba KNCK/Kiss FM, Concordia (Wichita State University-Cloud County Community College KSBDC).
The Emerging Business of the Year honorees were The Sweet Granada, Emporia (ESU KSBDC); Coffee Rules Inc., Hays (FHSU KSBDC); Critical Care Transfer Inc., Ulysses, (Garden City Community College KSBDC); Olivia's Oven, a division of Sweet Celebrations LLC, Kansas City, Kan., (Johnson County Community College KSBDC); GY Consulting, LLC, Parsons (PSU KSBDC); Paradise Floors, Lawrence (KU KSBDC); Gilmore Crane Corporation, Topeka (WU KSBDC); Bissen Concrete LLC, Westmoreland (WU KSBDC); Mid West eServices Inc., Salina (WSU-CCCC KSBDC); and HMA Medworks LLC, Wichita (WSU KSBDC).
Since the inception of the program in 1983, the KSBDC Network has consulted with more than 80,000 clients and has conducted in excess of 4,400 workshops with more than 77,800 entrepreneurs in attendance.
For more information on the Kansas Small Business Development Center, call 1-877-625-7232, or Wally Kearns, KSBDC state director, at (785) 296-6514.