Small business awards nominations are open

Montana’s best entrepreneurs and most successful small business owners, along with business leaders who support job growth and economic development, will be recognized for their achievements next year as SBA’s annual awards nomination process opens.

To honor these enterprising individuals the SBA celebrates National Small Business Week around the first week of May each year. The lead-up to this annual event includes soliciting nominations in every SBA district office, state and U.S. territory.

 “This is the one time of the year when Montana citizens and small business supporters salute and celebrate the day-to-day effort, sacrifice and commitment that goes into starting, building and growing a successful small business,” said Wayne Gardella, district director of the Montana SBA district office. “It takes a special person to start and run a small business, one who accepts and manages risk, and who has the passion, skill and discipline to seize an opportunity for him or herself, their family and their community.”

The Montana Small Business Person of the Year and the Montana Small Business Exporter of the Year go on to compete for recognition as the best in the nation in their categories. So does the 8(a) Graduate of the Year, competing with other graduates of the SBA minority business development contracting program from around the country.

As it has in the past, the Montana state SBA office will also recognize small business owners in the categories of Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year, Veteran-Owned Small Business of the Year, Millennial Entrepreneur of the Year, and the Montana Small Business Champion of the Year.

“While not eligible for national competition,” said Gardella, “these job-creators and small business advocates are essential to the economic health and vitality of Montana and deserve special recognition.”

The criteria for award eligibility and all nomination forms are on the Montana SBA website, The deadline for submitting nominations for these awards is Jan. 9, 2018. After reviewing the guidelines and forms, questions about the process for nominations can be directed to Sharon Franjevic by phone, (406) 441-1083, or by e-mail:

In addition to these state and national awards, the national SBA office in Washington, D.C., has created several special categories of awards for contracting, lending, and disaster assistance. A complete list of these awards, eligibility requirements, and nomination forms is available at

Montana’s winners will be recognized May 3, 2018, at a ceremony in Billings. Details on this event will be forthcoming. Winners from Montana and all the states and U.S. territories who are competing for national awards will be announced from Washington, D.C., during National Small Business Week, April 30 – May 4, 2018.



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