NEWS RELEASE | PRESS OFFICE
Release Date: April 11, 2023 | Contact: Nayana.email@example.com | Release Number: NFL23-06
Jacksonville, FLA. – The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) North Florida District Director, Jonel Hein is proud to announce the 2023 Small Business Week winners for the district and state (as applicable).
“Our small businesses have been resilient in building both through and after the pandemic. This year’s winners have demonstrated growth and the true meaning of entrepreneurial spirit as they have all thrived during very challenging times. Each of these winners are highly deserving of their respective awards,” stated District Director Hein.
*SBA Florida local awards are judged at the district and state levels. State-wide winners have won an additional recognition.
2023 North Florida and State of Florida Women’s Business Center of the Year
Jacksonville Women’s Business Center
Accepted by: Ms. Jackie Perrault, Director (Jacksonville, Florida)
South Florida District Winner: weVenture
2023 North Florida District Small Business Person of the Year
Mr. Tomas Santos-Alejandro, Owner and CEO, Advent Services LLC (Panama City, Florida)
South Florida District and State of Florida Winner: Karina Doracio & Luis Contreras, AmePower
2023 North Florida and State of Florida Woman Business Owner of the Year
Ms. Tonya Oxford, Owner and CEO, Global Technology Integrators LLC (Orlando, Florida)
South Florida District Winner: Rochelle Graham-Campbell, Black Oynx World
2023 North Florida District and State of Florida Minority Business Owner of the Year
Mr. Rick Castillo, President and Founder, Castillo Engineering (Maitland, Florida)
South Florida District Winner: Mark Clifton, Spathe Systems
2023 North Florida District Small Business Advocate of the Year
Mr. Ken Middleton, AVP – Chief Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging Officer,
Jacksonville Transportation Authority (Jacksonville, Florida)
South Florida District and State of Florida Winner: Orlando Espinosa, Emineo Media
2023 North Florida District Rural Business Owner of the Year
Ms. Ashley Simmons, Owner, Simmons and Co. DBA Callie Kay’s General Store (Hilliard, Florida)
South Florida District and State of Florida Winner: Dustin Blank and Stacey Howell, B&H Farms
2023 North Florida and State of Florida Community Partner of the Year
Florida Association of Veteran Owned Businesses
Accepted by Mr. Stuart Smith, Chief Executive Officer (Orlando, Florida)
2023 North Florida District, State of Florida, and Region IV 8(a) Graduate of the Year
Mr. Gabriel Ruiz, LTC USA (R), President/Founder, Advanced IT Concepts, Inc. (Winter Springs, Florida)
The 2023 Small Business Week Award Winners and lenders will be recognized at the 31st annual Small Business Week Celebration on May 5, 2023. The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the University of North Florida and the SBA North Florida will co-host this event. Central Florida winners will be recognized at a private event hosted by the SBDC at the University of Central Florida.
Please contact the South Florida District Office for a complete list of winners for the South Florida territory or more information about winners.
For more information about local winners or programs available through the Small Business Administration, please visit the agency Website at www.sba.gov/northflorida or call (904) 443-1900.
About the U.S. Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.