The Tulsa Regional Chamber honored nine local companies today at the fifth annual Tulsa Small Business Summit and Awards. Powered by the Chamber’s Tulsa Small Business Connection, the summit is northeast Oklahoma's premier small business event and featured keynote speakers, topical breakout sessions and the annual small business awards presentation.
More than 60 area people and companies were nominated and went through an extensive application process judged by local small business resource partners. Winners are recognized for the impact they make in their industries and their communities.
Small Business Person of the Year: Weldon Bowman, W Design
Women in Business Champion: Julie Smith, Mariner Wealth Advisors
Diversity Business Champion: Jeri Barrientos, First Mate Financial Advisors
Financial Services Champion: Casey Allen, Kiva Tulsa
Veteran Business Champion: Michael Horton, Coffee Bunker
Entrepreneurial Success: Mike and Jim Bausch, Andolini’s Pizzeria
Young Entrepreneur of the Year: Donovan Farrow, Alias Forensics
Pioneer Award: Kent Williams, HRB Consultants
Lifetime Achievement Award: Leadership Tulsa
The Tulsa Small Business Connection’s mission is to educate, empower and expand small business in northeast Oklahoma, accomplished through year-round programming and resources for small business owners and their employees.
“Small businesses make a tremendous impact on our region,” said Kathy Duck, executive director of the Tulsa Small Business Connection. “A strong small business community is a reflection of a strong regional economy, and this event is an opportunity to highlight the incredible work of our entrepreneurs and business owners.”
In addition to the award ceremony, the event featured keynote speaker Kimberly Hicks, vice president of digital media for Disney Channels Worldwide. Local small business experts led breakout sessions on topics such as branding, customer service and human resources.
“The summit is the only event of its kind in our region,” said Amy Bates, owner of Merry Maids Tulsa and chair of the Tulsa Small Business Connection. “We want attendees to leave with ideas and strategies for their business, as well as a feeling of energy and excitement for the outstanding work happening locally.”
Award winners will be eligible to compete for Oklahoma District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration awards.
Last year, several award winners went on to receive Oklahoma SBA awards, including ASC Inc. (Exporter of the Year), the Tulsa Drillers (Family-Owned Business of the Year), Frauke Quiroga, of LUXA Enterprises (Minority Business Champion), and Cynthia Jones Stewart, of EverMore Services (Women Business Champion).