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Virgin Islands Small Business Week Observance Set May 28 - June 2

The Virgin Islands Small Business Development Center (VI SBDC) and the U.S. Small Business Administration will honor small businesses during Virgin Islands Small Business Week, which is scheduled for May 28 through June 2, 2012. The week will provide small businesses with the opportunity to participate in an array of specialized trainings to foster business growth. The week's highlight will be awards ceremonies set for May 31, on St. Thomas and June 1, on St. Croix.

"I am honored to have three major financial institutions, both private and public, assisting us this year to offer specialized trainings to small businesses," said VI SBDC State Director Leonor Dottin. "It demonstrates their interest in furthering their commitment to the territory's small business owners."

Trainings to be offered include: "Steps in Acquiring a Business Loan," offered by FirstBank Virgin Islands; "Low Cost - No Cost Marketing Ideas;" "How to Identify Small Business Opportunities;" and "How to Aggressively Market to the Federal Government" offered, by Andrew Patricio, owner of and sponsored by ScotiaBank. During his keynote address for the awards ceremony, Patricio will share his Seven Secrets to Building a Successful Business.
The efforts of the VI SBDC clients who have achieved business milestones will also be recognized during Small Business Week.

"As a society we tend to focus and remain focused on the negative circumstances that may surround us, when as a community we must look at the positive things that we have accomplished," Dottin said. This year, among the business owners to be honored are Dr. Audria Thomas, June Archibald, Eldon Providence, Natalie N. Ballantine and Rhea R. Stevens, Salvador Alvarez, Alan Brady and Adeyemi O. Richards. Special recognition will also be given to two Small Business Advocates of the Year - Dr. Anita Roberts and Addie Ottley. Dottin said Dr. Roberts "has increased awareness in the Virgin Islands of government procurement opportunities, growing the territories preparedness for contractors to become HubZone and 8(a) certified." Ottley owner of radio station WSTA-AM 1340, Lucky 13, "has assisted a grand number of Virgin Islands small businesses and has devoted his communication expertise so that Virgin Islanders can make use of his radio station to further their potential to reach a broader segment of our community."

The Government Development Bank will also be recognized as the VI SBDC Financial Advocate of the Year for being the financial organization which has approved the greatest number of loans to clients assisted by the VI SBDC.

The U.S. Small Business Administration will also recognize the accomplishments of two businesses as SBA Small Business Persons of the Year in the territory: on St. Croix Gerard A. James, proprietor of James Memorial Funeral Home, and on St. Thomas, Glenford R. Carty, Jr., owner of Simple Technology DBA Tech Box. The SBA is also recognizing Borrego Springs Bank, based in Panama City, Fla., as bank of the year for its support of small businesses in the Virgin Islands.

"I take enormous pride and pleasure extending congratulations to all the honorees," said Carl Christensen, Virgin Islands Project Officer for the U.S. Small Business Administration. "We understand the tremendous sacrifices each of the honorees has made to become successful entrepreneurs, and we are committed to continuously assisting them in furthering their dreams and commitment to growth."

This year, the awards being offered to the VI SBDC honorees were made from locally recycled products. Artisans Mariel Bass and Greg Lee, from Maho Bay, where tasked with creating the beautiful bowls that will be presented. They are made with recycled glass. The stands on which they will be placed were made by wood artist William F. Johnson from a Mahogany tree that was salvaged from a future construction site.

Small Business Week awards will be held on St. Thomas on Thursday, May 31, and on St. Croix on Friday, June 1. For additional information on all the activities that will take place during Small Business Week, please contact the Virgin Islands Small Business Development Center at (340) 776-3206 on St. Thomas and (340) 692-5270 on St. Croix, or the U.S. Small Business Administration at (340) 718-5381.

Activities offered during Small Business Week are supported by FirstBank VI, Scotiabank, the Economic Development Authority, VI Paving, the USVI Hotel & Tourism Association, Best Western Emerald Beach Resort, the St. Croix Hotel & Tourism Association, the Tamarind Reef Resort and Maho Bay. The Virgin Islands Small Business Development Center is a partnership program of the University of the Virgin Islands and the U. S. Small Business Administration.