Top lenders honored at National Small Business Week

Three banks, two certified development companies and two Small Business Investment Companies today received the highest recognition by the U.S. Small Business Administration in Washington, D.C., as they were proclaimed 2013 Lenders and Investment Companies of the Year, during National Small Business Week.

Three banks, two certified development companies and two Small Business Investment Companies today received the highest recognition by the U.S. Small Business Administration in Washington, D.C., as they were proclaimed 2013 Lenders and Investment Companies of the Year, during National Small Business Week.  Also honored were four winners in the Entrepreneurial Development category.

While overall portfolio performance was an important factor in the lender and investment awards, in-tier performance, job creation and continued support for small businesses were paramount in determining the winners.

“SBA’s mission in support of small businesses encompasses much more than financial assistance and includes opportunities for investing and all kinds of entrepreneurial support.  Our partners in these important areas are crucial to the success of our mission,” said SBA Administrator Karen Mills.  “We at SBA are proud of that partnership and pleased to honor these award winners for their role in helping small businesses start up, grow and succeed.”

During National Small Business Week, SBA honors State Small Business Persons of the Year from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and recognizes businesses recovering from natural disasters, people who have helped others recover from natural disasters, small business lenders, small business contractors and contracting officers, and advocates for small businesses.

The Large 7(a) Loan Lender of the Year Award went to Wells Fargo of Minneapolis, Minn., which was also the winner in Fiscal Year (FY) 2011.  Wells Fargo made more than $1.24 billion in loans and supported more than 37,000 jobs in FY 2012.

The Small 7(a) Lender of the Year Award was shared by Village Bank & Trust of Des Plaines, Ill. and Eastern Bank of Boston, Mass.  In FY 2012, Village Bank & Trust showed an impressive growth rate in SBA lending of more than 6,000 percent over the previous year and supported more than 940 jobs in its community.  Eastern Bank’s performance focused primarily on underserved markets, where it made 207 loans and supported 2,297 jobs.

Also honored were two Certified Development Companies (CDCs), or 504 lenders, and two Small Business Investment Companies (SBICs).

The CDCs receiving awards were Wisconsin Business Development Finance Corp. (WBD) of Monona, Wis. which won the Large CDC of the Year Award and Community Development Resources of Lincoln, Neb., which was presented with the Small CDC of the Year Award.

WBD has helped fund over 2,000 projects in Wisconsin and last year worked with more than 100 lenders to become the 3rd largest producer out of 225 CDCs in the U.S.  Community Development Resources has provided capital to more than 250 small businesses in Lincoln and last year financed more than $10 million in SBA 504 loans.

Two SBICs were selected 2013 Small Business Investment Companies of the Year. Blue Sage Capital, Austin, Texas, invests in a broad spectrum of small businesses that employ people, advance communities and grow the U.S. economy.  Blue Sage has invested approximately $130 million in 13 small businesses from manufacturing to restaurants to healthcare, and more. Plexus Capital, headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., with a satellite office in Raleigh, N.C, provides growth capital to middle market companies.  Its investments have resulted in almost 5,000 jobs created and/or retained.

The 2013 Entrepreneurial Development Award winners are:

The Lancaster SCORE chapter is the National SCORE Chapter of the Year for 2013.

The Lancaster chapter, located in Lancaster County, Pa., demonstrated significant growth, showing a 67% increase in total services provided and it more than doubled its number of workshop and roundtable attendees over the last 5 years.

The Louisiana Small Business Development Center (LSBDC) Greater New Orleans Region is the recipient of the Small Business Development Center Excellence and Innovation Award.

Over the last decade, LSBDC has provided nearly 350,000 hours of entrepreneurial counseling to more than 55,000 entrepreneurs and offered more than 5,000 training events and seminars to 92,000 attendees.

This year’s Women’s Business Center of Excellence Award winner is the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC).   Since its inception, WWBIC has served more than 47,000 individuals, directly financed more than 1,660 businesses, assisted in creating or retaining more than 7,600 jobs in Wisconsin and loaned more than $29.6 million to small businesses.

The winner of the 2013 Veterans Business Outreach Center Excellence in Service Award is John A. Narciso, small business adviser at the New York State Veterans Business Outreach Center and The Research Foundation of the State University of New York.  Narciso has had a 30-year career as a talented and successful U.S. Naval officer and decorated combat veteran, followed by two decades advising veterans in entrepreneurship.

For more information on National Small Business Week and the award winners, visit www.sba.gov/smallbusinessweek.

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