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SD CEO launches new statewide awards program; seeks nominations

The South Dakota Center for Enterprise Opportunity (SD CEO) at Black Hills State University is launching a Women in Business awards program and is currently seeking nominations.  The awards program is designed to highlight the impact of outstanding women entrepreneurs across the state.

All are encouraged to visit
www.BHSU.edu/SDCEO to nominate successful South Dakota women entrepreneurs who have made a significant impact in business and whose actions exemplify savvy business acumen, integrity, compassion, and commitment to community.

According to Helen Merriman, director of  SD CEO, the awards program is an opportunity to celebrate the efforts of business women on a statewide stage and to say thank you.

The awards will be announced and presented at the Celebrating Women in Business luncheon Thursday, May 17, at the Holiday Inn in Spearfish.

Nominees must be women whose business is located in South Dakota. The four award categories include:  The Enterprising Young Entrepreneur, The Enterprising Business Team, The Enterprising Business Woman, and The Enterprising Friend of Small Business. All nominations are confidential.

Nominations can be submitted via the website www.BHSU.edu/SDCEO or mailed to: SD CEO, 1200 University St., Unit 9511, Spearfish, SD 57799. Deadline for nominations is Monday, April 16, 2012 at midnight MST. A list of requirements and criteria can also be found at www.BHSU.edu/SDCEO. For more information about SD CEO or the awards program, call 605.642.6435.

Requirements for nominations include:

·         Nominations should be submitted on behalf of an individual or business.                                      

·         Each nomination narrative should be 300 words or less

·         Two (2) references are required for each nomination

·         Nominations are to be submitted via the website www.BHSU.edu/SDCEO or mailed to: SD CEO, 1200 University St., Unit 9511, Spearfish, SD 57799.

·         Deadline for nominations: Monday, April 16, 2012 at midnight MST

Criteria for each of the four categories:

Nominations for The Enterprising Young Entrepreneur, The Enterprising Business Team, and The Enterprising Business Woman must meet the Small Business Administration (SBA) definition of a small business: a business must have less than $7 million in average annual receipts.

The Enterprising Young Entrepreneur - This woman entrepreneur has created a successful business by demonstrating outstanding skill and commitment.  Self-nominations will not be accepted; and nominations from fellow business owners, members of the community, trade and professional organizations are welcome.

This woman:  has a minimum of 3 years in her current business; is 35 years or younger as of May 17, 2012; and is a small business entrepreneur.

The Enterprising Business Team - An individual business owner may nominate her team for their significant contributions to the business. Self-nominations will be accepted, as well as nominations from fellow business owners, members of the community, trade and professional organizations.

The nominated team:  is the staff of a woman-owned business; has a minimum of seven (7) years in business; and collectively demonstrates outstanding skills and customer service. 

The Enterprising Business Woman - This dynamic business woman has achieved substantial success in her business and community.  Self-nominations will not be accepted.  Nominations from fellow business owners, members of the community, and trade and professional organizations are welcome.

This woman: is a small business owner or majority owner; has a minimum of seven (7) years in business; demonstrates outstanding skill, commitment, and accomplishment while successfully navigating obstacles; and influences, mentors, and encourages others.

The Enterprising Friend of Small Business - This business is an advocate for the growth and development of small business. Self-nominations will not be accepted. Nominations from fellow business owners, trade and professional organizations and members of the community are welcome.

This business: may be a business of any size; does not need to be woman-owned; and demonstrates commitment and ongoing support to the success of women-owned businesses.

The SD CEO is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA), and is part of a network of more than 110 centers nationwide established through the SBA’s women’s business funding. While services are available to all those interested in entrepreneurship, there is a special emphasis on women, women veterans, Native Americans, the socially and/or economically disadvantaged, and youth entrepreneurs.

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