Local business women recognized at Annual Women in Business Luncheon

By the early bird deadline, the 8th Annual Celebrating Women In Business Luncheon, hosted by the South Dakota Center for Enterprise Opportunity (SD CEO) at Black Hills State University, announced the annual event was sold out, reaching 400 registrations for another breaking record year for the Celebrating Women In Business Luncheon. The event was held on May 12 at the Spearfish Holiday Inn Convention Center in Spearfish, SD.

During the luncheon small business were recognized by the South Dakota Center for Enterprise Opportunity and the Small Business Administration. The SD CEO awards program were designed to highlight the impact of outstanding women entrepreneurs across the state of South Dakota. Winners in the four award categories were:  Monna Patton, Lil' Angel's Inc. (Enterprising Business Woman) Miranda Papendick and Brooke Bradsky, AJ's Wicked Salon & Spa (Enterprising Young Entrepreneur)  Anderson, Nil & Associates, Inc. (Enterprising Business Team)  Leah Braun, Harney Business Group (Enterprising Friend of Small Business).

"We are so pleased to recognize these outstanding women who have truly made an incredible impact in their communities," says Helen Merriman, director, SD CEO. "Starting and growing a business is very challenging, and these women continually validate the courage, determination, and savvy business knowledge it requires to start, grow, and sustain a successful business in South Dakota."

The Small Business Administration also presented four awards during the 8th Annual Luncheon. The SBA presented the Leadership Circle Award to Black Hills Federal Credit Union. While Tim Johnson from Diamond Hospitality received the 2017 SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year award.  Jamie Gilcrease-Heupel, the luncheon's guest speaker and owner of Lotus Up Espresso & Deli in Lead, SD, to her surprise was presented the 2017 SBA Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year. Helen Merriman, Director  of  SD CEO was awarded the 2017 SBA Champion of the Year

Winners in the award categories are:

The Enterprising Business Woman Award was presented to Monna Patton of Lil's Angel. Patton open the first convenience store and gas station in 1991 in Kyle, SD where she caters the business to the needs of the town.  

The Enterprising Young Entrepreneur Award was presented to sisters Miranda Papendick and Brooke Bradsky, of  AJ's Wicked Salon and Spa. The Rapid City salon first open its doors in 2010, with a passion for self-expression and professional cosmetology.

The Enterprising Business Team Award was presented to Anderson, Nill & Associates from Pierre, SD. The current tax and bookkeeping service team has increased gross revenues and net profits. The team of six women and one man are also dedicate their time to service on community boards and volunteering at non-profits and more in the Pierre area.

The Enterprising Friend of Small Business Award was presented to Leah Braun, Principal of Harney Business Group. Braun has led successful coaching and training sessions for business and groups throughout the Black Hills area since 2012.

The 2017 Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year was presented to Jamie Gilcrease-Heupel.  This award recognizes an exceptionally successful woman-owned small business. Jamie acquired her coffee shop in 2010 and renamed it Lotus Up Espresso and Deli.  She worked with the city and a local development group to acquire a prominent but undeveloped lot across the street from the former Homestake Open Cut Mine, one of the most famous landmarks in the Black Hills. On June 2016, she opened the doors to a multi-level establishment that would be home to her coffee house and three other viable businesses, including Lead's only pharmacy.

The 2017 Leadership Circle Award is presented to the top tier of lenders participating in the SBA's guaranty lending program. This year the award went to Black Hills Federal Credit Union with 16 loans totaling over $5.5 million.

The 2017 Young Entrepreneur of the Year was awarded to Tim Johnson from Howard Johnson Inn & Suites in Rapid City.  In June 2014, after graduating from Black Hills State University with Bachelor  of Science Degrees in Business Administration and Management, Tourism  and Psychology, Tim's career path became clear when he purchased the Howard Johnson Inn & Suites in Rapid City-- one of the most prominent hotels in the Black Hills tourism hub.  

Helen Merriman, Director of SD CEO, was awarded the 2017 SBA Champion of the Year. The SBA Champion Award recognizes an individual who has been a leader in supporting and championing SBA, SBA's mission and small business in South Dakota.  SD CEO's mission is to provide comprehensive business assistance, education, counseling and training from startup to expansion and to foster    economic and workforce development in South Dakota. Helen has served as the founding director since 2009. The center is located on the campus of Black Hills State University.

For more information about the South Dakota Center for Enterprise Opportunity, please visit www.BHSU.edu.SDCEO. SD CEO is one of the 100 women's business centers nationwide established through the Small Business Administration