SBA announces Helen Nessan-Merriman as National Boots to Business Instructor of the Year

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has named Helen Nessan-Merriman as the National Women's Business Center Boots to Business Instructor of the Year. Boots to Business is an SBA program for military service members and their spouses that provides the opportunity to explore business ownership, helps them evaluate the feasibility of their business concepts and connects the aspiring business owners to SBA's network of resource partners.

Helen has served as the founding director of the South Dakota Center for Enterprise Opportunity (SD CEO), the only women's business center in South Dakota. SD CEO is hosted by Black Hills State University in Spearfish, South Dakota. SD CEO is funded by a Small Business Administration grant to provide management and technical assistance, comprehensive training, mentoring and counseling for entrepreneurs.

In 2001, Helen and her husband Roger sold their printing and publishing business of 24 years that had grown to 40 employees. Business ownership provided her valuable experience to mentor other entrepreneurs, from startup to the sale of a successful business.  Helen was an invited participant at the 2015 National Security Forum at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama and has served as an Honorary Commander for Ellsworth Air Force Base. Helen and SD CEO were also awarded the 2013 SBA Region VIII Women's Business Center of Excellence Award.

"I'm incredibly proud to announce this award. Helen has been instrumental in our assistance to veterans since her selection as SD CEO Director in 2009. This national recognition is extremely well-earned." said John L. Brown II, District Director of the South Dakota District Office.