SBA Kentucky District Office announces 2022 Small Business Awards

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The SBA Kentucky District Office announces its 2022 Small Business Awards. Alejandro “Alex” Ramirez, owner of Universal Spartan, LLC, is the 2022 U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Kentucky Small Business Person of the Year. Universal Spartan is located in Vine Grove, Ky.

After serving in the U.S. Army for 22 years, Alex enrolled in the SBA Boots to Business entrepreneurial education and training program at Ft. Knox before retiring from the military. As the business grew and evolved, Alex tapped into other SBA programs and services, including the Kentucky Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Elizabethtown and the Veterans Business Outreach Center, both SBA Resource Partners, to refine his business plan.

Seeing exporting and federal government contracting opportunities, Alex soon had Universal Spartan certified as a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business. Alex was then connected to the Kentucky Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) to compete for federal government contracts more effectively. That also opened the door for several SBA State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) export grants with other federal agencies, enabling Universal Spartan to secure contracts in multiple countries around the globe.

When COVID-19 struck, Universal Spartan obtained two SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) forgivable loans and a COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance grant to help the company survive. Alex then worked with the SBA to obtain 8(a) Business Development Program certification to increase contracting opportunities. He also participated in the SBA Emerging Leaders Initiative, an intensive executive-level series that accelerates the growth of high-potential small businesses in America’s underserved communities.

The SBA National Small Business Week (NSBW) celebration is May 2-5, 2022. On May 5, the SBA will recognize the 2022 Small Business Persons of the Year from across the United States, District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The National Small Business Person of the Year will be announced, along with other national awards. The agenda can be found here.

The SBA Kentucky District Office also announces the following Small Business Week Award Winners. All will be recognized at the “Kentucky Celebrates Small Business” next Wednesday, May 4, 2022, from 11:00 am – 12:00 noon EDT at the Kentucky State Capitol Building in Frankfort. Hosted by the Kentucky SBDC, the event will also recognize their KSBDC 2022 Pacesetter Award Winners.

SBA 2022 SBDC National Excellence and Innovation Center Award

SBDC Team                      Kentucky SBDC – Louisville                    Louisville

SBA 2022 Southeast Region Small Business Exporter of the Year

Yong Quin “Angie” Yu Two Rivers Fisheries, Inc.                        Wickliffe

SBA 2022 Kentucky Financial Services Advocate of the Year

Finance Team                 Mountain Association                                Berea

SBA 2022 Kentucky Home Based Business of the Year

Abbie Jones                    Abbie Jones Consulting, PSC                 Lexington

SBA 2022 Kentucky Rural Small Business of the Year

Justin Woosley and     The Cake Shop                                             Alvaton

Jason Smith

SBA 2022 Kentucky Small Business Advocate of the Year

Gwen Everly and           J. Render’s Southern Table & Bar       Lexington

Ren Everly

SBA 2022 Kentucky Woman Owned Small Business of the Year

Katie Startzman            Native Bagel Company                             Berea

Click here for more Kentucky business news.



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