June 13, 2006

Awards salute efforts of region's small businesses

by Sun Min

 CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The Small Business Development Center and the Southern Illinois Entrepreneurship Center of Southern Illinois University Carbondale today (June 13) honored the contributions of small businesses during a ceremony on campus.

The two centers presented seven awards during the event, held at the Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center in the Southern Illinois Research Park, part of the SIUC Office of Economic and Regional Development. The keynote speaker was Curt Jones, an SIUC alumnus and founder and president of Dippin'Dots.

Robyn Laur Russell, director of the Small Business Development Center, said her group is saluting the accomplishments of the businesspeople in celebration of Illinois Small Business Week.

Emily Carter, director of the Entrepreneurship Center, added, "Small business growth is making up the majority of economic growth statewide and in Southern Illinois. Small business is outpacing large business in job growth."

Awards presented were:

• Spirit of Entrepreneurship Award: Curtis Baird, School Center, Carbondale.

• Most Creative Concept Award: Erik Cornett and Gerad Harsy, Liquid Potions, Herrin.

• New Business Award: Te Xieng Sao, Sao's Asian Bistro, Marion.

• Southern Illinois SBA Lender of the Year: People's National Bank, McLeansboro.

• Small Business Champion Award: Gregory P. White, interim dean, SIUC College of Business and Administration.

• Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award: Trecie Lloyd, Vienna Tax Services.

• Saluki Entrepreneurship Award: Curt Jones, Dippin' Dots, Paducah, Ky.

Along with SIUC, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and the U.S. Small Business Administration help fund the Small Business Development Center and the Southern Illinois Entrepreneurship Center.

Each of the award winners is a client of either the Entrepreneurship Center or the Small Business Development Center. Carter said SIUC will continue to support the recognized small businesses. "Our centers have helped them take their businesses to next level," she said. "We hope to work with them as they continue to grow."

Promoting economic and regional development is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.