It’s the most wonderful time of the year! In the SCORE universe, that is. Next week, we honor our 2015 SCORE Award recipients. This diverse group of small businesses will come together at our annual gala to celebrate their hard work and their mentors’ dedication to small business.
Let’s meet our 2015 honorees!
Open for Service
Outstanding Diverse Small Business Award
Open for Service brings together businesses that welcome all races, religions, sexualities, and other differences. Together, they create a network of upstanding organizations that serve everyone. Founder Joshua Driver met with SCORE mentors to discuss sustainability and growth strategies for Open for Service, and its membership has grown to more than 5,000 organizations in seven countries.
Galleries on the Go
Outstanding Encore Entrepreneur Award
Galleries on the Go is an art vendor service that connects local artists with businesses and municipalities that want to share art in public spaces. Beyond creating her own job, owner Sara Mullins has been able to put artists back to work in design jobs and creating public art projects. Her SCORE mentors have advised on business opportunities and helped her stay accountable for her growth as a business owner.
Outstanding Young Entrepreneur Award
Teach for America alumna Maxie Gluckman has increased her client base for Instructural, her education consulting company that offers an English as a Second Language e-learning program for business adult learners. As a young entrepreneur, SCORE mentors were essential in keeping Gluckman motivated and focused.
Outstanding American Manufacturer Small Business Award
Flowfold started as one handmade wallet and developed into a full line of American-made wallets, totes, and other adventure-ready gear. Founder Charles Friedman teamed up with Devin McNeill in 2011 to plan Flowfold’s mission and offerings in a basement workspace; they’ve since expanded their team to include one additional full-time and two part-time positions. The duo teamed up with SCORE to develop wholesale strategies, and they’ve seen significant growth in wholesale revenue.
Blind Spot Nutbutters
Outstanding Community-Impact Small Business
When Sheri Karan’s husband was diagnosed with a degenerative eye condition, he encouraged her to pursue a business focused on the spreads she had been making for fun. Sheri, in turn, wanted to bring attention to visual rehabilitation programs, and Blind Spot Nutbutters has been active in supporting local nonprofit campaigns. SCORE mentors helped Karan navigate local ordinances to get permission to turn her garage into a workshop. She most recently moved production from her garage to a dedicated manufacturing space.
Outstanding Franchise Small Business Award
Ciara Stockeland expected to open a small chain to sell discounted designer clothing, but her business model was so popular she decided to franchise. 11 MODE stores now dot the midwest and South Carolina. SCORE has served as a sounding board and advisory council for Stockeland since the very start of her business journey, and her mentor team helped her evaluate franchising opportunities.
Outstanding Green Small Business Award
Linda Beg opened Starseed Bakery in response to increasing concerns about the safety of the food system, including the prevalence of toxic pesticides in food crops and seeds. Since starting to meet with SCORE mentors, Beg has expanded her business from her own kitchen to a dedicated gluten-free production facility with room for growth and retail sales. Starseed Bakery supports local suppliers and uses compostable packaging for its products.
Outstanding Innovative Small Business Award
After years of experience working with nonprofits in publishing and advertising, Greg Warner developed MarketSmart, a marketing software and services firm to help nonprofits raise money more efficiently. Warner meets with his SCORE mentor on a regular basis to review big issues and stay on top of goals. MarketSmart recently expanded to a larger office to accommodate a growing staff.
Outstanding Job-Creator Award
MaineWorks provides temporary industrial construction employment for people facing barriers to employment like substance abuse recovery and reentry from prison. Since first meeting with SCORE, she’s been able to expand MaineWorks across the state, and is in the process of establishing the model throughout Tennessee, Connecticut, and Colorado. Walsh has developed her leadership skills by spending time with experienced business mentors.
Outstanding Woman-Owned Small Business
Massage therapist Amelia Wilcox started Incorporate Massage to bring the health benefits of massage into the workplace. She works with her SCORE mentors by phone and email to evaluate opportunities for growth, and she’s increased both her number of employees along with her number of Incorporate Massage sites across the United States.
Want to follow in the footsteps of these amazing small business leaders? Find a SCORE mentor online or in your area who can help take your business to the next level.