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SBA Small Business Week Award Winners

LA District Announces Small Business Week Award Winners
31st Annual Small Business Week Awards Honor Local Entrepreneurs, Small Business Champions and Resource Partners

The Los Angeles District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced thirteen winners from Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties in observance of National Small Business Week.

This year’s local competition presents awards to 13 entrepreneurs, small business champions and resource partners in the greater Los Angeles area who are helping to drive the regional economy and accelerate economic recovery.  This year’s Small Business Person(s) of the Year went to Ada Chan and Amanda Ma, co-owners of Fresh Events Company, Inc. located in Pasadena. 

“I congratulate each and every award winner for their amazing accomplishments,” said Victor Parker, Los Angeles SBA district director. “These entrepreneurs, champions and resource partners are writing the comeback story for the American economy…they are a tremendous example for other entrepreneurs.”

The Los Angeles District Office’s Small Business Week award luncheon was held recently at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel downtown Los Angeles. The awards luncheon includes a small business expo and networking reception, and is co-sponsored by the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. 

Entrepreneurs and small business owners from various industries competed from Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties and were nominated by local trade associations, chambers of commerce and business organizations.  Local winners continued onto the regional and national level with the finalist honored at the White House with President Obama and SBA Administrator Karen Mills. 

The 2012 Small Business Week – Los Angeles District Office award recognized:

• Business of the Year --Innovation Through Technology:  PlanetBids, Inc. Woodland Hills,
Arpie and Alan Zavian,
• Environmental “Green” Conservator of the Year:, Fredrick H. Johring, Golden State Express, Inc. – Long Beach.
• Small Business Exporter of the Year: Saskia Chiesa, International Checkout, Inc. – Van Nuys,
• Family-Owned Business of the Year; Wedgewood Wedding & Banquet Centers – Camarillo,
John W. Zaruka and Family
• Home-Based Business Champion of the Year; Sandra Dennis, Sandra Dennis Family Child Care – Lakewood.
• Financial Service Champion of the Year: Sue Baaden, JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A.- Greater Los Angeles Area
• Women in Business Champion of the Year; Patricia A. Kotze-Ramos, Diversified Risk Management, Inc. – Downey,
• Veteran Small Business Champion of the Year; Bill Pike, My Writing Resources – Los Angeles,
• Small Business Development Center Service Excellence & Innovation Award,   Small Business Development Center at Long Beach City College
• Women’s Business Center of Excellence Award; Women’s Economic Ventures – Santa Barbara,
• Small 7(a) Bank of the Year; Open Bank – Los Angeles.
• Women’s Business Center Counselor of the Year;  Joyce Chan, Chinatown Service Center, a proud collaborative partner of the Asian Pacific Islander Small Business Program, Women’s Business Center – Los Angeles.

Los Angeles District Office Awards PlanetBids
Business of the Year --Innovation Through Technology:  PlanetBids, Inc. Woodland Hills,
Arpie and Alan Zavian,  PlanetBids' goal is to bring together the public purchasing and contracting staff as well as the vendor community.  The company and its owners accomplish this efficiently and cost effectively by providing a leading web-based, bid-management solution called BidsOnline(tm).  Since its inception in 1998, the company has focused on the education, government and private sectors.  Arpie Zavian, a co-owner and the primary developer on their online tool set, saw a need to create a solution to government agency procurement officials, public works directors, and the and contractor communities.  In 2004, PlanetBids signed an agreement with the California State University System and 23 campuses and has grown steadily with 30 to 60 percent growth since.  Currently, the company has eight full-time and two part-time employees and serves over 60 clients and boasts over a 95 percent retention rate.  The solutions provided by PlanetBids save thousands of dollars for all its users - creating job opportunities for its small business entities and savings for its government agencies.