Small Business Administration extends deadline for annual award nominations


The Small Business Administration has extended the deadline for submitting nominations for its prestigious local Small Business Awards to Jan. 28. The awards recognize outstanding companies or individuals in multiple categories.

“If you or someone you know has an inspiring small business success story to tell or perhaps you have played a supporting role in strengthening small businesses, nominate them for one of our local prices,” the SBA said in a press release.

The awards are presented at ceremonies during Small Business Week, which is scheduled for the first week of May. The SBA has celebrated Small Business Week for more than 50 years, recognizing “the essential contributions of American entrepreneurs and small business owners,” according to the SBA.

The SBA defines a small business as one with less than 500 employees. Rhode Island is over 90% small business.

The deadline for submitting what the SBA calls its application package is January 28 at 3 p.m. It was previously January 11. Complete information and filing instructions are available on the SBA Rhode Island website:; or nationally at

Individuals can submit awards themselves, or nominations can be submitted by others. The packages are completed by the candidate. Completed files should be submitted to:

The district award categories are:

  • Small Family Business of the Year
  • Veteran-Owned Small Business of the Year
  • Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year
  • Minority-Owned Small Business of the Year
  • Young entrepreneur of the year
  • Micro business of the year
  • Small Business Maker of the Year
  • Small Home Business of the Year
  • Financial Services Champion

Last year’s winners included three from Newport County: Harmony Oschefski, owner of Cedar Hwang of Newport, Rhode Island Small Business of the Year; Joseph Janson, CEO of NVTS Night Vision Technology Solutions LLC of Jamestown, Small Business Exporter from Rhode Island and New England; Kaitlyn Szczupak, owner/president of S&S Transmissions and Auto Repair, Inc. of Tiverton, Rhode Island Young Entrepreneur.

The other winners from last year were:

  • Angela Laperriere, AVP, Business Assistance Manager and Lending Officer at SEED Corp. of Taunton, Rhode Island and New England Financial Services Champion.
  • Michael Black, President, National Marker Company of North Smithfield, Rhode Island and New England Small Business Manufacturer
  • Rebecca Twitchell, President and Founder, Half Full, LLC of Providence, Microenterprise from Rhode Island and New England.
  • Juan Langigua, President and CEO of The Family Cake of Providence, Minority owned small business in Rhode Island and New England.
  • Duran and Kristy Searles, co-owners/artists, Painted Karma Custom Designs of Kingston, Small home business from Rhode Island.
  • Dan Shedd, president of Warren’s Taylor Box Company, Rhode Island Jeffrey Butland Small family business.
  • Adam Batchelder, owner of Pawtucket’s Smoke & Squeal BBQ, Rhode Island Veteran Owned Small Business.
  • Janelle Blakely Photopoulos, Owner and Creative Director, Blakely Interior Design of North Kingstown, Small business owned by a woman from Rhode Island.
  • Paul DeRoche, Small Business Advocate, Rhode Island District Manager’s Award.

Frank Prosnitz brings several years in journalism to WhatsUpNewp, including 10 as editor of the Providence (RI) Business News and 14 years as a reporter and bureau chief at the Providence (RI) Journal. Prosnitz began his journalism career as a sportswriter at Asbury Park (NJ) Press, then at The News Tribune (Woodbridge, NJ), before joining the Providence Journal. Prosnitz hosts the Morning Show on WLBQ (Westerly) radio, 7-9 a.m. Monday through Friday, and It’s Your Business, also on WBLQ, Monday and Tuesday, 9-10 a.m.

Prosnitz has twice won Best in Business awards from the National Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW), twice named Media Lawyer of the Year by the Small Business Administration, won the award of a investigative reporter for the New England Press Association and wrote news. Rhode Island Press Association award.

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