People have said that “small business is big business” meaning that the cumulative impact of entrepreneurs and small businesses is great. However we say it, our community and our country wouldn’t be what they are without the owners and managers of these thousands and thousands of firms.
Not only do they meet our needs for virtually all types of goods and services, but also small businesses are by far the best employers at creating new jobs. Also, studies have shown that small businesses create a huge number of innovations that keep us competitive and make our lives better.
We feel the aggregate impact of small businesses in our Chamber of Commerce, where over 80 percent of our members have 20 or fewer employees and a full 90 percent have 50 or less workers. For these and many other reasons, it is completely appropriate that the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce honors some great examples of entrepreneurship, and salutes all small businesses, through its Annual Small Business Awards.
For 85 years, the GSC of C has been the voice of local business. Today, we serve more than 2,300 members, the overwhelming majority of which is designated as small businesses.
The Frank G. Berlin, Sr. Small Business of the Year program was established to honor Sarasota County small business entrepreneurs. Mr. Berlin in many ways
symbolizes the spirit of the award. He saw the enormous potential of having his own small business in the 1930s and succeeded in a number of business ventures. Mr. Berlin also epitomizes the hopes and dreams of contemporary small businessmen and women and
actively supported and encouraged many of them. He became Chairman of the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce in 1946 and was the driving force behind the formation of the Sarasota YMCA. The Chamber is very grateful to Mr. Berlin for lending his name to the awards program, which began in 1991.
Anyone can nominate a business or businesses in the following categories: Small Business of the Year, Young Business of the Year, Minority Entrepreneurial Excellence, Woman Entrepreneurial Excellence, Young Professional of the Year, and Arts Organization of the
Year. Nominees complete a written application and the top scoring nominees in each category are selected as finalists. Each finalist is invited for an interview with a
panel of judges, who are selected from a group of past winners and judges, along with other members of the business community. The combined written and interview scores determine the winner and are certified by Kerkering, Barberio, P.A. CPA’s.
One of the Chamber’s four key divisions, the Small and Minority Business Council, manages our Small Business Awards. Readers should be aware that the ” SMBC” operates many other activities throughout the year, ranging from its Good Business and Ethics programs, including the “Seal of Approval” and “Insignia Awards,” to its multi-dimensional Chamber University programs to help small businesses constantly improve.
We would like to not only congratulate all those being recognized, but the volunteer leaders behind the scenes, as well. Eric Massey of Michael Saunders Real Estate and Marjorie Floyd of Strategic Marketing Resources deserve our thanks for their work as Chair of the Small and Minority Business Council and Chair of the Membership Services and Benefits Division, respectively. It is their vision and the work of the dozens and dozens of volunteers that help them that allow these positive activities to come to fruition.
We congratulate all small businesses, and want to particularly salute those being recognized as finalists or winners in this year’s award process. Remember, “from small seeds do mighty oaks grow,” so don’t be surprised if all of these small businesses grow.
Charlie O. Murphy
Chairman of the Chamber
President & CEO, The Bank of Commerce
Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce
Minority Entrepreneurial Excellence
More than overcoming odds, and more than achieving financial success, both of the Minority Business of the Year Nominees serve the minority community and the Sarasota community as
a whole. Succeeding in business, then, means succeeding in positive contributions and community leadership.
Considering the ever-growing Spanish speaking population in the area, it’s hard to believe that Nuevo Advertising is the first and only agency in the Tampa Bay area tailored specifically to the Hispanic market. Co-owner Pedro Luis Perez, a graduate of the Ringling School of Art and Design, describes Nuevo’s mission as more educational than advertising – working to break down barriers between the Hispanic population and many English-oriented businesses that can benefit from engaging a new market. The firm’s services include translation and culturalization, creative design, branding and corporate identification, special events, talent selection, and public relations. In barely one year’s existence, Nuevo’s projects have included assisting in translation, interpretation, and the creation of a video for woodcarvers visiting Selby Gardens; the company also worked with SPARCC to create a public service announcement for domestic violence that aired on the Spanish-language network Univision.
And the opportunities continue to grow. In January 2005, with only a week to prepare, Nuevo assembled the necessary aspects – a radio agreement, on-air talent, marketing plan, advertising, sponsorship, and promotions – to create a Spanish-language broadcast of a Tampa Bay Storm arena football game that also included radio advertising for the Gulf Coast Latin Chamber of Commerce Job Fair and has led to continuing relationships with Palace Sports and Entertainment and the St. Pete Times Forum.
The firm’s ultimate challenge, says Perez, is overcoming a general lack of interest in marketing toward an Hispanic audience.