WASHINGTON –Hispanic-owned small businesses from Florida, New Jersey and Texas will be honored during National Small Business Week, an annual event organized and hosted by the U.S. Small Business Administration to recognize the contribution of small businesses to job creation and the recovery of the nation’s economy.
This year, National Small Business Week will be held May 18-20, at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington, D.C. The theme of the event is “Empowering Entrepreneurs.”
“Small businesses drive job creation and economic growth across the nation, and the growing contribution of Hispanic-owned businesses is well documented,” said SBA Administrator Karen Mills. “We are pleased to honor these businesses that are playing a powerful role in strengthening their communities and our economy as a whole.”
According to the Census Bureau, in the United Sates there are more than 1.6 million Hispanic-owned businesses; they employ more than 1.5 million people and generate more than $220 billion in gross receipts.
The Hispanic award winners at National Small Business Week are:
Florida Small Business Person of the Year - Jose A. Lopez, president, Marketing Arm International Inc., Port Charlotte, Fla. Born to a very humble family in El Cibao, Dominican Republic, Lopez obtained an agronomy degree in his native Dominican Republic in 1966, and a bachelor’s degree in entomology from Texas A&M University in 1970. In 1993, Lopez founded Marketing Arm International, Inc. as a green company that develops and markets safe, eco-friendly agricultural products.
New Jersey Small Business Person of the Year - Jose L. Rodriguez, president & CEO, M.E.R.I.T., Inc., Newark, N.J. A retired police detective and captain with the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office and disabled veteran, “Joe” Rodriguez launched M.E.R.I.T and shortly thereafter obtained SBA 8(a) certification. M.E.R.I.T. provides his customers with construction, project and facility management among many other services.
Texas Small Business Persons of the Year – Michael L. and Lisa M. Lujan, co-owners, Mentoring Minds, Tyler, Texas. With a common passion for education, Michael and Lisa founded Mentoring minds in 2002 with the mission of developing affordable, effective learning tools to help children succeed in life. Mentoring Minds ranks 344th in Hispanic Business Magazine’s 2010 list of largest Hispanic-owned businesses in the U.S.
Also to be recognized during National Business Week is The University of Texas – Pan American Small Business Development Center, Edinburg, Texas. The center serves a large Hispanic population in South Texas, and most of its staff is Hispanic.