NEW YORK, NY - The New York district office of the U.S. Small Business Administration today honored Raj Thakkar, founder and CEO of Charter School Business Management Inc., with the New York City Small Business Person of the Year Award, as part of local Small Business Week celebrations.
At an awards ceremony held this morning in Manhattan in co-sponsorship with Citibank Business and Commercial Banking, SBA New York District Director Pravina Raghavan said “We are pleased to recognize the achievements of Raj Thakkar, a small business owner whose sacrifices and dedication have led his company to reach clients as far as Chicago, Atlanta and New Orleans.”
Fresh out of Hofstra University with a degree in engineering, Thakkar got his first job at a leading finance and investment company in New York, but soon after moved to a smaller firm that provided consulting services and technology-based systems. Upon discovering the business was on the brink of bankruptcy, Thakkar worked hard to streamline operations, cut costs and establish the order necessary to save the company - while simultaneously studying towards his MBA.
Graduating with an MBA in Finance in 2002 from New York University’s Stern School of Business, Thakkar knew he wanted to apply his new-found skills in a more meaningful way, and began looking for a job in the non-profit sector, ultimately landing at Explore Charter School in Brooklyn, as chief financial officer.
After several years managing the areas of accounting, finance, human resources, payroll, facilities and compliance, among others, in 2006 Thakkar decided to venture on his own and founded Charter School Business Management Inc. In January 2007, he hired his first employee and ended the year with a little over $488,000 in revenues. The business has grown to 20 employees and generates more than $1.7 million in yearly revenues.
“Mr. Thakkar’s talent and perseverance signify what small business entrepreneurship is all about,” said Raghavan. “He turned an idea into a profitable reality and has created jobs that help our economy move forward.”
“Citibank Business and Commercial Banking is delighted to cosponsor Small Business Week and to host today’s awards event. The SBA plays a critical role in America’s recovery and we’re proud to help it recognize the achievements of this important sector,” remarked William Stanton, EVP, Head of Product Sales, Citibank Business and Commercial Banking.
The SBA also bestowed the following awards today: Small Business Exporter of the Year Deborah Smook, co-founder of TurboFil Packaging Machines LLC; Jeffrey Butland Family-Owned Business of the Year Gourmet Guru Inc.; Women in Business Champion of the Year Nina L. Kaufman, Ask the Business Lawyer; Minority Small Business Champion of the Year Earle J. Walker, executive director of the Regional Alliance for Small Contractors; Veteran Small Business Champion of the Year William A. Bookstaver, disabled veterans outreach program specialist at New York State Department of Labor; and Small Business Development Center Excellence and Innovation Award, SBDC at Farmingdale State College.
“Today we have honored a group of outstanding entrepreneurs and advocates that turn challenges into opportunities every day,” Raghavan said. “We encourage all our winners to continue seeking excellence in their professional endeavors, and opening doors for generations to come.”
SBA’s participation in this cosponsored activity is not an endorsement of the views, opinions, products or services of any cosponsor or other person or entity. All SBA programs and services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Reasonable arrangements for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least one week in advance. Contact: Minerva De Jesus, 212-264-1472. Cosponsorship Authorization # 11-0202-98.