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Local Popcorn Manufacturer Named the state of Washington 2015 Young Entrepreneur of the Year

Release Date: 
Monday, May 4, 2015
Release Number: 
SDOPR 15-15
Matthew Williams, 206-553-7315

Grant Jones, owner of KuKuRuZa gourmet popcorn, was named the 2015 Young Entrepreneur of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), Seattle District Office at an awards gala at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Wash., on April 30, 2015.

The Young Entrepreneur of the Year award recognizes business owners under the age of 30 who demonstrate a history of success, show increased jobs and innovative or creative business methods, and exhibit potential for future growth.

“It’s really an honor receiving this type of award,” said Jones. “It means so much more coming from the SBA, because without them, we really wouldn’t have the kind of success we do. It’s such a great honor.”

“Jones’ dedication to success is a truly inspirational story,” said District Director Nancy Porzio. “To have such a drive for accomplishment at his age is definitely worth recognizing.”

KuKuRuZa is dedicated to providing customers with the world’s most unique gourmet popcorn experience. They offer dozens of rotating popcorn flavors, ensuring everyone’s tastes will be satisfied. And whenever possible, the ingredients are kept organic, fresh and local.

Jones turned to the U.S. Small Business Administration for two separate loans to help achieve his expansion goals. Within three years, Jones grew the company from one downtown Seattle location to four local and 10 international locations, with storefronts in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Korea and Japan. During the first year of owning the business, sales were about $360,000. Last year’s sales exceeded $2.7 million.

Jones, being a younger entrepreneur, has focused on employing younger senior management, the oldest being 28, to harness and develop the business potential of these young professionals.

“National Small Business Week is a time to recognize the impact small businesses has on our country,” said Regional Administrator Calvin Goings. “It’s a chance to celebrate the dedicated, hard-working small business owners who are making a difference in their communities.”

Each year since 1963, the President has issued a proclamation calling for the celebration of National Small Business Week. SBA recognizes outstanding small business owners for their personal successes and contributions to our nation.