Minnesota Small Business Person of the Year Named

Gloria Freeman Chosen for Business Success and Community Involvement
Release Date: 
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Release Number: 
Sarah Swenty, 612-370-2316

MINNEAPOLIS – Gloria Freeman, founder and chief executive officer of the Minneapolis-based Olu’s Home, Inc. and Olu’s Center, was chosen as Minnesota’s Small Business Person of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration for her personal achievements and contributions to her community.  In addition to attending an awards ceremony locally on the May 4, she has been invited to join winners from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands for ceremonies on May 1-2 to receive her individual award and be there for the naming of the 2016 National Small Business Person of the Year.

The Small Business Person of the Year is selected based on growth in sales or unit volume, increase in the number of employees, financial strength, innovativeness of product or service and evidence of contributions to community-oriented projects. 

“Gloria’s big heart is a huge part of her business success,” said Nancy J. Libersky, district director of the SBA’s Minnesota District Office.  “A genuinely compassionate person, we are thrilled that the SBA has been able to help her grow her business and honor her as this year’s Minnesota Small Business Person of the Year!”

Freeman's desire to serve those in her community is rooted in her childhood. Her mother was a prominent public speaker and advocate for the mentally ill. In 1999 Freeman founded Olu’s Home, a licensed care organization that provides residential and in-home services to the elderly and persons with developmental disabilities and mental illness. Today, the company operates 11 group homes and has more than 100 employees in the Minneapolis area. Working with health and social services professionals, she began providing a holistic, integrated menu of services to support each client's physical, mental, social, and spiritual needs.

"I believe that we all have the right to live a holistic life, work hard, make time to enjoy, and never forget to give back," explained Gloria Freeman.

Her newest business venture began last year when Freeman opened the intergenerational care center, Olu's Center, which provides a day program for children and seniors where they can interact with each other.

While developing her business, Freeman received SBA loans and participated in the SBA Emerging Leaders Program; an intensive, MBA-level training program for executives of high-potential, small businesses in America's under-served cities.

Freeman is a contributor to Girls in Action, a member of the North Minneapolis Rotary Club, on the board for the Hennepin Theatre Trust, serves on the board for the Minnesota Black Chamber of Commerce, and participates in activities with Meda, UNCF, UROC, and others.

Gloria Freeman will be honored at the Minnesota Small Business Week Awards program on May 4, 2016, at the Doubletree in Saint Louis Park, Minnesota.

Registration is open for the event until April 29 at http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07eceh08cz5eca8b09&llr=atpeqtcab

For more information on Small Business Week, which is May 1 through 7 this year, please visit www.sba.gov/NSBW.


The Small Business Administration was created in 1953 as an independent agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation.  The Minnesota District Office provides SBA programs and services to the state of Minnesota. Working with our resource partners across the state, we help businesses start, grow and achieve success. For more information on our programs and services, visit www.sba.gov/mn.