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SBA Honors Caribbean Solar Company Founders with Small Business Person of the Year Award in USVI

St. Croix’s Blues Backyard BBQ and Banco Popular also recognized during Small Business Week Ceremonies
Release Date: 
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Release Number: 
Angelique Adjutant (787) 766-5570

CHARLOTTE AMALIE, USVI – The Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands district office of the U.S. Small Business Administration presented the Virgin Islands Small Business Person of the Year Award to Kevin J. Schnell and Maya Matthews, founders of Caribbean Solar Company LLC in St. John.

Caribbean Solar Company is dedicated to providing clean, reliable solar energy for residential, commercial and utility-scale installations. With a construction portfolio of more than 800 KW of renewable energy, Schnell and Matthews design innovative projects to harness solar energy in the Caribbean. The company employs seven people.

“The contributions that Kevin and Maya have made as small business owners have not only resulted in job creation and their community’s economic expansion, they also have a positive impact on the environment and their customers’ quality of life,” SBA District Director Yvette T. Collazo, at the awards event co-hosted by the Virgin Islands Small Business Development Center in St. Thomas.  

At a Small Business Week event held earlier in St. Croix, the SBA also bestowed the St. Croix Entrepreneurs of the Year Award upon James and Deborah Smith, owners of Blues’ Backyard BBQ LLC.  The Smiths purchased the business after receiving training and technical assistance from the SBDC Service Center in St. Croix. The transaction helped retain five existing jobs and created a new one.

“All small business owners honored today represent the true spirit of entrepreneurship,” Collazo added. “The SBA commends their tenacity, dedication and efforts to create jobs and help foster the Virgin Island’s economy.”

The SBA also honored Banco Popular de Puerto Rico as Lender of the Year in the USVI.

For information on SBA assistance for entrepreneurs, visit