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Teresa Thomas and Bill Lyon recognized as 2019 Small Business Champions in Minnesota

SBA to honor two metro area residents for work with women and veterans, respectively
Release Date: 
Wednesday, May 1, 2019
Release Number: 

MINNEAPOLIS – The U.S. Small Business Administration has chosen Teresa Thomas as the 2019 Women in Business Champion and Bill Lyon as the 2019 Veteran Small Business Champion for Minnesota. Both will be honored at the state’s Small Business Week Awards Luncheon on May 10 at the Minneapolis Marriott Northwest in Brooklyn Park, Minn.

“Teresa and Bill have dedicated countless hours to helping women and veterans succeed in small business,” said Nancy Libersky, district director for SBA Minnesota. “The work they do lifting others up is an inspiration to us all.”

Teresa Thomas, Minnesota’s 2019 Women in Business Champion, has a long history of helping women in business connect to others to build greater success through community.  As the director of MN Women in Networking she has facilitated hundreds of networking events, presented for countless groups, and helped thousands to connect and grow. Her most recent project to help women (and men) thrive is 50 Fun Things and has taken her around the globe to facilitate workshops helping people reconnect with what brings them joy in both their personal and professional lives.

Thomas has donated hundreds of hours of her time as a speaker, coach and facilitator for other women in business. She annually organizes an event to support Ready for Success, which helps low-income women return to the workforce. Expanding her reach to younger generations, Thomas also has volunteered with the YWCA Girls Inc., Girls Going Places, DigiGirls, Leaders of Today and Tomorrow, and more.

An Army veteran from the Vietnam War era, Bill Lyon, Minnesota’s 2019 Veteran Small Business Champion, is especially dedicated to helping other veterans succeed in starting and growing their small businesses. Since joining SCORE Minnesota in 2014, he has created and organized several new initiatives, including a women veteran initiative. In it, SCORE identifies female veterans with entrepreneurial aspirations and provides them with information on a series of appropriate topics as well as one-on-one contact with other women executives.

Lyon’s leadership has been instrumental in curating quality volunteers from several sectors to lead workshops and in creating partnerships with multiple organizations, including WomenVenture, to harness additional resources for attendees. His positive attitude and determination have contributed to his strong relationships with staff at the SBA and the Veteran Business Outreach Center - and strong partnerships with the Veterans Administration and Project Got Your Back – all aimed to benefit veteran small businesses.

The SBA Minnesota District Office, along with the SCORE Association and the Minnesota State Small Business Development Center, will honor all the 2019 Minnesota-based winners at the Minnesota Small Business Week Awards Luncheon on May 10, 2019, at the Minneapolis Marriott Northwest in Brooklyn Park, Minn. Registration is open for the event until May 7 at

National Small Business Week is dedicated to honoring small business owners and their champions across the nation. It has been celebrated annually and proclaimed by each President for more than 50 years. Along with recognizing the hard working and deserving small business owners, the SBA also recognizes the lenders, resource partners, and spouses and families who provide support for small businesses. For more information on Small Business Week, visit


About the U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit

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Bill Lyon 2272Kb
Teresa Thomas 3141Kb