Press release 24-29

SBA Recognizes 2024 Resource Partners of the Year

Awardees from Wisconsin, Michigan, Colorado, and Mississippi to be Honored During National Small Business Week Ceremony in Washington, DC

WASHINGTON  Today, Administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the voice in President Biden’s Cabinet for America’s more than 33 million small businesses, recognized four SBA Resource Partners of the Year awardees. The awardees – from Wisconsin, Michigan, Colorado, and Mississippi – will be honored at a ceremony during National Small Business Week, April 30-May 1, 2024.

“This year’s Resource Partner of the Year awardees are making a real difference in the lives of countless small business owners — connecting them with tools and resources and empowering them with the strength of their networks and their expertise,” said Administrator Guzman. “The SBA is proud to recognize all of the honorees for their achievements and is grateful for their continued work to uplift our nation's veterans, women entrepreneurs, and all of America's 33 million small businesses.”

SBA Resource Partners, funded in part by the SBA, include SCORE, Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers, and Veterans Business Outreach Centers. They provide America's small businesses with technical assistance, training, and access to capital. These annual awards recognize the winners' impact on local economic growth, job creation, and support of our nation's newest entrepreneurs.”

"We congratulate these tremendous SBA Resource Partner honorees, distinguished in service and impact to our small business owners from Washington state to California to Florida," said the Associate Administrator of the Office of Entrepreneurial Development Mark Madrid. "As our small business owners across America continue to exhibit resilience and hope, our SBA Resource Partner network leverages the power of SBA tools and resources."

The SBA congratulates the 2024 Resource Partner winners in four categories: SCORE Chapter of the Year Award from Southeast Wisconsin; the Women's Business Center of the Year Award from Livonia, Michigan; the Small Business Development Center Excellence and Innovation Award for the SBDC from Aurora, Colorado; and the Veterans Business Outreach Center Excellence in Service Award from Starkville, Mississippi.

SCORE National Chapter of the Year:

SCORE Southeast Wisconsin – Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Lisa Foster, Chapter Chair

SCORE, an SBA resource partner, named SCORE Southeast Wisconsin the 2024 Chapter of the Year for its outstanding support of small businesses. 

In 2023, SCORE Southeast Wisconsin provided 2,400 mentoring sessions – a 70% increase from the previous year; supported more than 1,000 small businesses – a 33% increase from the previous year; and increased workshop attendance by 500%. The chapter hosted, co-hosted, or participated with community partners in 73 events with specific outreach to small business owners in Black, Latino, veteran, Native, and rural communities. 

“I’m grateful to receive recognition for what we have achieved,” said Lisa Foster, who serves as chair of SCORE Southeast Wisconsin and associate district director. “More importantly, I hope that by sharing how we’ve adopted new approaches and built new partnerships, SCORE will reach and serve more people who need help overcoming challenges on the road to running a successful business.”

Women's Business Center of the Year:

Great Lakes Women’s Business Council  Livonia, Michigan

Shawntay LaNesha Dixon, Director

The Great Lakes Women’s Business Council currently serves over 15,000 business owners.   Shawntay LeNesha Dixon serves as Director of Business Education, where she works in development and implementing business development programs. 

Under Shawntay’s leadership, the Great Lakes Women’s Business Council has been recognized by the Association of Women’s Business Centers, a national SBA resource partner. They were also recognized by the SBA Michigan District as a Women’s Business Center of Excellence.

Shawntay enjoys helping women entrepreneurs, representing their voices on Capitol Hill on multiple occasions, and sharing the impact women make on the economy and in their communities.

Small Business Development Center Excellence and Innovation Award:

Aurora-South Metro Small Business Development Center (SBDC) – Aurora, Colorado  

Marcia McGilley, Director

The Aurora-South Metro SBDC offers no-cost and confidential one-on-one consulting, low-cost workshops and events, and business resource referrals to entrepreneurs in Arapahoe & Douglas counties in Colorado.

The Aurora-South Metro (SBDC) has been a part of the Colorado SBDC Network since the program began in 1989.  The Center covers Arapahoe & Douglas counties and a small part of Adams County.  As the city of Aurora is a majority-minority city, the Aurora-South Metro SBDC collaborates with many refugee, immigrant, and underserved communities.

Specifically, the staff have a commitment to fostering growth and resilience for clients, and the team’s dedication and strategic insight have manifested in local economic impact.  The Aurora-South Metro SBDC is successful in equipping entrepreneurs in the communities that they serve and makes a difference in the world of small business.

Veterans Business Outreach Center Excellence in Service Award:

Mississippi State University Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC)– Starkville, Mississippi 

Mark Scott, Director

Mississippi State University has hosted the VBOC Program since 2015.  Mark Scott is the Director and Program Manager for the Mississippi State University VBOC, where he is responsible for the planning, organization, and execution of the VBOC cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Mark's background includes serving as an officer on active duty, in the national guard/reserve component of the Army, and holding key roles in business development for Raytheon Company in the defense contracting sector. Post-retirement, Mark co-founded a consulting business focusing on the defense community.

For more information about National Small Business Week, visit    


Co-sponsorship Authorization# 24-1-C. The 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.


About National Small Business Week

In the spirit of National Small Business Week, we celebrate the unprecedented growth of entrepreneurship in the United States, marked by 16 million new business applications since the Biden-Harris Administration took office. This surge highlights the dynamism and innovation that America’s entrepreneurs bring to our local communities. The SBA will continue to champion the endeavors of small businesses and the vital role they play in driving economic prosperity across the nation. 

About the U.S. Small Business Administration 

The U.S. Small Business Administration helps power the American dream of business ownership. 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, 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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