Op-ed OEX24-05

Op-ed by Beto Yarce: Celebrating America’s Entrepreneurs During National Small Business Week

It’s time to celebrate!

National Small Business Week is happening from April 28 through May 4. This is the U.S. Small Business Administration’s annual recognition of the heart and soul of our local communities: America’s hardworking and innovative entrepreneurs. 

And there is much to celebrate this year. Record numbers of businesses across all demographics are receiving SBA-backed loans to launch and grow their businesses, outreach to historically underserved communities is changing thousands of lives, new initiatives under the Biden-Harris administration’s Investing In America plans are being launched that will be good for business and good for our country. In addition, more than 17 million new business applications have been filed since January 2021, shattering all previous start-up records and illustrating that America’s entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well.

As part of National Small Business Week, the SBA will be recognizing America’s most exceptional companies with a variety of awards at the state, regional and national levels.

All across the beautiful Pacific Northwest this week, we will be recognizing our region’s thriving and inspiring entrepreneurial spirit. Our region is home to incredibly caring businesspeople who operate innovative companies offering unique products and services while supporting their employees, communities and economies.

As the Regional Administrator for SBA’s Region 10 serving the Pacific Northwest, I’m honored to kick off National Small Business Week by announcing our Exporter of the Year and runner-up. 

The Pacific Northwest’s 2024 Exporter of the Year is Morgan Cosmetics of Issaquah, Washington. This skin and haircare products company exports about 85% of its products to customers on four continents. The company founder, Bachir Abba, is an immigrant who was encouraged by his wife to start the organic product company using a centuries-old natural care tradition from Abba’s native Morocco. The company leveraged SBA and state services to grow from Abba’s kitchen to a thriving 15-employee business.

The runner-up for Exporter of the Year in our region is Triverus, LLC, of Palmer, Alaska. Triverus designs and manufactures high-efficiency outdoor surface cleaning equipment used on airfields, by municipalities and the U.S. military. Under the leadership of Hans Vogel, Triverus has sold cleaning vehicles to the military in Spain and Italy as well and they are currently negotiating with the militaries of three other allied nations.

The district offices within our region are also recognizing exceptional businesses, including the prestigious Small Business Person of the Year. The state and territory winners of Small Business Person of the Year were invited to Washington, D.C., to participate in a two-day summit culminating with a gala event in which the National Small Business Person of the Year will be named.

Alaska’s outstanding entrepreneurs and businesses this year are:

Small Business Person of the Year

Kali C. Bennett, owner of The Waterworks,  Anchorage 


Woman-owned Small Business of the Year

Jill Shari Ramiel, owner of Silverbow Inn and Suites, Juneau


Veteran-owned Small Business of the Year

Cuauhtemoc Rodriguez, president of Coldfoot Environmental Services, Inc., Anchorage


Minority-owned Small Business of the Year

Dacia Smith, founder and owner of Green Gorilla Movers,  Anchorage


Idaho’s outstanding entrepreneurs and businesses this year are:

Small Business Person of the Year

Jeanne McFall, president of RIVHAB LLC dba Rivhab Engineering Design in Eagle


Woman-owned Small Business of the Year

Molly Leadbetter, Anna and Guy Leadbetter, owners of Leadbetter Cider Company LLC dba Meriwether Cider in Garden City


Veteran-owned Small Business of the Year

Justin Chase, owner of Volterra Systems in Nampa


Oregon’s outstanding entrepreneurs and businesses this year are:

Small Business Persons of the Year

McKean Banzer-Lausberg, Michael Branes, Colin Rath and Eric Banzer-Lausberg, owners of Migration Brewing in Portland


Portland District Director’s Award for Excellence

Ryan and Lourdes Gilyeat, owners of Oregon Restoration Company in Portland


Family-owned Small Business of the Year

Wurdinger Enterprises, LLC, of Silverton. Principals are Anthony and Karen Wurdinger, Chad Hunsucker and Delany Wurdinger.


Nano Business of the Year

Édeske Patisserie of Hood River. Principals are Tamara Bartucz Biscardi, James Biscardi and

Amanda Dunbar


Washington’s outstanding entrepreneurs and businesses this year are:

Small Business Person of the Year

Heather McDowell, Seattle Green Earth Cleaning of Seattle


Rural Small Business of the Year

Good Bagels Café in Anacortes. Principals are Alex LaLonde and Nick LaLonde.


If you’re a business owner, I encourage you to considering submitting an application for next year’s National Small Business Week awards. Applications are available at the end of August and will be announced on the SBA social media pages. 

If you’re not yet a business owner, the SBA is here to help! Simply visit sba.gov for information on all of the tools and resources available to help you turn your dream into a reality.

Who knows? Maybe the SBA will be recognizing you and your company as a future National Small Business Week winner.

For more information on how the SBA can assist your small business start, grow or expand, please visit www.sba.gov. Para Español visita www.sba.gov/es .

(Beto Yarce was appointed by President Joe Biden to oversee

the SBA’s programs and services as the agency’s Regional Administrator for the

Pacific Northwest serving Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.) 


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To schedule an interview with Beto Yarce or learn more about the U.S. Small Business Administration, please contact:

                Silvia Klatman                                  


                Talk/text: (206) 852-7538                              

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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 www.sba.gov