Release Date: 
Friday, April 25, 2014
Release Number: 
Advisory Number: 
Mark Ferguson (312) 353-5430

CHICAGO, IL--The U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Illinois District Office is pleased to announce Illinois’ 2014 Small Business Person of the Year, Small Business Exporter of the Year, Small Business 8(a) Graduate of the Year, the Jeffrey Butland Family-Owned Business of the Year, 7(a) Lender of the Year, 504 Lender of the Year, Small Loan Advantage of the Year, and Community Lender of the Year.

Each year, SBA’s Illinois District Office honors small businesses and small business advocates for its contributions to Illinois’ economy and society. This year’s state winner for the Small Business Person of the Year is Elizabeth Colon of Metaphrasis Language & Cultural Solutions, LLC. This minority owned and operated small business headquartered in Chicago was nominated by Amy Chilla, Partner, Innova Communications, Inc. Colon won over numerous entries throughout the state because of her outstanding contributions to the small business community and the linguistic/cultural industry.
“Elizabeth Colon embodies qualities commonly found in successful entrepreneurs:  a keen vision of what can be, a strong commitment to business and community, and a willingness to take risks necessary to move forward,” said Robert S. Steiner, Illinois District Director.  “These are the qualities that led to Ms. Colon’s selection for the top Illinois District award.”
Metaphrasis Language & Cultural Solutions, LLC was founded in 2007 with the intent of creating equal access and opportunities for culturally diverse clients while enhancing the company’s exposure through the use of quality foreign language services.  In just a few years, Metaphrasis has established itself as a premier national language services company focusing on translation and interpretation services in numerous industries for a variety of Fortune 500 Companies and government agencies here and abroad.

Metaphrasis has been featured in many media venues such as “Hispanic Executive Magazine, La Raza Chicago, Negocios Hoy, and Women’s Day Magazine.  Under Colon’s leadership, Metaphrasis has also received numerous awards from the Daily Herald (Entrepreneurial Excellence Award), Enterprising Women of the Year (Honorable Mention),and the Chicago Latino Network (Latino Professional Award Finalist) just to name a few .

In addition to the Small Business Person of the Year, other 2014 Illinois Small Business Award Winners that were selected for their continued support and contributions to the Illinois Small Business community included:

8(a) Graduate Business of the Year
Smita N. Shah – Spaan Tech, Inc.
Nominated by Michi E. Pena, Vice President of Development, Spaan Tech, Inc.

Small Business Exporter of the Year
Bruce Gillilan – Simmons Engineering Corporation
Nominated by Morgan Coghill, Vice President, Simmons Engineering Corp.

Jeffrey Butland Family – Owned Business of the Year
Roger Carelton & Donna Marie Apple - M & S Farm Implement Company, Inc.
Nominated by Workforce and Illinois Small Business Development Center at Southeastern Illinois College – Lori Cox, Director

7(a) Lender of the Year
JP Morgan Chase - Michael Hereda – Vice President SBA Programs

504 Lender of the Year
Growth Corp - Douglas Kinley - President

Small Loan Advantage (SLA) Lender of the Year
Ridgestone Bank - Bruce Lammers – President & CEO

Community Lender of the Year
First Mid-Illinois Bank & Trust - Jason Tucker – Vice President, SBA Programs

These recipients competed in their respective categories among other small business entrepreneurs and small business champions throughout SBA’s Region V area which included Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

In collaboration with SCORE: For the Life of Your Business, and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity – Small Business Development Center Network (SBDC), and the Women’s Business Development Center, all of our Illinois winners will be honored at the 2014 Illinois Small Business Awards Luncheon to be held June 26th at the Union League Club of Chicago.  Both SCORE (50th Anniversary) and the DCEO-SBDC (30th Anniversary) will also be recognized for their outstanding contributions to the Illinois Small Business Community. 

Editor’s Note: To schedule an interview with the award winners, please contact Mark Ferguson (312)353-5430 or Dennis Foldenauer (312) 886-0704.

To obtain more information regarding all other SBA programs, small business owners may call the SBA Answer Desk at (800) U ASK SBA or TDD (704) 344-6640 or visit SBA’s extensive web site at