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SBA's Kansas Small Business Person of the Year, Alex Harb of Ribbit Computers to be recognized on June 17th
WICHITA, Kan. - It’s been quite a year for Alex Harb, owner of Ribbit Computers, LLC. His computer retail and service business in Wichita is growing, and he’s in the process of starting two restaurants: a Golden Corral franchise in Raymore, MO, and a new fast-casual concept here in Wichita called “Meddys Mediterranean Grill”. To top it off, he recently attended the SBA’s National Small Business Week in Washington, DC, as the Kansas Small Business Person of the Year.
On Tuesday, June 17th at 9:00 AM, Alex will be recognized as the SBA’s Kansas Small Business Person of the Year by the Wichita City Council at the beginning of their meeting.
Earlier this year, the SBA requested nominations from lenders and the public for their Small Business Week awards that included the Small Business Person of the Year, Exporter of the Year, 8(a) Program Graduate of the Year, and the Small Business Development Center Excellence and Innovation Award.
Intrust Bank nominated four outstanding candidates for the Small Business Person of the Year award, including Alex Harb. After the SBA evaluated each nominee’s growth in sales and employment, ‘staying power’, response to adversity, and contributions to the community, Alex Harb was selected as the most outstanding candidate and awarded the honor.
Every May, each state winner is invited to attend the National Small Business Week (NSBW) events in Washington DC. This year the event was held on May 15th and 16th.
Harb says the experience in Washington was inspiring and very educational. “It reminded me of the feeling I had when I first landed in the U.S. from Lebanon at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport in 2000, and felt the optimism and potential of achieving the ‘American Dream’”, said Harb. “Meeting a lot of determined and optimistic business owners at the events in Washington gave me a lot of hope and encouragement.” Harb continued.
The workshops and receptions at the NSBW including meeting SBA’s Administrator, Maria Contreras-Sweet, the Federal Reserve Chair, Janet Yellen, the founder of Papa John’s Pizza, John Schnatter, and founder of The Boston Beer Company, Jim Koch, among others.
“I also met some very talented small business owners from other states and the DC area, and attended workshops on contracting with representatives from most of the federal agencies.” said Harb. “I was also amazed at all of the locally-owned brick and mortar businesses in Washington, as well as the ethnic diversity throughout the city. Unlike any other city I’ve visited in the country, you could sense the country’s history in the buildings and views of Washington,” Harb continued.
The other 2014 SBA Kansas Small Business Week award winners are:
- Small Business Exporter of the Year: Mr. Dennis Pedersen, President and CEO of GT Mfg., Inc., Clay Center, Kansas.
- 8(a) Graduate of the Year: Ms. Byong S. Lee, Owner, Quality First Cleaning Contractors, Junction City, Kansas.
- Small Business Development Center Excellence and Innovation Award: Ms. Lisa Brumbaugh, Region Director, Emporia State University Small Business Development Center, Emporia, Kansas.