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SBA Names Eastern Pa. 2017 Small Business Champion of the Year

Advisory Date: 
Friday, April 28, 2017
Advisory Number: 
20170428-001
Contact: 
Robert Goza (610) 382-3084 | robert.goza@sba.gov
Women’s Business Development Center’s Geri Swift Recognized for Outstanding Contribution and Assistance to Small Businesses

EASTERN Pa. – U.S. Small Business Administration Eastern Pennsylvania Director Antonio (Tony) Leta named Geri Swift, President Emerita of the Women’s Business Development Center, as SBA’s Eastern Pa. Small Business Champion of the Year. Swift will receive the award, presented annually to individuals or organizations for outstanding efforts to assist small businesses, at the annual “SBA Awards” event May 24.  Media are invited to attend the event.

“The work Geri does for, and in support of, small businesses is truly outstanding. I’m very proud to honor her with this exceptional distinction for what she has accomplished. Time and again, I’ve met with award-winning business-owners who sing her praises for the powerful impact Geri has had in helping them,” said Leta. “While this well-deserved award is specifically for Geri, it also serves as a reflection of the team she has lead and all the groundbreaking successes WBDC has won for woman-owned small businesses.”

Swift, working through her own business, the community, business organizations and all levels of government and the corporate sector, has played a leadership role in supporting the growth and development of entrepreneurial business ventures. In 1985 she founded Geri Swift Associates, a professional services firm which provided management consulting and training services to help companies implement information systems, business advisory councils and supplier development programs.

Swift is also the founding president of the Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC), the first gender-focused small business development center in the mid-Atlantic region serving women from all socioeconomic backgrounds, in all stages of business development, representing key sectors of the economy. WBDC has provided more than 28,000 women with inspiration, encouragement, empowerment, and the resources to start new businesses and grow existing ones. The founding president of the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), Swift has also served as NAWBO’s national vice president, on the Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) board of directors, the Philadelphia Office of Economic Opportunity advisory council, the WBDC board of directors and as president for Women’s Business Enterprise Council PA-DE-sNJ (WBEC). Swift has received multiple honors and been recognized as a woman’s business advocate from business and professional organizations.

“I started WBDC to make sure that women had access to entrepreneurial training, counseling, capital and business opportunities,” said Swift. “I’m honored to be recognized by SBA for the groundbreaking achievements the WBDC and my staff has been able to accomplish since its founding.”

Over the last four decades, Swift has been a prominent leader representing the economic, political and social interests of women entrepreneurs in both the public and private sectors. As a founding member of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, Swift changed the business landscape for women. Recently-appointed WBDC President Angela Dowd-Burton is succeeding Swift, who remains active as President Emerita and a member of the Board of Directors to ensure a smooth transition and serve as advisor on strategic initiatives. As president, Dowd-Burton assumes overall responsibilities for WBDC and WBEC.

“I was thrilled to take on the role of President for such an outstanding organization that fosters the development and growth of women-owned businesses,” Dowd-Burton. “The role that Geri has played in helping women succeed is second to none and I’m honored to continue her legacy.”

Swift has established quite a record of accomplishment in her years of dedicated service to, and advocacy for, her small business clients. Some examples:

  • Last year, Swift nominated SBA’s Eastern Pennsylvania Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year Award winner, Vivian R. Isaak, President, Magnum Group, Inc. Magnum Group is a full-service multilingual communications company whose mission is to help companies expand internationally through accurate, timely and comprehensive language services. In business for more than 25 years, Magnum taps into a global network of over 2,500 highly vetted and credentialed translators, language specialists and subject matter experts to produce translations and multimedia content. With a presence in more than 30 countries, Magnum Group offers complete solutions to global organizations in the commercial and public sectors. Isaak credits SBA and its resource partner, WBDC, in helping her provide growth for her business. In 1997, Isaak obtained a SBA loan to tool up and expand operations is a graduated of the SBA’s Philadelphia Emerging Leaders program.
  • This year WBDC client, Ginny Heron-Doerr, President, G2J, LLC dba ProShred Security, was nominated by Swift and awarded SBA’s Eastern Pennsylvania Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year. G2J, LLC dba ProShred is locally-owned and operated, and has a national reach. The firm provides information destruction and privacy compliance solutions – using a comprehensive program for shredding and sustainably destroying documents and electronics – when and where clients need the service. Heron-Doerr’s involvement and active participation in the WBEC has opened many doors and opportunities. In 2012, she participated in the Listening to Your Business program, which allowed her to solidify her three-year company plan. Following that, she began executing her plan with a greater level of clarity, and developed new, innovative client enhancing programs. She is passionate about working to eliminate the threat of identity theft and corporate breach, one individual and one company at a time.

An SBA resource partner formed in 1995, WBDC fosters development and retention of successful business by delivering resources for individuals to start new businesses and grow existing ones. The first gender-focused small business development center in the mid-Atlantic region, WBDC is dedicated to economic empowerment of women while its services are open to all. WBDC offers a comprehensive training, counseling, networking programs and services to foster economic development, advance small business initiatives, and create and retain jobs in low-and moderate-income areas. WBDC facilitates relationships between corporations, government and women-owned businesses to provide growth and sustainability through its WBEC, a marketing, procurement and certification assistance council to facilitate relationships between corporations, government and women-owned businesses. As a co-founder and regional partner of WBENC, the nation’s leading third-party certifier of women-owned businesses, WBEC has certified nearly 1,200 Women Business Enterprises generating $7 billion in revenue and employing almost 30,000. It also counts 54 national and regional corporations and city, state and quasi-government agencies as members. For more information, visit www.womensbdc.org.

The Eastern Pennsylvania Small Business Champion Award is presented in recognition of assistance given small businesses: to obtain financing and encourage investment capital; significant contributions through advocacy efforts to advance small business interests; efforts to increase business and financial opportunities; advisory activities to improve awareness of small business opportunities and efforts to strengthen the role of small business owners particularly minority, veteran and/or women-owned  small businesses; and improving the environment for the creation and expansion of small businesses, particularly those that are minority-, veteran- and/or women-owned and operated.

SBA Eastern Pennsylvania Director Antonio (Tony) Leta will present the Small Business Week Awards at the annual “SBA Awards” event May 24. The event is open to the media. The “SBA Awards” recognition event will begin at 4:30 p.m. on May 24 with the awards ceremony followed by dinner and networking at the Manor House at Prophecy Creek Park, 205 West Skippack Pike (Rte. 73), Ambler, Pa. 19002. SBA is a Cabinet-level agency of the federal government that helps Americans start, build and grow small businesses. SBA delivers its services through an extensive network of field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations across the U.S. and its territories. National Small Business Week is an annual event organized by SBA to recognize the achievements of the top small businesses in the nation and recognizes the small business community’s contribution to the American economy. SBA’s Eastern Pennsylvania awards are local observances of the annual Presidentially-designated National Small Business Week.

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To request interviews or photos, contact Robert Goza, SBA’s Public Information Officer in the Eastern Pennsylvania District Office, at 610-382-3084 or robert.goza@sba.gov.Cosponsorship Authorization #17-0303-67. 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. Reasonable arrangements for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance. Contact: Patricia Kratz, 610-382-3081 or patricia.kratz@sba.gov.