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Mark Becker and Jeff Peterson of Geneva Supply, Delavan named SBA’s Wisconsin Small Businesspersons of the Year

Winners Invited to Washington, D.C., National Small Business Week Ceremonies
Release Date: 
Wednesday, March 11, 2020
Release Number: 
20-9
Contact: 
Shirah Apple/rachel.apple@sba.gov

Mark Becker and Jeff Peterson, Geneva Supply, Wisconsin's SBA Small Business Persons of the YearMILWAUKEE – SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza announced today that Mark Becker and Jeff Peterson, founders of Geneva Supply in Delavan, Wis., are Wisconsin’s Small Businesspersons of the Year. They have been invited to join winners from all fifty U.S. states and from U.S. territories at ceremonies in Washington, D.C., on May 3-4 to receive their award, which also makes them candidates for the 2020 National Small Businesspersons of the Year.

Becker (left) and Peterson founded Geneva Supply in 2009 to fill a gap in the marketplace for manufacturers seeking to sell through Amazon, whose daunting compliance and logistics requirements were a roadblock for many firms. Geneva Supply provides logistics and packaging as well as brand and e-commerce marketing support. Their first venture was selling GE water filters to Amazon, which did not have direct connections with GE appliance parts distributors. Geneva Supply built the relationships and infrastructure, resulting in $6 million in sales of just one filter over 12 months. With that, business took off as customers moved into different Amazon sales categories, resulting in 30% year over year revenue increases.  

With growth came the need for more space and staff. After finding ideal conditions in Delavan for fast expansion, the pair decided to demonstrate their community commitment. In 2017 they used an SBA-backed loan with WBD, an SBA 504 program lender, to purchase their leased facility. As Mark Becker noted, “We didn’t miss a beat thanks to the cash management we were able to do with this SBA 504 loan.” Just two years later, the company hit three important milestones: passing the 100-employee mark, achieving their largest sales increase, and hitting their most profitable year ever. With new locations in Charleston, SC, and Phoenix, and new brand management and digital marketing efforts with Amazon in Europe and Mexico, they have global vision and see continued growth.

“We are honored by this award and proud to represent Wisconsin’s small businesses in Washington,” says Jeff. “SBA lending has contributed to our ability to expand successfully.” SBA’s Wisconsin District Director Eric Ness added, “Geneva Supply’s staying power, continuous improvement, adroit use of SBA-backed lending, and commitment to community exemplify the best of Wisconsin’s small businesses. I congratulate Jeff, Mark and the entire Geneva Supply team.”

SBA will also celebrate Geneva Supply and Wisconsin’s other SBA award winners at the SCORE / SBA Wisconsin Small Business Awards Breakfast, Friday, May 8, 2020, from 7 to 9:45 a.m. at the Milwaukee Marriott West, Waukesha, Wis., during National Small Business Week.

SBA will also celebrate Geneva Supply and Wisconsin’s other SBA award winners at the SCORE / SBA Wisconsin Small Business Awards Breakfast, Friday, May 8, 2020, from 7 to 9:45 a.m. at the Milwaukee Marriott West, Waukesha, Wis., during National Small Business Week.

This celebration of entrepreneurship in Wisconsin will include keynote speaker Greg Aretakis, president of Wisconsin-based Midwest Express Airlines, who will share the story of the company’s legendary return to Milwaukee International Airport. The event will also feature a panel discussion with selected award winners. Elmer Moore of Scale Up Milwaukee will serve as emcee.

The business community is encouraged to attend in support of these award-winning businesses. For more information and to register, use this link: http://ow.ly/1r0Q50yEWp0 .

Each year since 1963, the President has issued a proclamation calling for the celebration of National Small Business Week, which is typically the first week of May and will take place May 3-9 this year. After the national awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., Administrator Carranza will continue the week meeting with local entrepreneurs, visiting small businesses, and holding roundtable discussions with community leaders in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Charlotte, Denver, and Anaheim, Calif. SBA will also co-host a free, two-day virtual conference, May 5-6, featuring educational workshops and networking. For more information visit www.sba.gov/nsbw.

 

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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