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Success Stories

Edgardo Rodriguez, Business Consultant at the Metropolitan Economic Development Association (MEDA), has been named the Minnesota Minority Small Business Champion of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The Minority Small Business Champion award is presented annually in each state to individuals who assist small businesses through outstanding advocacy efforts on behalf of minority-owned small businesses. Yvonne Cheung Ho, President and CEO of MEDA, nominated Rodriguez for this award.

After decades of working in the corporate sector in senior positions, Rodriguez joined MEDA in 2002 as a consultant and has utilized his wealth of knowledge and resources to benefit the small business community. His specialties include coaching, analyzing complex and challenging business opportunities for growth, mergers and acquisitions, negotiations, document review, certifications and day-to-day business management issues.

George Jacobson, director of... Read More

Thomas H. Koopmeiners, Small Business Program Manager, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, has been named the Minnesota Veteran Small Business Champion of the Year for the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The Veterans Small Business Champion Award is presented annually in each state to individuals who have fulfilled a commitment to advancing small business opportunities for Veterans of the U.S. armed forces. Sherri Komrosky, Program Director of the Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), nominated Tom for this award.

Koopmeiners has been the Saint Paul District’s small business program manager since 2002 and a Corps’ employee since 1998, when he started as a contracting officer. As the small business program manager, Koopmeiners assists small businesses in obtaining government contracts.

Under Koopmeiners management, the district exceeded its small business goals for two years in a row, as well as ranked third in the nation, Corps-wide for... Read More

Director of Center for Economic Development Named Women in Business Champion of the Year

Elaine S. Hansen, Director, University of Minnesota (UMD) Center for Economic Development, has been named the Women in Business Champion of the Year for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Minnesota District Office. The UMD Center for Economic Development is the Small Business Development Center in Northeastern Minnesota serving St. Louis, Carlton, Lake, Cook, Koochiching, and Itasca Counties.

The Women in Business Champion is selected annually to honor individuals who have fulfilled a commitment to the advancement of women’s business ownership. Richard E. Braun, Assistant Director of the UMD Center for Economic Development, nominated Hansen for this award.

Since 2003, Elaine Hansen has served as the Director for the UMD Center for Economic Development and the Regional Director for the NE Minnesota Small Business Development Center (SBDC). She is also a certified public accountant (CPA) licensed in the State of Minnesota and in 2003, completed her Master... Read More

Richard B. Beeson, Jr., President of Park Midway Bank, has been named Minnesota Financial Services Champion of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The Financial Services Champion award is presented annually in each state to individuals who assist small businesses through advocacy efforts to increase the usefulness and availability of accounting or financial services.

Beeson has been president of Park Midway Bank for fifteen years. During that time, Park Midway has grown from a small neighborhood bank to a vibrant $260 million organization with a strong community presence. This growth can be attributed to Rick’s leadership and vision in developing a focus on the needs of small business.

In his role as president, providing banking services to small businesses is an integral part of Beeson’s job. Park Midway has been designated as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), an honor earned for lending to small businesses in... Read More

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