Success Stories

Photo of Gloria Freeman

SBA’s Funding and Emerging Leaders Program Helped Her Succeed
 

Gloria Freeman, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Minneapolis-based Olu’s Home, Inc. and Olu’s Center, was chosen as Minnesota’s Small Business Person of the Year for her personal achievements and contributions to her community.

 

Gloria's desire to serve those in her community is rooted in her childhood. Her mother was a prominent public speaker and advocate for the mentally ill. In 1999 she founded Olu’s Home, a licensed care organization that provides residential and in-home services to the elderly and persons with developmental disabilities and mental illness. Today, the company operates 11 group homes and has over 100 employees in the Minneapolis area.

 

The company began the intergenerational care center, Olu's Center, in 2015. It provides a day program for children and seniors where they can interact with each other. Olu’s Center is a safe space for the young and... Read More

JF Kruse employee working on jewelry

Jim Kruse, Founder and Melissa Kelley, President of J.F. Kruse Jewelers based in Saint Cloud, have been named the Minnesota Small Business Persons of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The Small Business Person of the year is selected annually based on growth in sales or unit volume, increase in the number of employees, financial strength, innovativeness of product or service and evidence of contributions to community-oriented projects. Gail Ivers, Vice President of the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce and Barry Kirkhoff, Executive Director of the Central Minnesota Small Business Development Center (CMSBDC) at St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, MN nominated Kruse and Kelley for this award.

As a teenager, Jim Kruse discovered a talent for sales while potting plants at a greenhouse in St. Paul.  In 1979, he was hired at D.J. Bitzan Jewelers in St. Cloud, as a bench jeweler and trained as a diamond setter.  However he soon found himself in sales... Read More

Minnesota 2014 Small Business Person of the Year

Saint Cloud – Scott Warzecha, President and Founder of Netgain, based in Saint Cloud, has been named the Minnesota Small Business Person of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The Small Business Person of the year is selected annually based on growth in sales or unit volume, increase in the number of employees, financial strength, innovativeness of product or service and evidence of contributions to community-oriented projects. Gail Ivers, Vice President of the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce nominated Warzecha for this award.

Warzecha, a St. Cloud native, started his career as a salesman at Team Electronics, but it was during his 13 years at Marco that he had the idea to do things differently.

The concept was cloud computing. It may seem like old news today, but when Warzecha first talked of the idea in 2000 of providing cloud services to businesses, it was unheard of. His technology employer wouldn’t even consider the idea because they... Read More

Minnesota Small Business Person of the Year
Peter Kelsey, Owner and Baker of The New French Bakery based in Minneapolis, has been named the Minnesota Small Business Person of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration.   The Small Business Person of the year is selected annually based on growth in sales or unit volume, increase in the number of employees, financial strength, innovativeness of product or service and evidence of contributions to community-oriented projects.  Kristin Wood, Executive Director of SPEDCO nominated Peter for this award.   “When people tell me this is the best bread they’ve tasted – that makes my day,” said Peter Kelsey.  It’s the reason he became involved in the food service industry.  His love for bread began at age 8, when he tasted his first fresh-from-the-oven croissant in Montreal.  It made him happy and years later, his life’s calling became clear: He wanted to make people happy with food.   Minnesota native, Peter Kelsey, began his career in food in 1979, when he... Read More

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