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King County Executive News

King County Executive News
May 20, 2011

King County Executive launches Executive’s Small Business Awards to celebrate economic achievement in the region

Nominations being accepted now through local Chambers of Commerce and Cities

King County Executive Dow Constantine, in partnership with presenting sponsors Microsoft Corporation, KeyBank, enterpriseSeattle, the Workforce Development Council of Seattle - King County, and the Small Business Partners for Prosperity, today launched the first annual Executive's Small Business Awards to be held this October.

"I am proud of the entrepreneurial spirit in our region, and these awards are our way of recognizing worthy small businesses that are doing great things," said Executive Constantine. "I thank our event sponsors and partners for working collaboratively to make the upcoming inaugural awards a success."

Twenty-one local chambers of commerce and cities are partnering with the County and event sponsors to nominate small businesses that qualify for awards in one of seven categories.

Nomination categories include:

  • Small Business of the Year,
  • Minority Small Business of the Year,
  • Woman Small Business of the Year,
  • Exporting Small Business of the Year,
  • Green/Sustainable Small Business of the Year,
  • Workforce Development Small Business of the Year, and
  • Rural Small Business of the Year.

"Last year KeyBank was ranked among the top 15 financial institutions in the nation for SBA lending," said Rick Wirthlin, President of KeyBank Seattle-Cascades District. "This new awards program is yet another way we can support and recognize the good work being done by small businesses throughout our area."

"Small businesses are a key economic engine that will drive forward our region and our state," said Brad Smith, general counsel and senior vice president, Legal and Corporate Affairs, Microsoft. "Eighty percent of future job creation is predicted to come from small businesses. We are committed to their success and delighted to support these awards."

Nominations will be accepted from King County chambers of commerce, cities, and business organizations through Friday, July 1, 2011. To be nominated, businesses must be in King County, have 50 employees or less, and have been in business for a minimum of three years.

Finalists will be announced Thursday, September 15. The awards will be presented at a ceremony will occur on Wednesday, October 12, 2011, at the Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue.

President Obama has declared May 16 to 20 as National Small Business Week, and the County Executive and event sponsors recognize the importance that small businesses play to help our local economy recover from the recession.

"Over 95% of the businesses in King County are small businesses that play a critical economic development role in our communities," said Jeff Marcell, President and CEO of enterpriseSeattle. "This new awards program provides an opportunity for us to recognize and highlight their contribution to the region."

"Small businesses face unique workforce challenges," said Marléna Sessions, CEO of the Workforce Development Council. "We're proud to support small employers who find innovative ways to hire, train and retain high-quality employees."

"Small and minority businesses are essential in the new regional economy. They accomplish extraordinary things. They keep hope and determination alive by creating jobs," said Farayi I. Chiro, President of Small Business Partners for Prosperity. "It's very important we recognize the special impact made by entrepreneurs and small businesses in our region."

The local chambers of commerce and cities participating as event partners include: African Chamber of Commerce of the Pacific Northwest; Auburn Area Chamber of Commerce; Bellevue Chamber of Commerce; Enumclaw Chamber of Commerce; Federal Way Chamber of Commerce; Greater Issaquah Chamber of Commerce; City of Kenmore; City of Kent; City of Kirkland; Kirkland Chamber of Commerce; Maple Valley Black Diamond Chamber of Commerce; Mercer Island Chamber of Commerce; City of Redmond; City of Renton; Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce; City of SeaTac; Southwest King County Chamber of Commerce; City of Snoqualmie; City of Tukwila; Vashon Island Chamber of Commerce; and White Center Chamber of Commerce.

For nomination information and a link to register to attend the award ceremony, visit