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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 9, 1999

Governor Announced Small Business Awards Program

CHICAGO -- Governor George H. Ryan announced the creation of the new Governor's Small Business Awards Program, which is being established to celebrate the vital role that small businesses play in maintaining and strengthening the Illinois economy.

"Small businesses represent the fastest growing segment of the Illinois business economy," Gov. Ryan said. "This new award recognizes the accomplishments of small business owners. I encourage everyone to help celebrate our state's entrepreneurial spirit by nominating an outstanding small business owner or small business advocate in your community for one of five different awards."

Gov. Ryan announced the new program while presenting the Women's Business Development Center's "Government Support Award" to Pam McDonough, Director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs (DCCA), at the Hall of Fame Awards breakfast at the Annual Entrepreneurial Women's Conference at Navy Pier.

The Governor's new Small Business Awards Program, will be administered by DCCA, and is designed to complement the U.S. Small Business Administration's (SBA) award program. Through an agreement with the SBA, all Illinois award winners will be considered for the SBA's national awards.

As with the SBA awards, categories include; Small Business Person of the Year, Minority Small Business Advocate of the Year, Women in Business Advocate of the Year, Young Entrepreneur of the Year, and an Entrepreneurial Success Award.

The winners will be chosen by a nomination review committee including representatives from the SBA, DCCA, the Governor's Office, the Illinois Small Business Development Center Network Advisory Board, the Small Business 100, the Illinois Women's Business Ownership Council and the Illinois Minority Business Development Task Force.

Winners will be recognized at the Governor's Small Business Award Dinner in January 2000 in Springfield, an event that will be held during the Governor's Small Business 2000 Summit

"The Governor's Small Business 2000 Summit is an important event that will engage the small business community in a meaningful dialogue on critical small business issues and serve to heighten the visibility and influence of small businesses in Illinois. This event will create a forum for the discussion of issues and concerns that affect small business owners in Illinois," DCCA Director Pam McDonough said.

The application deadline is November 12, 1999. For award application and registration information, contact the DCCA Small Business Division at 217/524-5856. For information about the programs and services available to assist Illinois businesses through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs, contact the First Stop Business Information Center at 800/252-2923 (TDD: 800/785-6055) or visit the DCCA Web site at www.commerce.state.il.us.


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