Small Business Week Edition - North Florida District Office

North Florida District Office  - September 22, 2020

u s small business administration

Central Florida Firm Wins National Title

National Exporter of the Year 

Nick Nicholas

Nick Nicholas National Exporter of the Year 2020

2020 North Florida, State of Florida, Region IV, and

National Small Business Exporter of the Year

Genesis Water Technologies, Inc. 

Maitland, Florida 

Genesis Water Technologies, Inc. (GWT) has been named 2020 Small Business Exporter of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration.  The Maitland, Florida-based company will be recognized during SBA’s National Small Business Week, an annual event honoring the accomplishments and contributions of the best small businesses in the nation. This year’s National Small Business Week activities will include numerous educational panels providing retooling and innovative practices for entrepreneurs as our nation’s small businesses look to pivot and recover toward a stronger economy.  

Genesis Water Technologies, Inc. owner and Technical Director Nick Nicholas, along with other national winners and finalist for the National Small Business Person of the Year, will be honored in a virtual event that will be held on September 22-24.

“Genesis Water Technologies, Inc. has a tremendous impact in providing access to safe drinking water around the world.  They are a great example of how a small business can flourish by entering global markets.  We are proud that the SBA was able to assist them as they grew into an international company,” said SBA’s Office of International Trade Associate Administrator Loretta Greene.

Under Nicolas’ leadership, the company’s revenues more than doubled in 2019, and GWT started tackling the water supply issues with sustainable water treatment systems.  Nicholas is passionate about educating people about the impact that polluted water has on the world.

Genesis Water Technologies, Inc. began exporting industrial water filtration systems to Saudi Arabia in 2009.  Today, export business makes up 40 percent of the company’s total sales and supports the workforce of 100 employees. GWT received a State Expansion Program (STEP) grant for $2,500, which provided a roadmap for the international expansion of GWT.  The company launched a digital marketing campaign to include translating its website into 24 local dialects and invested in search engine optimization tools to increase traffic to its website.

The company now uses its expertise and solutions to serve municipalities and industrial clients in 43 countries, fulfilling its mission of providing water and wastewater reuse solutions to communities around the world. GWT believes it can make a difference in the world’s access to safe and clean water.

Laketa Henderson, SBA North Florida District Director (Acting) stated “I’d like to extend a heartfelt congratulations to Mr. Nicholas for winning the title of National Exporter of the Year. This award demonstrates his commitment to growing his business through exporting and international trade, which can often be a difficult task. He has worked with SBA resource partner the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the University of Central Florida to navigate some these challenges. This is a noteworthy accomplishment for Mr. Nicholas and for the SBDC.”

2020 North Florida Small Business Person of the Year

Sarah Blake

Sarah Blake

Sarah Blake has grown the company from 2 employees and $175,000 in revenue to just over 50 employees and over $7 million in revenue, within 11 years.  She has been recognized as the 2020 SBA North Florida District’s Small Business Person of the Year. Prior to that, she was given the award for SBA’s Woman-Owned Small Business Person of the Year for the State of Florida in 2015.

Elipsis Engineering and Construction, LLC

Winter Garden, Florida 

Local SBA Awards

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) North Florida District Director (Acting) Laketa Henderson is proud to announce the 2020 Small Business Week winners for the North Florida territory.

“This year has been challenging for most small businesses, and our winners are no exception. I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate the winners. We are proud of the contribution you have made in your respective communities. The SBA and our resource partners are here to continue to help all our small businesses in the area start, grow, and recover,” stated Henderson.

 *Due to the COVID-19 pandemic statewide judging was not available for most of these categories. 

Mary Jane Culhane

2020 North Florida District Woman-Owned Small Business Person of the Year

Ms. Mary Jane Culhane

Culhane’s Irish Pub (Jacksonville, Florida)

John Burns

2020 North Florida District Veteran-Owned Small Business Person of the Year

Mr. John Burns, President and CEO

Eagle 6 Technology Services (Orlando, Florida)

Viv Helwig

2020 North Florida District Minority-Owned Small Business Person of the Year

Mr. Viv Helwig, President

Vested Metals International, LLC (Saint Augustine, Florida) 

Tillery Durbin

2020 North Florida District Small Business Advocate of the Year

Ms. Tillery Durbin, Manager of Business Services,

121 Financial Credit Union 

(Jacksonville, Florida) 

Shannon Ogletree

2020 North Florida District Community Partner of the Year

Santa Rosa County Economic Development Office (Milton, Florida)

Accepted by Mr. Shannon Ogletree, Executive Director

Award through SBA’s Office of Government Contracting

Princess Ousley

Regional Prime Contractor of the Year 

Princess Ousley, President and CEO, Elite Business Strategies, LLC (Tallahassee, Florida)

FY 19 Top SBA Lenders

Top 7(a) Lender by Dollar Amount: SunTrust Bank

Top 7(a) Lender by Number of Loans: TD Bank

Top Certified Development Company by Dollar Amount & Number of Loans

Florida First Capital Finance Corporation

Top 1st Mortgage Lender: CenterState Bank of Florida

 Top Community Lender by Dollar Amount & Number Loans

Florida Capital Bank

Top Community Credit Union by Dollar Amount: 121 Financial

Celebrate our North Florida SBW Winners Virtually - October 9

The 2020 Small Business Week Award Winners will be recognized at a virtual Small Business Week Celebration on October 9, 2020. The Florida Small Business Development Centers at UNF, UCF, FAMU, and UWF will jointly host this first of a kind Small Business Week celebration. The 2019 North Florida District Office Top Lenders will also be recognized at the virtual event.

Register to celebrate the success of these small business winners here. 

Register Now