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Local entrepreneur gets a boost from Small Business Development Center

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On an average day, Trina Worrell Benjamin handles invoices, returns calls and emails, directs a team of nearly a dozen employees and manages a client roster that has included big names like Rite Aid and Toys“R”Us. She admits her first steps into entrepreneurship were not easy. But with the help of…

Local entrepreneur gets a boost from Small Business Development Center

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Lehigh University SBDC and Duquesne University SBDC clients Honored with SBA Awards for National Small Business Week

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Every year, the U.S. Small Business Administration solicits nominations for high-impact small businesses as part of their National Small Business Week Awards. Two Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) clients have won awards this year to acknowledge their impact to the Pennsylvania economy and celebrate their commitment to their local community and region.  

Allentown’s EcoTech Marine International has won Small Business Exporter of the Year Award for Eastern Pennsylvania and was nominated by the Lehigh University SBDC. In addition to winning in their respective Pennsylvania district, they have won at the SBA Region III level, beating out award nominations from the states of Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Washington DC and West Virginia. 

Founded in 2003, EcoTech’s Patrick Clasen and Tim Marks noticed a deficiency in reef aquarium propeller pumps and developed the VorTech pump, which is the smallest model on the market. Due to the success of the product, EcoTech now has a distribution network of more than 26 distributors in 40 countries with approximately 30 percent of their sales being international. Because of this great achievement, Ecotech is also up for National Small Business Exporter of the Year Award, which will be announced when Small Business culminates in Washington D.C. on May 16.

Nelson Cano of Cima Software Corporation in Pittsburgh, who received assistance from the Duquesne University SBDC, is the Small Business Exporter of the Year Western Pennsylvania winner. Due to foreign inquiries, the company decided to allocate more of its resources towards international business, working in places such as Mexico and Peru. They continue to offer their software services worldwide.

Both EcoTech and the Cima Software Corporation will attend award ceremonies in their area. EcoTech will be recognized at the “SBA Day at the Ballpark” event on June 2 in Philadelphia, and the 16th Annual Entrepreneur’s Growth Conference will honor Nelson Cano on June 5 in Pittsburgh.

National Small Business Week is proclaimed by the President of the United States to recognize the critical contributions of America’s small businesses and entrepreneurs. This year, the week-long celebration will run May 12-16 with events being held in multiple cities from coast-to-coast that are designed to help small businesses start, grow and succeed. 

Additional information on this year's events can be found here.  Events will also be live-streamed on SBA’s website at www.sba.gov.