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 June 18, 1999

SBA honors the honorable

publisher’s notebook

It all starts with an idea.

Then comes the planning, the scraping together of finances, the hiring, the firing, the managing, the seemingly endless hours carrying out every task possible.

In the end, if all goes well — and it seldom does — an entrepreneur makes his or her mark on society, providing employment to people and creating a product or service for which customers are actually willing to pay.

Starting, financing, running and succeeding in business is far tougher than most people realize. Recognizing those who succeed can be a critical factor in fostering that entrepreneurial spirit; it’s the reason behind our own successful Bravo! Entrepreneur awards program, and it’s the reason behind the U.S. Small Business Administration’s annual awards presentation.

This year’s SBA event occurred June 1 at the aptly named Renaissance Hotel at the old Stapleton International Airport. The event used to attract a couple hundred people, but this year’s attendance drew well upwards of 400 attendees.

Of those recognized by the SBA this year, each has a story to tell. Robert Ben made entrepreneurship his second career after spending 22 years in the U.S.

Air Force. In 1988, Ben founded System Technology Associates Inc. in Colorado Springs. The company provides requirements analysis, system design analysis, simulation and modeling, software design and other services.

It’s now become one of the fastest-growing Hispanic-owned, and fastest-growing companies in general, in the country. Ben was named Colorado Small Business Person of the Year.

Vanessa Morganti knows the value of an idea. She identified a need among businesses to locate recycled products to purchase. Now her company, Future

Solutions Inc., works to find all of the recycled products that a client could want. Her goal is to become a clearinghouse for information on environmentally friendly products and to assist businesses in acquiring them.

Helping entrepreneurs succeed is no less important than putting it all on the line. The SBA recognized several individuals for their work in boosting entrepreneurship among various groups. Named Colorado Women in Business Advocate of the Year was Barbara Jean Wells, vice president of the Denver law firm of Minor & Brown PC. Wells has served on a number of boards promoting women in business, including 13 years with the Mile High Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners.

Over the years, Wells has been a tireless voice supporting the emergence of women business owners in Colorado.

Also recognized was Sara Fuentes, named Colorado Minority Advocate of the Year. Fuentes co-owns the Denver Business Development Group and has been involved in minority business development for more than 24 years. She is chair of Minority Enterprise and Educational Development, which provides scholarships to minority youth, and coordinates the Minority Enterprise Development Week.

Helping out on the veteran’s front is Pauline N. Hamamoto, named the SBA’s Colorado Veterans Advocate of the Year. Working through Right Management Consultants Inc., Hamamoto counsels military personnel at Fort Carson preparing to enter civilian life. She works closely with the business community in Colorado Springs and El Paso County, “encouraging them to hire, train, and mentor new employees, particularly women and minorities, who may someday open their own business,” the SBA writes.

Hamamoto collaborates with the Service Corps of Retired Executives, encouraging veterans to enroll in “New Business Start-Up” workshops at Fort Carson.

One last note about this year’s SBA awards: No winners hailed from Northern Colorado. I’d encourage interested parties to contact Chris Chavez, the SBA’s spokesman in Colorado, to inquire about the nomination process for next year. He can be reached at (303) 844-0501.

Christopher Wood can be reached at (970) 221-5400, (970) 356-1683, (800) 440-3506 or via e-mail at cwood@ncbr.com. His fax number is (970) 221-5432.

publisher’s notebook

It all starts with an idea.

Then comes the planning, the scraping together of finances, the hiring, the firing, the managing, the seemingly endless hours carrying out every task possible.

In the end, if all goes well — and it seldom does — an entrepreneur makes his or her mark on society, providing employment to people and creating a product or service for which customers are actually willing to pay.

Starting, financing, running and succeeding in business is far tougher than most people realize. Recognizing those who succeed can be a critical factor in fostering that entrepreneurial spirit; it’s the reason behind…

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