WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, Maria Contreras-Sweet, Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration recognized and awarded this year’s National Small Business Week national award winners including the Small Business Person(s) of the Year at a ceremony and reception in Washington, D.C. For the first time in the history of the SBA, an LGBT-owned small business has been name National Small Business Person of the Year.

“It is my extreme pleasure and honor to announce that business partners Brooke McDonnell and Helen Russell from Equator Coffees & Teas headquartered in San Rafael, California are this year’s national Small Business Person(s) of the Year. It all started in 1995 when they started to roast coffee in Brooke’s garage.  Equator now has 90 employees and 350 wholesale customers including the renowned French Laundry restaurant, cafes at LinkedIn, micro-kitchens at Google and three retail stores in Northern California with two more on the way,” Contreras-Sweet said. “Helen and Brooke purchased their own roasting plant using an SBA 504 loan. They have worked diligently with their farmers for 17 years and were one of the first roasters to support the Fair Trade movement to gain better wages for growers.”

“The overall competition was extremely competitive this year. The highlight of my day was to be able to meet and award every state and territory winner and thank them for all they do for their local economy and America’s small business community. Two out of three net new jobs in America are created by small businesses and it’s all of our small business winners today who are leading the way,” Contreras-Sweet added. V

Via Press Release