Small businesses employ 50 percent of the U.S. workforce. The Chamber understands the importance of small business to our economy, and honors their efforts each year. The Hampton Roads Chamber, in partnership with the Small Business Development Center of Hampton Roads (SBDC), held its 30th annual Small Business of the Year Awards luncheon on Wednesday, May 21 at the Marriott Chesapeake. Nearly 300 people attended the event, which coincided with the U.S. Small Business Administration’s National Small Business Week.
From a pool of six city winners, Endurance IT Services was named the region’s 2014 Hampton Roads Small Business of the Year. Blake White, president and co-owner, and James Ashmore, vice president, accepted the award on behalf of the Virginia Beach based company founded in 2008. White said, “This means everything in the world to us. We based the company on three core principles. One, being fanatic about our clients’ satisfaction, no matter what cost is. Second, taking great care of our employees, regardless of what it takes. Third, giving back to the community.” He added, “I think this just proves that we’re doing the right things and putting back into the community, and giving back to the community. So, we’re very honored with this award.” When asked what’s on the horizon for his company, White said, “This award inspires us to take it to the next level, to continue to impress clients, treat staff like everyone would want to be treated, and continue to grow the company, and give back to Hampton Roads on a regular basis.”
Endurance IT Services, with 28 employees, plans, builds and helps manage network infrastructure and software applications for a variety of businesses. They are focused on client satisfaction and helping to serve the Hampton Roads Community. The company experienced a 40 percent revenue growth in 2013. Endurance IT Services received a prize package from the Chamber valued at $10,000.
Endurance IT Services was Virginia Beach’s 2014 Small Business of the Year as well, and was chosen for the regional award from an excellent pool of city winners including:
• R D Lambert & Son (Chesapeake)
• Grow (Norfolk)
• Home Instead Senior Care (Peninsula)
• Children’s Harbor (Portsmouth)
• Elizabeth River Landscape Management, Inc. (Suffolk)
The following were selected as the "Top 10 to Watch." These businesses are some of the fastest-growing small businesses in the area:
• Carry Norfolk
• Eternawell, LLC
• The Franklin Johnston Group
• Global Wind
• Norfolk Fair Trade Company
• Olde Towne Courtesy Shuttle
• Rock-A Bye Baby
• Smartmouth Brewing Co.
Jim White, owner of Jim White Fitness & Nutrition Studios, received the Young Entrepreneur Award (YEA!) and Kevin Neff, Owner/Founder of The KPN Group, was honored with the Impressions in Print Leadership Award.
Winners were selected by a judging committee which included Caron Crouse, CPA, Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP; Joseph Donnelly, CPA, Donnelly Real Properties, LLP; Dr. Doris Gomez, Regent University’s School of Business and Leadership; Nicole Harrell, Kaufman & Canoles; Dr. Stephen Lanivich, Old Dominion University; and Susan Long-Molnar, Managing Communications Consulting.
Carla Hesseltine, owner and chief cupcake baker for Just Cupcakes, served as the luncheon’s keynote speaker. Hesseltine, who is based in Virginia Beach, shared her personal story of starting a business and making four appearances on Food Network’s Cupcake Wars. Even though Hesseltine didn’t win first place on the show, she said it was all about the journey and experience. She warned that, “I was letting my business run me, and not the other way around.” Hesseltine says this year she will change this. She plans to close her Hilltop location and focus on her Town Center store, which offers walkability. “This business has taught me a lot about living,” she said. “Make time and nurture relationships with family and friends. I didn’t do that early on it can be lonely. Time is your most precious commodity. Don’t waste it.” She also stressed the importance of giving back to the community and charities. She challenged the audience to not just open their wallets to those in need, but to offer a kind word and gesture.
Thanks to sponsors: Southern Bank (Presenting); Inside Business (Media); Impressions in Print (Leadership Award); and Virginia Beach Convention Center (Gold).