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2023 Small Business Awards

May 31, 9:15AM-1PM
Marbles Kids Museum

On May 31, we brought together more than 175 entrepreneurs, policy makers, and community partners to celebrate the people and organizations making a big difference in North Carolina's small business ecosystem. Throughout the morning, we celebrated with networking sessions, a plated brunch, unforgettable speakers, and remarks from our incredible awardees, representing businesses and entrepreneur support organizations from across our state.


Our Awards

Referral Partner of the Year

This award recognizes an individual or organization that has demonstrated a commitment to lighting the way for small businesses by assisting entrepreneurs in reaching CSBDF and the necessary capital and technical assistance they need to thrive.

Torchbearer of the Year

This award recognizes an individual or organization who embodies a shared commitment with CSBDF to exemplifying excellence in community and economic development through the lens of our three-pronged torch approach: capital, technical assistance, and policy research.

Research Partner of the Year

This award recognizes an individual or organization that has partnered with CSBDF and demonstrated a commitment to advancing evidence-based policy research in the fields of community and economic development and/or expanding the knowledge based around CDFIs.


2023 Policy Champion

This award recognizes a legislative leader who has demonstrated a commitment to North Carolina’s entrepreneurs and small business ecosystem and has worked to advance policies that benefitted and strengthened the landscape for our state’s small businesses.

WWBC Mountain Climber

This award recognizes a WWBC client who has demonstrated leadership, growth, and triumph as a small business owner in Western North Carolina.

Innovator of the Year

This award recognizes a small business owner who has demonstrated creativity, innovation, and leadership as an entrepreneur and in their community.

Change Agent

This award recognizes a small business owner who has demonstrated excellence in advancing positive change for their business, employees, and community.

Community Activator

This award recognizes an individual or organization who has demonstrated a shared commitment to serving and empowering underserved entrepreneurs and communities.

Newcomer of the Year

This award recognizes a small business owner who is less than five years into their entrepreneurial journey and has demonstrated outstanding acumen, talent, and leadership.

Latino Entrepreneur of the Year

This award recognizes a Latino entrepreneur who has demonstrated growth and innovation as a small business owner.

Our 2023 Awardees

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Kate Goodwin
Kate's Korner Learning Center

Change Agent

With over 35 years of experience in early childhood education, Kate Goodwin owns Kate's Korner, an early learning center and afterschool care program in Durham. 

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Tracey and Girard Newkirk
Genesis Block

Community Activator

Tracey and Girard Newkirk founded Genesis Block, a business development organization focused on building the entrepreneur class in the Wilmington area.


DeAnna Allen
The Brown Sugar Collab

Innovator of the Year

DeAnna Allen owns The Brown Sugar Collab, a thriving business that celebrates and promotes diversity by intentionally purchasing products from BIPOC women suppliers.

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Lyelman Alvarado & Jaures Garcia
Cabinet's Guys

Latino Entrepreneur of the Year

Cabinet's Guys is a family owned and operated company, providing kitchen, bath, and laundry cabinet installations for home builders and cabinet manufacturers.

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Erika Valbuena & Jeams Garcia
Services Global Group

Newcomer of the Year

Erika Valbuena and Jeams Garcia began Services Global Group after moving to Charlotte in 2018, using their expertise to provide low voltage and fire alarm services. 

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Julieta Fumberg
Multidisciplinary Artist

WWBC Mountain Climber

Julieta Fumberg is a multidisciplinary artist in Asheville. Her main mediums are acrylics, watercolors, graphic design, and photography. She believes that being creative is a way of life. 

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Jose D. Alvarez
Prospera North Carolina

Referral Partner of the Year

Prospera North Carolina focuses on providing bilingual support and assistance to Hispanic entrepreneurs. Vice President Jose D. Alvarez will be accepting the award. 

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Adrienne Smith
Opportunity Finance Network

Research Partner of the Year

Adrienne Smith is the Senior Vice President of Research for Opportunity Finance Network, leading the organization's research strategy and agenda. 

Sen. Brent Jackson
District 9

2023 Policy Champion

Senator Brent Jackson has served seven terms in the North Carolina Senate. He has served as chair of the Senate Agriculture, Environment, and Natural Resources Committee as well as Senate Appropriations Committee.

Sen. Paul A. Lowe, Jr. 
District 32

2023 Policy Champion

Senator Paul A. Lowe, Jr. has served in the North Carolina Senate since 2015, and has served as a pastor at Shiloh Baptist Church in Winston-Salem for over two decades.

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Rep. Kyle Hall
District 91

2023 Policy Champion

Representative Kyle Hall has served in the North Carolina House of Representatives since 2015. He is a licensed real estate broker and REALTOR.

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Rep. Robert T. Reives, II
District 54

2023 Policy Champion

Representative Robert T. Reives, II has served in the North Carolina House of Representatives since 2014. Reives currently serves as Democratic Leader of the House. 


Live Oak Bank

2023 Torchbearer of the Year

Live Oak Bank contributes to the growth of local economies by investing in America's small business owners. Live Oak Bank is on a mission to be America's small business bank, fueling the growth of small businesses across the country. 

Keynote Panel

Keynote Panelists

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Miguel Avila
Daily View Pools

Miguel Avila serves as the President and CEO of Daily View Pools, a family-owned swimming pool contractor building outdoor spaces that inspire time together. 

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Marco Calcagno

Marco Calcagno is the owner of Limbionics, a prosthetists company serving North Carolina focusing on patient care, quality outcomes, and providing service to all in need.

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Chantea' Carpenter
Infinity Care

Chantea' Carpenter is the owner of Infinity Care, an accredited agency in Winston-Salem that provides behavioral health and home care services.

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Ronald Simmons
Master Blend Family Farms

Ronald Simmons has served as President of Master Blend Family Farms in Kenansville since 2012. Ron has over 10 years of professional experience in agri-business.

Thank you, sponsors!

Title Sponsor

Platinum Sponsor


Gold Sponsors


Silver Sponsors

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Our Sponsors
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