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CSBDF honors entrepreneurs, community partners at 2023 Small Business Awards



RALEIGH – Carolina Small Business Development Fund (CSBDF) hosted its annual Small Business Awards on Wednesday, May 31 at Marbles Kids Museum in Downtown Raleigh, celebrating the entrepreneurs, policymakers, and community partners making a difference in North Carolina’s small business ecosystem.


As part of the event program, CSBDF honored 13 different small businesses, entrepreneurs, community partners, and policymakers from throughout the state of North Carolina with awards, highlighting each of their great impacts on North Carolina’s small business landscape. From entrepreneurs to state legislators, the 2023 Small Business Awards highlighted the different ways North Carolina’s small businesses are making a difference in their communities every day.


Entrepreneurs and organizations recognized at the awards ceremony included:

  • Kate Goodwin of Kate’s Korner Learning Center in Durham (Change Agent of the Year)

  • Tracey and Girard Newkirk of Genesis Block in Wilmington (Community Activator of the Year)

  • DeAnna Allen of The Brown Sugar Collab in Charlotte (Innovator of the Year)

  • Lyelman Alvarado and Jaures Garcia of Cabinet’s Guys in Wake Forest (Latino Entrepreneur of the Year)

  • Erika Valbuena and Jeams Garcia of Services Global Group in Matthews (Newcomer of the Year)

  • Julieta Fumberg in Asheville (WWBC Mountain Climber of the Year)

  • Jose D. Alvarez of Prospera North Carolina in Charlotte and Raleigh (Referral Partner of the Year)

  • Adrienne Smith of Opportunity Finance Network in Washington, D.C. (Research Partner of the Year)

  • Senator Brent Jackson of State Senate District 9 (2023 Small Business Policy Champion)

  • Senator Paul A. Lowe, Jr. of State Senate District 32 (2023 Small Business Policy Champion)

  • Representative Kyle Hall of State House District 91 (2023 Small Business Policy Champion)

  • Representative Robert T. Reives, II of State House District 54 (2023 Small Business Policy Champion)

  • Live Oak Bank in Wilmington (Torchbearer of the Year)


“All of our 2023 Small Business Awards recipients exemplify the best of what North Carolina’s small business ecosystem has to offer,” said Dr. Paulette Dillard, President of Shaw University and CSBDF Board Chairperson. “From the small business owners turning their entrepreneurial dreams into reality, to the community partners helping them in that journey, to the state legislators fighting for those dreams in their policymaking, each of our award recipients has played a vital role in developing this state’s small business community. We want to honor and thank all of our awardees for their endless dedication to furthering the success of small businesses in our state.”


Carolina Small Business Development Fund is a nonprofit and certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) with a mission to foster economic development in underserved communities by providing capital, technical assistance, and policy research to light the way for small businesses. Each year, CSBDF hosts the Small Business Awards to shine a light on and recognize those who align with CSBDF’s commitment to small businesses in North Carolina, as well as the small business owners CSBDF strives to support.

In addition to presenting awards, CSBDF hosted a keynote panel during the 2023 Small Business Awards featuring four small business owners from across the state of North Carolina. Joining the panel were Miguel Avila of Daily View Pools in Charlotte, Marco Calcagno of Limbionics serving the Triangle and its surrounding counties, Chantea’ Carpenter of Infinity Care in the Triad, and Ronald Simmons of Master Blend Family Farms in Sampson County. The four small business owners spoke during the awards ceremony about their journeys as entrepreneurs and experiences working with Carolina Small Business Development Fund.


“At Carolina Small Business Development Fund, our focus is on being a trusted partner, business guide, and advocate for small businesses in North Carolina,” said CSBDF President and CEO Kevin Dick. “We work on an ongoing basis with entrepreneurs, community partners, banks, policymakers, and more to ensure we are helping to light the way for small businesses in our state. At our annual Small Business Awards, we get the important opportunity to highlight and honor those people we work with and thank them for their shared commitment to this ecosystem. Without the continued support and collaboration with the partners and business owners we’ve had the privilege of presenting awards to this year, our work would not be possible.”


About Carolina Small Business Development Fund (CSBDF)

Founded in 1990, Carolina Small Business Development Fund is a nonprofit and certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that fosters economic development in underserved communities through access to capital, technical assistance, and policy research to light the way for small businesses. Since 2010, CSBDF has contributed more than $103 million through 1,179 loans and 1,643 grants to dedicated small businesses across North Carolina, helping to create or retain more than 4,500 full-time jobs.

For Media Inquiries:

Emily Blevins Marketing & Communications Director, CSBDF eblevins@carolinasmallbusiness.org

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