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Kentucky small businesses to be awarded and recognized at State Capitol

Kentucky small businesses to be awarded and recognized at State Capitol

Kentucky small businesses to be awarded and recognized at State Capitol

This annual event celebrates National Small Business Week, recognizing high-performing small business owners in Kentucky.


The Kentucky Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and Kentucky District Office of the Small Business Administration (SBA) will host the Kentucky Celebrates Small Business event at the Capitol Rotunda in Frankfort on May 8 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. EDT. The event recognizes high-performing small business owners from across Kentucky. 

“I am continually impressed by the hard work, tenacity, and innovation demonstrated by Kentucky’s small business owners,” said Kristina Joyce, Kentucky SBDC state director. “Their dedication fuels our economy and enriches our communities. Our Kentucky Celebrates Small Business event is a testament to their resilience. It’s a privilege to recognize their achievements and celebrate their contributions to Kentucky’s vibrant entrepreneurial landscape.” 

“It is a great honor to recognize such incredible small business owners throughout Kentucky,” said Robert Coffey, SBA Kentucky district office director. “We champion these remarkable entrepreneurs and celebrate the impact they make in their communities and statewide.”  

2024 Small Business Administration award winners include: 

  • Kentucky Small Business Person of the Year – Ines M. Rivas-Hutchins, INTEC Group, LLC 
  • Kentucky Financial Services Advocate of the Year – Amanda Kelly, Southeast Kentucky Economic Development Corporation 
  • Kentucky Home-Based Business of the Year – John Batts, Stonewall’s Studio, LLC 
  • Kentucky Minority Small Business of the Year – Asia Latrece Rivers, Talk Childcare to Me, LLC 
  • Kentucky Rural Small Business of the Year – Judith R. Schmitt, JC TEC Industries, Inc. 
  • Kentucky Small Business Advocate of the Year – Tomi Jean Clifford, Cynthiana Harrison County Chamber of Commerce 
  • Kentucky Women-Owned Small Business of the Year – Raquel Carter, Guide Realty 
  • Kentucky Veteran Small Business of the Year – Michael Frank, Homestretch Mortgage 

2024 Kentucky SBDC Pacesetter Award winners include: 

  • Altman Eye Center – owner Dr. James Altman, Pikeville 
  • Calvert Drive-In Theater – owners Seth and Tabitha Manea, Calvert City 
  • Cornett Farm Fresh – owners Brent and Rhonda Cornett, London 
  • Cumberland Steel Company – owner Tanner Myers, Corbin 
  • CURED Restaurant and Salumeria – owner Elaisy Lapinet, Louisville 
  • Kealoha’s Kitchen – owners Val and Amy Abafo, Covington 
  • Morgan Servings, LLC – owner Dan Markwell, Morehead 
  • Reaction Items, LLC – owners Bill Meehan and Kirk Selenberg, Lexington 
  • Sign Language Network of Kentucky – owner Connie Meck, Lexington 
  • Wags Pet Retreat – owner Wendy Bruwer, Nicholasville 

For more information about the Kentucky SBDC awards, including the Pacesetter Award, or the Kentucky Celebrates Small Business event, please visit 

Kentucky SBDC 

The Kentucky Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has been assisting the commonwealth’s small business community for over 40 years. With centers statewide and an experienced and knowledgeable staff, the Kentucky SBDC provides unparalleled business coaching and training services at no cost to help existing business owners and potential entrepreneurs start, grow and succeed.  

Kentucky SBDC services include one-on-one business coaching, training workshops, access to market research, loan packaging help, assistance with financial projections and information needed to make informed business decisions.  

Kentucky SBDC is co-sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration and is administered by the University of Kentucky Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment in partnership with regional academic institutions, economic development organizations, the private sector and the Commonwealth of Kentucky. 


The U.S. Small Business Administration helps power the American dream of business ownership. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow, expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit

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The Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment is an Equal Opportunity Organization with respect to education and employment and authorization to provide research, education information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function without regard to economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status, physical or mental disability or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity.

Kentucky SBDC is funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U. S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of SBA.


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Scovell Hall Lexington, KY 40546-0064