SCORE to Hold Virtual Awards Ceremony Recognizing Top SWFL Businesses & Volunteers
October 27, 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Fort Myers, Fla., October 22, 2020 — As part of its National Small Business Week Awards celebration, the SBA South Florida District announced that three mentors from the SCORE Southwest Florida Chapter 219 won in the category “Small Business Advocate of the Year” for the state of Florida. This win goes specifically to SCORE mentors David Hamblett, Len Hendrickson and Raymond O’Brien for their work in helping the gourmet exotic spice company Burma Spice to achieve solid growth.
When Burma Spice owner Ed Brakus approached SCORE, he had a business model working with Florida farmers to grow local spice crops rather than having products shipped from overseas. This farm to table approach not only provided fresh product, but also turned what would have been months of delays in shipping from other countries into being able to pick, dry and deliver Florida-grown spices within a week. Brakus asked SCORE for help with financing and marketing to expand his business.
Together, the three SCORE mentors were able to use their talents to help Brakus secure a $250,000 SBA guaranteed loan for manufacturing equipment within seven days. Within two weeks, the mentors had also arranged for a key meeting with the Culinary Manager at the Florida Culinary Accelerator in Immokalee. This led to important networking and raw material sourcing.
“My SCORE Mentor team of Len Hendrickson, David Hamblett, and Raymond O’Brien helped me navigate through financial restructuring decisions and acquire substantial SBA-backed funding through Anchor Bank, which supported strategic growth options,” said Brakus. “Furthermore, my SCORE Team directly connected Burma with the Immokalee Culinary Accelerator facility in Collier County which has led to local agricultural product sourcing as well as exciting marketing opportunities. My mentors found a major business lead for me in an area where I didn’t know to look.”
Burma Spice was also recognized as the SBA “Rural Small Business of the Year.” For more details, see the attached form.
SCORE VIRTUAL AWARDS CEREMONY SET FOR OCTOBER 27th
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
In lieu of its annual in-person awards luncheon, SCORE Southwest Florida will host a virtual awards ceremony to recognize this year’s top businesses in the categories of: Startup of the Year, Entrepreneurs of the Year, Family-owned Small Business of the Year and Business of the Year. A number of outstanding SCORE volunteers will also be recognized in this hour-long event.
This is an invitation only event and we encourage media representatives to attend to learn more about the businesses and volunteers making a difference in Southwest Florida. Please register in advance using the following link:
https://score.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJUuf–vrjgjE9PR9sMep_rqf3oPqOxE2oZP After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
ABOUT SCORE SOUTHWEST FLORIDA
SCORE Southwest Florida is a local chapter of SCORE with more than 35 volunteer business experts. SCORE, America’s premier source of free and confidential small business advice for entrepreneurs and small businesses, is funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Since 1964, SCORE has helped more than 11 million aspiring entrepreneurs. Each year, SCORE’s over 10,000 volunteer business experts provide hundreds of thousands of free small business mentoring sessions and local/online educational services to clients at all points of their business lifecycle through 300 chapters nationwide. In 2019, SCORE volunteers provided 4.9+ million hours to help create more than 29,600 small businesses and over 97,300 total jobs. In 2019, the Southwest Florida Chapter supported 24 new business starts and the creation of 257 non-owner jobs and continued to be rated highly rated for client satisfaction. In FY2020, SCORE Southwest Florida delivered 2,134 services to the community, mentoring 443 clients in 1,123 mentoring session with 56% in-business and 693 attendees at local and online SCORE workshops. Learn more: www.southwestflorida.score.org