OGLESBY — Several Bureau County business owners were honored as “Champions” at a breakfast held Thursday by the Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Illinois Valley Community College.
The SBDC held its second annual Breakfast of Champions at the Lock 16 Visitor Center in LaSalle, recognizing success stories in the area.
“Small businesses often fly under the radar,” said SBDC Director Bev Malooley. “People don’t realize the great things they’re doing in their companies.”
Bureau County business owners honored at the breakfast were:
• Entrepreneur of the Year: Troy Resetich – TROY simplified technologies Inc. (Spring Valley).
• Business Owner of the Year: Spencer and Annette Davis – A Hundred Acres Orchard and Market (Princeton); and Joseph Soldati – Central Millwright Services Inc. (Arlington).
Also recognized were Dr. Paul Bonucci – Princeton Prompt Care as one of four start-up businesses of the year; and Marty Makransky of Princeton as Entrepreneur Educator of the Year.
Makransky heads up the Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities Class at the LaSalle-Peru Area Career Center. Bureau County students in the program who were recognized were Derrick Wooden of Princeton High School; and Danny Orozco and Damin Smith of St. Bede Academy.
Malooley said the award winners are chosen by her and her team. They review their current list of clients to determine for which category of award they would be eligible.
The SBDC provides future entrepreneurs and established business owners with business consulting services. Those services include reviewing business plans, helping clients understand and analyze financial statements, developing marketing and sales strategies, identifying financial options and assisting the client through the steps of obtaining a loan.
Malooley said for the entrepreneur category, they look at what defines an entrepreneur.
“We look at what have they done in the last 12 months, and how are they growing their businesses,” she said.
For the Niche Business of the Year, which was won by Nick Fascetta’s The Auto Inspector business in Ottawa, Malooley said they looked for businesses that were both unique and solid.
“This is a business I’ve never seen around here,” she said. “He’ll look for a car for you or inspect a used one you’re thinking about buying.”
In the business owner category, Malooley said her team looked at the challenges the Davises faced in buying the A Hundred Acres Orchards, dissecting the previous business and reassembling it into their own.
“It’s about vision and having a good plan going forward,” Malooley said. “They stuck with their vision and never strayed from it.”
For a businessman like Soldati, Malooley said they need more than a crafter’s skill.
“There are always a lot of people who know how to make a widget,” she said. “You need the right stuff, like management skills.”
Malooley said for a business like Soldati’s, there’s also a lot that goes into owning and operating a business that’s a union company.
For the start up businesses, Malooley said they look at the quality of the start up, such as if there is a business plan put in place, adequate cash flow and a good product.
“In the first 12 to 24 months of a new business, the owner must stay on top of things and keep moving along,” Malooley said.
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