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Columbia Business Monthly

Four South Carolina SBDC Clients Win State SBA Awards

May 09, 2019 09:54AM ● By Kathleen Maris

Photo: Karen Jenkins of KRJ Consulting was named the 2019 State Female Small Business Person of the Year.

The South Carolina Small Business Development Centers (SC SBDC), the state’s premier provider of business assistance to entrepreneurs and small business owners, announces that four of its clients were recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration-South Carolina District Office (SBA) for outstanding achievement in advancing the needs of the small business community.

The awards were presented in a ceremony honoring National Small Business Week held May 1 at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. The event was hosted by the U.S. Small Business Administration-South Carolina District Office, South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, SCORE, South Carolina Research Authority, South Carolina Department of Commerce, and the South Carolina Small Business Development Centers. Salute to Small Business Week is a National event organized by the SBA.

The SBA named Karen Jenkins of KRJ Consulting the 2019 State Female Small Business Person of the Year, Boyd and Nichole Johnson of Boyd Cycling South Carolina State Exporter of the Year, Srikanth Kodeboyina of Blue Eye Soft Corp the State and Southeast Regional 2019 Minority Small Business Person of the Year, and Hemalata Patel of Courtesy Management the 2019 State and Southeast Regional Rural Small Business Owner of the Year.

"The development and growth of small businesses in South Carolina are essential to the state's overall economy," said SC SBDC State Director Michele Abraham. "The SC SBDC is committed to providing support and opportunities to companies like KRJ Consulting, Boyd Cycling, Blue Eye Soft and Courtesy Management to help them succeed. These clients are living proof that innovativeness, dedication and perseverance are conduits to success. The SC SBDC couldn’t be prouder of these four clients and is honored to be a part of their stories.”

The Female Small Business Person of the Year award recognizes recipients for developing an outstanding, woman-owned growing business, innovative products or services, increasing jobs, increasing sales, overcoming adversity and community contributions.

“I am humbled and honored to receive this recognition from the SBA as the 2018 Female Small Business Person of the Year,” said Karen Jenkins, owner of KRJ Consulting. “I know there were numerous qualified candidates and I am blessed to be able to represent the Female Business owners in South Carolina.”

KRJ Consulting, LLC (KRJC) works with Federal and state agencies and corporations to improve performance and efficiency, align organizational needs with staff capabilities, and manage changing environments. KRJC leverages workforce development, staff augmentation, and management advisement and coaching services, resulting in a robust team equipped to lead, problem-solve and achieve mission-critical goals. 

The Exporter of the Year recognizes recipients for their innovative products which are currently being exported into foreign markets.

“We are so honored to be chosen as the SBA Exporter of the Year.  We would like to thank so many people for their ongoing support through the years,” said Nicole Johnson of Boyd Cycling. “To be able to export internationally is so important for our business. Thank you to SBA, SBDC, SCRA and SC Launch, Department of Commerce and the Trade administration.”

Boyd Cycling is celebrating 10 years in business this year as a high-quality and innovative bicycle wheel manufacturer. Based out of Greenville, Boyd Cycling designs their bicycle rims and hubs as well as assembles all wheels at their headquarters off of the Swamp Rabbit Trail. Currently, Boyd employs 10 individuals and exports their wheels all over the world.

The Minority Small Business Owner award recognizes recipients for developing an outstanding, minority-owned growing business, innovative products or services, increasing jobs, increasing sales, overcoming adversity, and community contributions.

Coming from humble origins, Srikanth Kodeboyina, Founder & CEO of Blue Eye Soft Corp is an advocate for education and workforce development. Kodeboyina graduated from the Greenville Chamber of Commerce Minority Business Accelerator program in 2018, has been recognized as a promising young entrepreneur and participated in the National Minority Supplier Development Council’s Emerging Young Entrepreneur program.

Blue Eye Soft Corp (BES) is an IT and ITES company based in the Upstate of South Carolina with core competencies in Business Intelligence and Predictive Analytics using Artificial Intelligence and The Cloud. BES also runs a testing facility offering professional certifications and collegiate exams. 

Kodeboyina said that he is honored to accept the award from the SBA on behalf of the employees at Blue Eye Soft Corp. He also thanks the South Carolina Small Business Development Centers (SC SBDC) for its ongoing assistance in helping him grow his business. “This award not only encourages us to do more but also helps us in accomplishing our mission to build a strong corporation.”

The Rural Small Business Owner award recognizes recipients for their operational excellence as a rural small business owner and their efforts to increase the awareness of the contributions of rural small businesses to economic vitality and create a better business environment.  

“I am most honored and grateful to receive the Rural Small Business Person of the Year Award. Winning the award only strengthens our small business’ resolve to continue to grow, to continue to seek out new opportunities, to continue to innovate, and to continue to build systems that benefit our employees, our broader community, and our most important group of people - our guests,” said Hemalata Patel, owner of Courtesy Management. “I want to single out one particular person for special recognition: Jimmy Johnson, SC State University region director of the SC SBDC. Many thanks to Jimmy for submitting my nomination.”

Orangeburg-based Courtesy Management is an award-winning hotel and property management company that is redefining the concept of excellence in hospitality. Over the past three decades, Courtesy Management has built and managed over 25 hotels by partnering with industry leading brands such as IHG, Hilton, CHOICE Hotels, Best Western, Marriott, and Wyndham Hotels Group. Since 1997, the company has developed and invested in premier assets in small to mid-sized communities, implemented effective business strategies and operating procedures, managed market leading properties, all while focusing on sustainable construction and operations. Today, the company not only builds and manages their own award-winning hotels but is growing into a successful third-party management company for franchise owners and investors that seek to partner with a trusted ally and team of hospitality industry professionals committed to taking ‘a hands-on approach’ in their assets and maximizing and delivering positive financial results.

Earlier this year, Patel was also named Orangeburg County Chamber of Commerce Small Business Person of the Year.

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