AUSTIN - On Wednesday, September 2nd, City of Austin leaders, nonprofit organizations, and the business community heard a message about the state of small businesses in Texas, and specifically in Austin. The Economic Development Department hosted its second annual State of Small Business in Austin event, which is designed to provide a current view of horizon issues for small businesses. Kevin Johns, City of Austin Economic Development Director stated, According to the 2012 U.S. Business Census, the Austin area has over 32,000 small businesses with fewer than 100 employees. These businesses employ over 238,000 people, underscoring the importance of small businesses to Austin's economic health and vitality."
Bryan Daniel, Executive Director of Economic Development and Tourism Division for the Office of the Governor, delivered a message about small businesses in Texas and Brian Kelsey, Principal of Civic Analytics, unlocked the latest small business statistics for the Austin area. Mayor Steve Adler was on hand to recognize and celebrate four outstanding small, local businesses for their hard work and unique contributions to the Austin community in the inaugural year of the City of Austin Small Business awards.
Mandoo Entertainment, Paul Kim's full service entertainment company that focuses on bridging South Korea and the U.S. through traditional and contemporary music performances, as well as film screenings, was recognized for Excellence in Keeping the Character of the Community.
The Excellence in Hiring award was given to TV Dinners, a cafeteria and catering service that provides healthy, affordable meals. Owners Terri and Juan Villanueva has provided jobs and training to a number of students and persons with disabilities from the Texas School for the Blind, Texas School for the Deaf, and Austin Independent School District, as well as low-income residents through the Housing Authority of City of Austin's Section 3 program, thereby helping those who want to become a productive part of the community.
Co-owners Ryan Sansbury and Jeremy Bastian founded Logro Farms, recognized for Excellence in Promoting the Circular Economy, in response to the increasing consumer demand for fresh and nutritious food grown using ecologically conscious methods and organic processes. The sustainable farm specializes in growing gourmet mushrooms and sustainable food products that it supplies to a brewery and a pizza restaurant that are co-located with the farm.
Sugar Mama's Bakeshop, owned by Olivia O'Neal, is a minority woman-owned bakery that employees 12 full time employees and has grown to two locations. She is the recipient of this year's award for Excellence in the Use of a Microloan.
"The City of Austin is proud to recognize companies like these. They embody what makes Austin such a great place in which to live and do business," said Mayor Adler. "Part of the widespread appeal of Austin is its richly diverse small business community."
Local nonprofits and government agencies nominated small businesses for the City of Austin Small Business Awards and a panel of City program managers selected the winners.
About the City of Austin Economic Development Department
The Economic Development Department (EDD) develops and leads innovative programs that increase the prosperity of all Austinites, our businesses, and our diverse communities. For more information, visit www.austintexas.gov/edd.
(Pictured from left to right: Shamseh Jaliferi, BiGAUSTIN, Bob Gedert - City of Austin Resource Recovery; Olivia Guerra O'Neal - Sugar Mama's Bakeshop; Kevin Johns, Director- City of Austin Economic Development; City of Austin Mayor Steve Adler, Steve O'Neal - Sugar Mama's Bakery) Photo Credit: Michael Knox, City of Austin
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