Small business entrepreneurs recognized for their success with a special award.

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Small business entrepreneurs recognized for their success with a special award.

A group of small business owners, successful on their journey to becoming entrepreneurs, were honored with the Small Business Spotlight Award at the Miami-Dade Business Navigator (MDBN) Community Connections event.

All of the businesses received assistance from the Miami-Dade Business Navigator program, a local initiative funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and led by the Florida Small Business Development Center (FSBDC) at FIU Business, to help underserved local entrepreneurs in Miami launch, grow and revitalize their businesses.

“I found some great mentors through Business Navigator,” said Xenia Marcinko, executive producer of The Magus Films, a video production company. “A lot of the help I received this year translated into the growth and success of the business; and there’s more to come, I’m sure.”

The event, held at FIU Business, saw over 90 attendees ranging from Federal and local government, community groups and small business owners.

At the Miami-Dade Business Navigator resource fair following the award ceremony, Mark Madrid, associate administrator for the Office of Entrepreneurial Development at the SBA, was encouraged by the energy in the room. There, small business owners connected with new providers of support for their business goals.

“Small businesses are giants of our economy, representing almost half of the U.S. workforce,” Madrid said. “We don’t always support this, and if we don’t rescue our small businesses that’s a big disservice.”

The MDBN works with six experienced organizations to support community needs, including Ascendus, Branches, the Economic Development Council of South Miami-Dade, the Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce, Prospera and StartUP FIU Local.

Together, they have provided one-on-one assistance in the areas of business development, access to capital and financial assistance, contracting and procurement, as well as training, guidance in selecting resources, and networking opportunities.

The impact has been widespread, through September the six MDBN partners had:

  • provided over 9,400 hours of one-on-one consulting to almost 1,600 local businesses
  • organized 204 community events for over 6,200 attendees
  • referred 551 clients among MDBN partners
  • partnered with over 30 Miami-Dade County groups on trainings and referrals
  • assisted businesses with securing over $7.2 million in capital

“This program has saved us more than once,” said Corina Jimenez, CEO of Vegallia, a plant-based gelato company co-owned with her daughter Natalia Serur. An Ascendus loan helped them create a branding campaign that enabled them to enter new markets.

Recipients of the Miami-Dade Business Navigator Small Business Spotlight Awards and the organizations that supported them:

  • Xenia Marcinko - The Magus Films – StartUP FIU Local
  • Felton Brown - Alpha International Transport - Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce
  • Jose Gregorio Lugo - Mailing Logistics – Ascendus
  • Corina Jimenez and Natalia Serur - Vegallia – Branches
  • Julio Carrero - Insinet Group – Prospera
  • Sommer Curry - Designs by Sommer – EDC of South Miami-Dade
  • Nicole Bronson - Anointed Florist & Gift Shop – Florida SBDC at FIU