National SBA Recognition for Sen. Ruderman

April 7, 2015, 9:29 AM HST
* Updated April 7, 9:30 AM
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Small Business Person of the Year winners were announced Monday by Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, the head of the United States Small Business Administration. Among the winners is State Senator Russell E. Ruderman, President and Founder of Island Naturals.

Sen. Ruderman recently earned the honor of State of Hawai’i Small Business Person of the Year by the United States SBA District Office and is now being honored on a national level.

Island Naturals is a group of three natural and organic food stores opened in 1997 on the Big Island. The company currently has locations in Hilo, Kona, and Pahoa and over 150 total employees.

Winners from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands were all announced Monday.

According to SBA, the winners are currently undergoing a review process by a panel and an overall National Small Business Person of the Year will be announced by the U.S. SBA on May 8 in Washington, D.C.


“It is my pleasure and honor to announce the 54 winners. Competition was extremely keen across the nation for these prestigious awards. I couldn’t be any prouder than recognizing these outstanding entrepreneurs and small business owners, they represent the backbone of our economy. Small businesses create nearly 2 million of the roughly 3 million private-sector jobs generated in 2014. More than 7 million of the 11 million jobs created during our recovery have been generated by startups and small enterprises,” said Contreras-Sweet.


Beginning in 1963, the U.S. president has issued a proclamation each year calling for the celebration of National Small Business Week. In 2015, the week will be recognized from May 4-8.

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