A military veteran who is pursuing her doctorate at Florida Institute of Technology will be honored in May as part of National Small Business Week, an annual celebration and recognition of America’s entrepreneurs.
Carol Craig, founder and chief executive officer of the Cape Canaveral-based Craig Technologies, was recently named Florida’s Small Business Person of the Year for 2015 by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Her engineering and technical solutions company provides services including software design and development, systems engineering and integration, information technology support and integrated logistics support.
Craig started the business on her own in 1999. Since then, it has grown to about 400 associates in 20 states, with offices in Huntsville, Alabama, and Orlando. Craig is a former U.S Navy flight officer and trainer. She is pursuing a PhD in Systems Engineering at Florida Tech.
National Small Business Week runs from May 4 to 8 and this year’s theme is “SBA: Dream Big, Start Small.” The SBA recently announced winners of the Small Business Person of the Year from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The national winner will be recognized at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on May 8.
SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet also will spotlight small business owners at events in Miami, Los Angeles, San Antonio, Texas, and New York City. Other events will take place across the SBA’s 10 regions and 68 districts in May and June.
Other state winners included entrepreneurs in the energy sector, especially in the nation’s most populous states. They include: California’s Brian L. Milholland, president of Milholland Electric, Inc., a solar electrical company based in El Cajon; Charles Feit, chief executive officer of OnForce Solar, Inc., a solar company based in New York City; and David F. Shutler, president and CEO of Utility Systems Solutions, a Dallas-based energy savings company.
National Small Business Week has taken place every year since 1963. Small businesses generated about two-thirds of the 3 million private-sector jobs created in 2014, Contreras-Sweet said in a statement. She added that more than 60% of the 11 million jobs created during the nation’s recovery from the Great Recession have been generated by startups and small enterprises.
The Small Business Administration was created in 1953, combining several government agencies that were established to help small businesses during the Great Depression and World War II. Its core functions include providing access to capital, entrepreneurial development, government contracting and advocacy.
For the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2014, the SBA loaned a record $19.19 billion in its 7(a) program, which covers the vast majority of business expenses, including short- and long-term working capital, exports and debt refinancing. Another program that offers loans of up to $150,000 grew by 23% in the number of loans (30,675) and 29% in total dollars ($1.86 billion) compared to 2013.
The SBA also provides specialized assistance to minorities, women and military veterans, as well as providing management advice and disaster relief loans.