SBA announces 2020 R.I. Small Business Week awardees

PROVIDENCE – The U.S. Small Business Administration on Monday announced its 2020 Rhode Island Small Business Week awardees.

Harmony Oschefski, and Cedar Hwang, owners of The bodhi spa in Newport, were named the 2020 Rhode Island Small Business Persons of the Year. 

“The small-business community here in Rhode Island is one of the greatest in the country,” said SBA District Director Mark S. Hayward. “These businesses have demonstrated a creativity, business acumen, staying power and success needed to rise to the top of the business world. They have also displayed the intuition and resiliency … to pivot their business plans and find new and inventive ways to keep their products and services relevant and marketable. These men and women are the true embodiment of entrepreneurship and the Rhode Island motto; Hope.”

The SBA noted that Small Business Week is typically observed in early May but the annual event was postponed due to the risk of COVID-19 and state guidelines for social distancing.

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Other awardees for 2020 include:

  • Rhode Island & New England Small Business Exporter: Joseph Janson, CEO of NVTS Night Vision Technology Solutions LLC in Jamestown.
  • Rhode Island & New England Financial Services Champion: Angela Laperriere, assistance vice president, business assistance manager and lending officer at Seed Corp. in Taunton.
  • Rhode Island & New England Small Business Manufacturer: Michael Black, president of National Marker Co. in North Smithfield.
  • Rhode Island & New England Microenterprise: Rebecca Twitchell, president and founder of half full llc in Providence.
  • Rhode Island & New England Minority-Owned Small Business: Juan Lantigua, president and CEO of The Family Cake in Providence.
  • Rhode Island Home-based Small Business: Duran and Kristy Searles, co-owners/artists at Painted Karma Custom Designs in South Kingstown.
  • Rhode Island Jeffrey Butland Family-owned Small Business: Dan Shedd, president of Taylor Box Co. in Warren.
  • Rhode Island Veteran-Owned Small Business: Adam Batchelder, owner of Smoke & Squeal BBQ in Pawtucket.
  • Rhode Island Women-Owned Small Business: Janelle Blakely Photopolous, owner and creative director of Blakely Interior Design in North Kingstown.
  • Rhode Island Young Entrepreneur: Kaitlyn Szczupak, owner and president of S & S Transmissions and Auto Repair Inc. in Tiverton.
  • Rhode Island District Director Award: Paul Deroche, small-business advocate.