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Seattle District Office – October 18, 2022

u s small business administration

Illustration of a trophy with text, 2023 National Small Business Week Awards. Now accepting nominations. The SBA logo is included.

Upcoming Webinar: How to submit a nomination for SBA National Small Business Awards

Nominations are open now for the 2023 National Small Business Week awards. This is a great time to celebrate the hard-working small business owners that deserve to be recognized. Individuals may nominate themselves, or another business owner. 

Interested in learning more? Please join us for an upcoming webinar to learn about the Seattle District’s award categories, eligibility, and how to make a nomination. Following the overview presentation, we will have time for Q&A, so bring your questions! Attendees will receive a follow up email with the recording, slides, and handout with all of the nomination guidelines and forms. 

Thursday, October 20 at 11am


Thursday, October 27 at 1pm


Award Categories


Efrem Fesaha, WA State and PNW Region Small Business Person of the Year with family (left), Small Business Awards Gala (right)

The SBA Seattle District Office will be awarding individuals and small businesses in each of the following categories:

National Categories

  • Small Business Person of the Year 
  • Exporter of the Year
  • 8(a) Graduate of the Year

Seattle District Categories

  • Rural Small Business of the Year
  • Young Entrepreneur of the Year

Winners in all five categories will be announced during National Small Business Week April 30 – May 6, 2023 and will be recognized at the local Small Business Awards Gala, hosted by SCORE. Additionally, winners in the national categories will move on to the national level, competing among winners from all SBA districts for a national award and recognition during National Small Business Week.

How to submit a Nomination

Step 1: Review the nomination criteria

Start by visiting the National Small Business Week awards page, where you will find information on award categories, eligibility, nomination guidelines and nomination forms. 

Step 2: Gather and Complete the required forms

All of the necessary forms and instructions can be found on the National Small Business Week website. Some forms are required for all award categories, and some categories have specific nomination forms. 

To make a nomination in the following categories, use these links to reach the appropriate nomination form:

For all award categories, nomination packets must include:

Step 3: Submit your completed nomination packet electronically

All submissions must be uploaded to the Seattle District Box Account no later than Thursday, December 8, 2022 at 12 noon (PST).

*The award for Small Business Person of the Year is awarded per state. While the Seattle District Office does serve counties in northern Idaho, all nominations in this category for businesses located in Idaho should be summitted to the Boise District Office here.

Step 4: Watch your email for confirmation and further communication regarding your submission.

Questions and Assistance

For any questions regarding award criteria, how to submit a nomination, or a submission you have already made, please contact Neil Subhash, Outreach and Marketing Specialist for the SBA Seattle District Office. 


Meet the 2022 Winners

The SBA Seattle District had a competitive field in 2022, with many small businesses nominated in each category. While they all deserve recognition, these four standouts took the top honors. 

Washington Small Business Person of the Year


Efrem Fesaha, founder and CEO of Boon Boona Coffee (left), SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman visiting Efrem at Boon Boona Coffee (right)

Efrem Fesaha, Founder and CEO of Boon Boona Coffee

Renton, Washington

Boon Boona Coffee began in 2012 with the mission of empowering small-scale African coffee producers through intentional sourcing, while building local community around coffee culture here in the Pacific Northwest. Today Boon Boona Coffee roasts more than 100,000 pounds of African coffee, with 20 employees across two locations.

Fesaha was also the 2022 Pacific Northwest Small Business Person of the Year, selected among state winners from Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, making him one of 10 finalists for the SBA National Small Business Person of the Year Award. 

Efrem Fesaha in the news:

Young Entrepreneur of the Year


Jessica Atkinson, CEO of Sweet Frostings Blissful Bakeshop (left), SBA Spokane Branch Manager Joel Nania and Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward visting Jessica at Sweet Frostings (right)

Jessica Atkinson, CEO of Sweet Frostings Blissful Bakeshop

Spokane, Washington

Sweet Frostings Blissful Bakeshop is known for high quality and customized cakes, cupcakes and unique treats, greeting customers across two locations and employing more than 35 staff. Starting at age 14, Atkinson joined forces with the original founders (her mother and a family friend) and has worked full time in the business in various roles. Now 24 years old, Atkinson leads the business as CEO as they continue to grow and innovate. 

Jessica Atkinson in the news:

Spokesman Review

Rural Small Business of the Year


Brooke and Sam Lucy, owners and operators of BlueBird Grain Farms, at the Annual Small Business Gala in Seattle (left) and on their farm in Winthrop (right)

Bluebird Grain Farms

Winthrop, Washington

Founded in 2004 by Brooke and Sam Lucy, Bluebird Grain Farms is a certified organic producer and processor, specializing in ancient grains, fresh-milled flour and whole-grain handcrafted blends. What started as a grassroots business venture to provide organic ancient grains to their local community has expanded well beyond their small rural town to become an award-winning, vertically-integrated, value-added business that supports eight employees, a regional network of grain producers, and serves more than 19,000 customers. 

Bluebird Grain Farms in the News: 

Exporter of the Year


Richard Brinton, founder and President of BBD International at work (left), and accepting his award (right)

Richard Brinton, Founder and President of BBD International

Edmonds, Washington

Richard Brinton founded BBD International in 1997 as an exporter of construction equipment. Through a 25-year career Brinton has developed business relationships spanning 6 countries, and expanded his exporting business to include machinery, spare parts and military equipment. Brinton values the direct, personal relationships he has forged as key to his success. 

BBD International in the News:

My Edmonds News

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