A Publication of WTVP

Small Business, Big Impact

The Turner Center for Entrepreneurship celebrates the success of entrepreneurs, startups, rural businesses, innovators and the people who support them.

by Text Jonathan Wright | Photography Evan Temchin |
Turner Center for Entrepreneurship 2021 Small Business Award winners

Entrepreneurship is a driving force for innovation and growth—a vehicle for new ideas and advanced technologies to enter the marketplace. As with every business venture, there is always some element of risk involved. The Turner Center for Entrepreneurship at Bradley University supports local businesses on this journey—helping them minimize risk, take advantage of opportunities, grow and thrive.

Three organizations provide services under the Turner Center umbrella: the Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC), which provides free business counseling and low-cost training programs; the Illinois SBDC International Trade Center, which helps companies navigate the international marketplace; and the Illinois Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), which assists companies doing business with governmental agencies.

On September 2, 2021, the Turner Center is hosting an award ceremony to celebrate the success of entrepreneurs, startups, rural businesses, innovators and the people who support them—recognizing promise during a time of great adversity. The following articles highlight the ten winners who are dedicated not only to their businesses, but to making a positive impact in the community.

Small Business Advocate of the Year: Washington Chamber of Commerce
Tying the strength of a community to support of its small businesses

Community Partner of the Year: SCORE Peoria
Free and confidential counseling for entrepreneurs and small businesses

Exporter of the Year: ARi Global Solutions
Building new opportunities in new markets around the world

New Exporter of the Year: Green Valley Manufacturing, Inc.
A leader in mold and die handling equipment extends its reach.

Rural Business of the Year: Spang Gang Designs, LLC
Handcrafted and personalized gifts, from rural Illinois to the world

Government Contractor of the Year: CW Financial & Management Group
Consulting with local, state and federal agencies on an array of business practices

Startup of the Year: Skid Steer Nation
An empowered team placing customer needs above all else

Innovation of the Year: We Hear You
Placing accessibility, diversity and inclusion at the heart of innovation

COVID Courageous Business of the Year: Black Band Distillery
Helping the community navigate the pandemic through decisive and selfless action

Small Business of the Year: Bear’s Bites 
Homemade, single-ingredient pet treats take the nation by storm