Gloria Freeman, founder and CEO of Olu’s Home, was named Minnesota’s Small Businessperson of the Year.

Celebrating Small Business Week

Minnesota marks the 53rd annual event created by the SBA

By Kevyn Burger
Monday, May 2, 2016

Hey small business owner! Did you get your salute from President Obama?

By Presidential proclamation, May 1-7 is declared to be National Small Business Week, an annual marking of the critical value of this segment of the American economy.

The proclamation notes small businesses create nearly two-thirds of net new jobs

each year and employ more than half of all Americans.

Every year since 1963, the Small Business Administration has highlighted the impact of entrepreneurs and small business owners, through National Small Business Week.

This year’s theme is “Dream Big, Start Small.”

The SBA is highlighting one entrepreneur from every state and several U.S territories for their outstanding achievements.

Gloria Freeman, founder and CEO of Olu’s Home, was named Minnesota’s Small Businessperson of the Year. Freeman founded the licensed care business in 1999. (Read more about Gloria Freeman and Olu's Home here and here!)

Headquartered in north Minneapolis, the company provides residential and in-home services in the Twin Cities metro area for the elderly and persons with developmental disabilities or mental illness. Last August, Freeman opened Olu's Center to allow grandparents go to daycare with their grandchildren.

Freeman has participated in the SBA’s Emerging Leaders Initiative, an intensive, MBA-level training program for executives of high-potential, small businesses in America's under-served cities.

In addition, GMB Mezzanine Capital of Minneapolis was one of the two winning firms honored by the SBA as this year’s Small Business Investment Company of the Year.

The SBA’s Office of Investment and Innovation administers the SBIC Program. Created in 1958, the multi-billion dollar, zero-subsidy government-sponsored investment fund created bridges the gap between entrepreneurs’ need for capital and traditional sources of financing. In 2015, 1,210 small businesses were financed by SBICs.

GMB Mezzanine Capital manages three SBIC funds that have raised over $275 million in private capital and have been awarded $330 million in SBA leverage and commitments. During GMB’s hold period, these companies grew employment by 19%, creating or sustaining more than 16,600 jobs in small businesses across 24 U.S. states. 

The principals of GMB Mezzanine Capital are Carlton L. Olmanson, Michael D. McHugh and Daniel J. Hemiadan.

As part of the week long festivities, the UPS Store is holding a networking event on May 4 at the Minneapolis Event Center. Marcus Lemonis of CNBC’s hit show The Profit will be in attendance.

The evening includes a live pitch competition with a prize of $5,000. Three local businesses will each have three minutes to make their case before the live audience and a panel of judges.

The trio of finalists include Derek Reed of custom tailor Vanquish, Jason Dorweiler of Tori Ramen, a startup noodle shop in the process of acquiring space, and Marian Dahlberg of Vava Veve, which will sell fine hand-woven linen.