Many say small business is the backbone of the U.S. economy. According to the Small Business Administration, these operations collectively employ more than half of all private sector employees, pay 44.5% of total U.S. private payroll, and generate 60% to 80% of net new jobs annually.
Each year, BLACK ENTERPRISE honors the leading small businesses and the visionaries who drive them with the BE Small Business Awards. The winners will be announced at the ninth annual Black Enterprise/General Motors Entrepreneurs Conference, May 12—16, at the Wyndham Anatole hotel in Dallas.
Emerging Company of the Year NOMINEES
This award recognizes businesses that have poised themselves for future growth by carving out a special business niche or by adopting creative marketing techniques.
TYPE OF BUSINESS Staffing solutions, security
management, language services
PRESIDENT/CEO Zachary K. Duck
LOCATION Arlington, VA
Everyone knows the saying “Jack of all trades, master of none.” That could be the outcome of wearing too many professional hats. But ZKD Inc. is an exception with its multiservice approach.
As a staffing agency, ZKD analyzes current labor market trends and matches qualified applicants with employment opportunities. After 9-11, the company doubled its efforts to provide security services to meet increased demand. ZKD also offers a comprehensive communications service.
Founded in 2001 with only two employees, the company has had solid growth. There are now more than 250 employees and revenues totaled more than $10 million in 2003. ZKD has a growing roster of clients, including the Transportation Security Administration and McNeil Technologies. In January, ZKD was awarded a five-year, $53.7 million contract from the Department of Defense. In addition, the company has already solidified $34.5 million in contracts for 2004 with another $13 million expected.
Integrated ResourceTechnologies Inc.
TYPE OF BUSINESS Management consulting
PRESIDENT/CEO Faye Fields
LOCATION Falls Church, VA
The company’s corporate motto is “Innovative Solutions — Excellent Results,” and that’s exactly what this firm gets every time. What else would you expect from a company that guarantees its services?
Founded in 1986, IRT has more than 100 employees, 19 locations nationwide, and is 8(a) certified, serving federal, commercial, and nonprofit clients. The company can count the Missile Defense Agency, the D.C. Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the U.S. Marine Corp. among its clients.
The company pulled in $9.8 million in revenues last year, more than a 40% increase from 2002. Its services are broken into two areas: management support services and information services. The management support division emphasizes planning, marketing, and business development while the company’s information services include LAN/WAN installation and management; hardware and software testing, evaluation, and installation; and help desk services. IRT has been awarded contracts totaling some $43 million.
TYPE OF BUSINESS Automobile dealer
PRESIDENT/CEO Anthony Underwood
LOCATION Bessemer, AL
Anthony Underwood challenges the ruthless car salesman stereotype; his customers say they don’t come any better than him. Underwood owns two successful dealerships that sell previously owned cars. He opened his first dealership in 1994, leasing space from another car dealer. In about a year’s time he was successful enough to buy and renovate a building for his new dealership.