These Entrepreneurs Are Nominees for the 2018 Small Business Awards

Every year we call for nominations for the best black-owned small businesses and entrepreneurs across industries and the country. This year the Black Enterprise community nominated movers and shakers across the board for family business, teenpreneur, techpreneur, and franchise owner of the year. And for some business owners, they make it a goal of theirs to be recognized by Black Enterprise as an award winner. Over the years, thousands of black business owners have been nominated and win or lose, they have gone on to make huge strides in their communities.

This year, our 12 nominees for the small business awards exemplify what it means to turn their ideas into sustainable businesses. On Friday, June 8, 2018, the nominees will be recognized at the Entrepreneurs Summit awards luncheon and the four winners will be announced at a special awards dinner.

Drum roll, please! Here are the 2018 Small Business Award Nominees:

Family Business of the Year

Running and operating a family business takes a lot of teamwork and dedication. This year’s Family Business of the Year nominees are solving problems with their businesses for parents, professionals, and everyday people. Here are the nominees:

Tara Darnley, Darlyng & Co.
(Credit: Tara Darnley)

At Darlyng & Co., we help parents through every step of the journey by offering them peace of mind with our line of safe and stylish baby products and apparel. Providing everyday essentials for everyday parenting.

What does it mean for you to be nominated for a BLACK ENTERPRISE Family Business of the Year Award?

We are truly honored and excited to be nominated. As a small family-owned-and-operated business, it’s awesome to be recognized as we compete daily in the juvenile/baby industry where there is really very few minority-owned businesses amongst major brands. So this was a pleasant surprise.

What would winning the award mean to you?

Winning the Black Enterprise Small Business Award has been a dream of ours and to even be nominated is already a huge win to be acknowledged by our community. Black Enterprise has been a huge part of our entrepreneurial journey. One of our first introductions to the world was through the BE annual pitch competition in 2015, where we were one of the finalists. Even though we did not win, that pitch competition prepared us for other huge opportunities that have helped pivot our small business. So to be nominated this year is truly a testament to always believe in your dreams and keep working hard, even when you think no one is watching.

What are you looking forward to most at the Entrepreneurs Summit?

The lineup this year is amazing with all the guest experts and businesses that will be in attendance. I’m definitely excited to network with other small businesses and learn from all the amazing speakers, to be able to return and share with our team and my Dreams Inspire Reality Podcast audience. Which has been our way of giving back to our community to inspire other entrepreneurs to pursue their dreams.

Stephen Carter, Sterling Staffing Solutions  
Brothers Stephen and Sterling Carter (Credit: Stephen Carter)

Sterling Staffing Solutions provides staffing services to several industries including healthcare, education, technology, oil and gas, and construction. We currently have over 800 contractors that are working for us in some capacity. We are currently contracted with 311 clients throughout Texas and Oklahoma areas including the greater metropolitan and rural areas surrounding Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Tulsa, and Oklahoma City. We specialize in providing staffing services to clients with our carefully selected top employees/contractors who possess the right skills, training, license, personality, and abilities to make a positive impact on their work environment.

Jerri Evans, Turning Natural Juice Bar
(Credit: Jerri Evans)

When Jerri Evans first opened her juice bar she could have only dreamed that it would infuse her life, her staff’s life, and her customer’s life, with such vitality and opportunity. It was Evans’ mother Annette Turner, who started Turning Natural, after being diagnosed with Stage II Breast Cancer. Sadly, after almost 10 years living cancer-free, the disease returned, and Annette fought her final fight in 2010.

What does it mean for you to be nominated for a BLACK ENTERPRISE Family Business of the Year Award?

It’s a privilege to do the work that we do in the community, but it is such an extreme honor to be recognized for that work on such an amazing platform.

What would winning the award mean to you?

Honestly, winning would definitely push us even harder to continue doing the work needed, but hopefully serve as an inspiration for those who have similar backgrounds to start wherever they are.

What are you looking forward to most at the Entrepreneurs Summit?

I’m extremely excited about the speaker lineup, I’m a big fan of the intimacy of fire-side chats. I’m just super eager to hear from other entrepreneurs and business owners, you can never stop learning.

The other nominees for the Small Business Awards are listed below and will be announced in greater depth.

Teenpreneur of the Year           

  • Gabrielle Goodwin, GaBBY Bows
  • Christon Jones, Return On Investment
  • Victor “Beau” Shell, Lil’ Ice Cream Dude’s Cool World

Franchise Owner of the Year

  • Antonio McBroom, Ben & Jerry’s Primo Partners
  • Leo Thomas, Marco’s Pizza
  • Marcus Richardson, Finally Pest CONTROL

Techpreneur of the Year

  • Bruce Hacker, INTER-OP
  • Patrick Hill, A Cultivated Mindset
  • George  Egbuonu, FlatPyramid