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The U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Baltimore District Office is accepting nominations for the successful small business person who might become Maryland’s “Small Business Person of the Year” for 2015 and compete for the national title during National Small Business Week, May 4-8, 2015. Nominees are also being sought for Small Business Champion and Special Award categories. The deadline for nomination submissions is Jan. 5, 2015.

This is an excellent opportunity to promote your own business, a client or even an employee. It’s your chance to be recognized for all of your hard work and entrepreneurial spirit. Both the nominator and nominee receive recognition through this awards program. Who can’t use some free publicity these days?

Small Business Person of the Year nominees will be judged on a variety of criteria, including staying power, growth in employment and sales, innovation of product or service and evidence of contributions to the community.

Small Business Champion awards are presented to persons who have used their professional or personal talents to further the public’s understanding and awareness of small business. Candidates must have taken an active role in creating opportunities to promote the interests of small business.

Champion award categories include: Financial Services, Home-Based Business, Accountant, Attorney, Insurance, Minority, Veteran and Women. Special award categories include: Family-Owned Small Business, Entrepreneurial Success, Small Business Exporter and Young Entrepreneur.

Nominations can be made by an individual or an organization. The Maryland program accepts nominations for individuals or businesses operating within the City of Baltimore and all Maryland counties except Prince George’s and Montgomery counties.

To obtain nomination criteria and submission guidelines, visit  www.sba.gov/md or contact Rachel Howard at (410) 244-3337 or by email at rachel.howard@sba.gov