2013 Business Awards Luncheon honorees:
• Steve Bloom Award — Steve Bloom
• New Business of the Year — Algae Energy
• Heritage Award — Scientific Games
• International Business of the Year — Trox USA
• Small Business of the Year, more than 50 employees — Billy Howell Ford
• Small Business of the Year, 26 to 50 employees — Anchor Home Mortgage
• Small Business of the Year, 11 to 25 employees — Cumming Dance Academy
• Small Business of the Year, fewer than 10 employees — JTECH Networks
Source: Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce
The namesake of an award was the first to receive it Thursday during the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce’s 2013 Business Awards Luncheon.
Steve Bloom, an entrepreneur who has mentored more than 20 small businesses through the chamber’s SCORE Roundtable program in recent years, received the honor in front of a group of about 125 at the Lanier Technical College Forsyth Conference Center.
Previously known as the Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and prior to that as the Business Leader of the Year, the award now carries Bloom’s name.
Bloom, who was also the event’s main speaker, said he was surprised.
“If tears in one’s eyes would validate what it was [a surprise], yeah, I did not expect this at all,” he said.
Bloom said he hopes others will “pay it forward” and continue to help one another as business owners.
“I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly and I have as much fun if not more doing what I’m doing with these folks because, believe it or not, I learn as much from them as maybe they do from the pointers I throw out,” he said.
Jason Mock, director of the chamber’s Small Business Services Center, said an awards advisory committee unanimously voted to name the award after Bloom, who has owned and operated a number of business ventures throughout his life.
“[They] looked at that award and really knew that we needed … somebody that represented that type of award and it didn’t take long for the council to come to a conclusion as to who that individual was,” Mock said. “He just really models his work behind what he preaches and his ethics of entrepreneurship and trying to grow business and helping businesses out.
“He’s been very instrumental in helping a lot of businesses in our community.”
Besides the Steve Bloom Award, several small businesses were honored during the luncheon.
Awards went to the top businesses with fewer than 10 employees, 11 to 25 employees, 26 to 50, and more than 50.
JTECH Networks was honored with the award for fewer than 10 employees, while Cumming Dance Academy took home the 11 to 25 category.
Anchor Home Mortgage received the 26 to 50 employee award, and the honor for the 50-plus employees division went to Billy Howell Ford.
Awards also were presented to Algae Energy, which was named the top new business of the year, and Trox USA, for international business of the year.
Scientific Games received the Heritage Award, which goes to a business that has been active in Forsyth County for at least 20 years.
Republican U.S. Reps. Rob Woodall and Doug Collins also briefly addressed the group, praising members for their efforts as business owners.
“If [other federal leaders] came from the kinds of communities that Doug and I come from — communities like this one that celebrate entrepreneurs, that celebrate risk taking, that celebrate success — we’d have an entirely different conversation in Washington, D.C.,” said Woodall, from District 7.
Added Collins, of District 9: “Rob and I want to be part of the solution and how to do that is taking the values that you see in this room and applying them to every day.”