SOURCE: BiGAUSTIN

May 02, 2006 14:13 ET

Small Businesses Big Winners at BiGAUSTIN's BiG IDEA Awards

AUSTIN, TX -- (MARKET WIRE) -- May 2, 2006 -- Although there were only four award winners on April 20th, at the BiG IDEA Awards Luncheon, there were truly no losers. Hundreds of entrepreneurs and members of the business community turned out to help honor the achievements and empower the growth of Austin's small businesses. Over 500 guests were treated to a dynamic keynote address by Randal Pinkett, CEO of BCT Partners, and winner of the hit television series "The Apprentice." His speech, entitled "From Small Business to Community Institution Building," shared secrets of growing small businesses to BiG Businesses and their impact on the community.

The "Rookie of the Year" Award was presented to Scott Ingram, of NetworkInAustin.com. Ingram, a speaker, author and blogger, launched NetworkInAustin.com, Inc. in May 2005. The "Creative Award" went to Melinda Maine Garvey of austinwoman Magazine, a women's business publication magazine which debuted in September 2002. The "Best Transition" Award was awarded to Sharon Mays of Baby Greens, a vegetarian fast food restaurant that opened its doors in January 2004. And BiGAUSTIN alumni, Ryan & Austin Borders received the "BiGAlumnus" Award for their family business endeavors. All American Recycling, a family business inherited by the brothers in 2004 and originally named Borders Brothers, has experienced tremendous growth and success since becoming a BiGAUSTIN client. A complete list of winners, pictures and more information about their businesses can be found on the BiG IDEA Awards Winners page of www.bigaustin.org.

Award winners each received a business prize package worth thousands, including a Verizon PDA, two roundtrip Continental airline tickets, gift certificates and business resource subscriptions. The BiG IDEA Awards was made possible by various event sponsors like Wells Fargo Bank, Washington Mutual, The Hartman Foundation, and CitiBank. "We were thrilled to receive the Creative Award. At austinwoman Magazine, we educate, inspire and give exposure to business women in our community," says Melinda Maine Garvey, co-Founder and publisher of austinwoman Magazine. "It is an honor to accept recognition for what we love to do most."

Nominations were made by the community-at-large to www.bigaustin.org for several months leading up to the event. "Competition was fierce and our judges were extremely challenged to select four winners from the nearly sixty businesses that were nominated. We wanted to make sure that even those entrepreneurs who did not win awards still walked away with a wealth of knowledge that they could put into practice while growing their businesses," says Jeannette Peten, President of BiGAUSTIN. To that end, the day's events also included a BiG Breakfast workshop lead by world-renowned entrepreneur and author, Gary Hoover, on the "8 Keys to a Successful Business" in which attendees received direct and practical business advice.

BiGAUSTIN, a non-profit organization founded in 1995, is Central Texas' single-source solution for entrepreneurial education, tailored business counseling and flexible loans. Local entrepreneurs employ 25% of Austin's workforce and continue to play a significant role in helping to shape the local economic landscape of our city.

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