In recognition of the small business community’s contributions to the American economy and society, the President of the United States designates one week each year as National Small Business Week. Scheduled for the week of April 30th of this year, Small Business Week 2017 will honor the more than 26 million small businesses in America. Since its establishment in 1963, the highlight of this annual tradition is the presentation of awards which focus on the outstanding contributions of small business persons and champions at the district, state and national levels. The U.S. Small Business Administration has announced Michelle DeClerck as the winner of its 2017 Iowa SBA Women in Business Champion of the Year award.
DeClerck founded Conference Event Management 13 years ago and has since built her business into a successful event management company providing event services of all kinds in Iowa and throughout the world. In addition to being a successful entrepreneur, DeClerck has been a dedicated advocate for other woman-owned businesses throughout the state. She is active in several organizations that support women business owners and provide mentoring to young women. She sits on the Central Iowa executive committee for Iowa Women Lead Change (IWLC) and was involved in the first year’s student mentorship program. DeClerck serves as secretary for the Iowa Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) and for the last six years has even provided pro bono event planning and registration services for the annual NAWBO Summit educational conference. In 2011 she was named the Iowa NAWBO Business Owner of the Year.
The Iowa SBA Women in Business Champion is selected based on the following criteria:
- Active support for legislative or regulatory action designed to help women-owned small businesses.
- Efforts to increase business and financial opportunities for women.
- Legal, financial or managerial assistance provided to enhance women’s business ownership.
- Voluntary efforts to strengthen the role of women business owners within the community.
- Advocacy of the women-owned business community as a whole, not solely for individual personal advancement.
- Other accomplishments demonstrating effectiveness in improving the environment for the creation and expansion of businesses owned and operated by women.
Any individual who has fulfilled a commitment to the advancement of women’s business ownership in Iowa may be nominated. Nominees do not have to be small business owners, nor do they have to have had SBA assistance.