MERRILLVILLE │ The Northwest ISBDC celebrated small business success in the region during its 22nd annual Entrepreneurial Excellence Awards luncheon, also known as E-Day, Wednesday at the Radisson Hotel at Star Plaza.
Outstanding entrepreneurs and small business owners honored included sisters Roxanne Perkins and Jacqueline Woods, whose Chesterton business, Delicious Deep Freeze, was named Minority-Owned Business of the Year.
“We do feel honored to be selected as minority winners,” Perkins said. “It’s a great honor and it makes me feel like we need to strive even higher to do an even better job than we’re doing.”
“I think what it will do is it makes us humble and helps us teach others about the experience we’ve had and the experiences we’ll have going forward,” Woods said.
The Lifetime Achievement Award went to Pete Peuquet, president and CEO of Chester Inc. in Valparaiso. The 75-year-old company is best known for developing the seed corn made famous by Orville Redenbacher.
“It’s been much more than that,” Peuquet said.
Peuquet said being honored by the Northwest Indiana Small Business Development Center was a humbling experience.
“I was surprised when they called me and I think what we feel more comfortable with is we’ve had a tremendous influence on a lot of entrepreneurs over the years – whether it’s getting them started or expanding their business, that’s kind of the mantra that we’ve had at Chester for a long time,” he said.
Keynote speaker Scott Albanese, of Albanese Confectionery, talked to the honorees about what he said are the two most fundamental things to their success: telling their story with passion and helping others.
“Your ability or lack of ability to execute these two principles will be the determining factor on how large your company will eventually become,” he said. “If you internalize and execute these two principles, the only limitations on the size of your company will be the size of your industry you’re in.”
Albanese said when you tell your story with passion story is also your strategy, vision and mission statement.
“That story is critical,” he said.
“We all know in business you’re there to help your customers but equally important is to let the customer know you helped them,” he said. “Toot your horn – a little self-promotion. Let them know your there to help them. That brings loyalty and shows them where your heart is.”
Just as important, Albanese said, is to help your employees be successful.
“Too often we don’t involve our employees in the decision-making process,” he said. “Good managers will always manage from the bottom up. Bad managers will always go from the top down.”