SARASOTA -- Four Manatee County businesses earned awards at the 2014 Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce Small Business Awards on Friday at the Hyatt Regency.
Forty judges from businesses and organizations around Sarasota interviewed and selected the winners from a pool of 24 finalists. "A lot of it has to do with innovation, growth and serving your community," said GSCC spokeswoman Brittany Lamont.
Manatee businesses that took home awards are CS&L CPAs, Gateway Bank of Southwest Florida, Goodwill Manasota and ShelterBox USA.
"Small businesses are the greatest part of our community and economy," GSCC president Steve Queior told a crowd of 526. "You're the backbone of our community and the country, and we're honored to be able to facilitate
this salute to you."
U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Longboat Key, who also spoke before awards were doled out, said he is trying to get the tax code simplified to help small business.
"In my mind what makes America special is small business," Buchanan said. "Many people start at a small business level and end up creating a lot of jobs. In Washington we need to create a culture that helps our businesses compete here and compete abroad."
The award winners are:
[ ] Small Business of the Year (51-100 employees): CS&L CPAs
[ ] Small Business of the Year (1-50 employees): Gateway Bank of Southwest Florida
[ ] Young Professional of the Year: Chris Laney
[ ] Non-Profit Organization of the Year: Goodwill Manasota
[ ] International Organization of the Year: ShelterBox USA
[ ] Health Care Organization of the Year: Neuro Challenge Foundation
[ ] Cultural Organization of the Year: Van Wezel Foundation
[ ] Retail Business of the Year: L. Boutique and Spa