Web pioneer wins Person of Year accolades
SnagAJob.com CEO Shawn Boyer landed the SBA's National Small Business Person of the Year for his profitable, growing business and community outreach efforts.
(FORTUNE Small Business) -- An online job-search company founder was named National Small Business Person of the Year this week, becoming the first entrepreneur to win the Small Business Administration award for a Web venture
It may not be the most well-known of business accolades, but Boyer shares his new title with such business luminaries as Ben & Jerry's founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, who were honored by President Reagan in 1988. The award has been granted annually for more than four decades.
"SnagAJob exemplified the judges' four criteria: overall growth, demonstrating innovation, responding to adversity and community involvement," said Anoop Prakash, associate administrator for the SBA's office of entrepreneurial development. "They're filling a unique niche."
Much like the classified section of a newspaper, SnagAJob takes a fee from employers to post hourly and part-time job openings. For job seekers, access to the site's listings are free. Clients of the Richmond, Va., firm include national employers such as Home Depot (HD, Fortune 500), JPMorgan Chase and Co. (JPM, Fortune 500) and McDonald's (MCD, Fortune 500).
"We saw a need that existed, and started a business," said Boyer, 36, a former corporate attorney who conceived SnagAJob.com in 1999 after trying to help a friend find a summer internship online.
Boyer bootstrapped the company from day one, raising money from family, friends and from raiding his life savings. SnagAJob took on venture capital in 2006, and has been operating profitably since 2004, according to Boyer. With nearly 4 million website visitors each month, the company reported sales of $11 million last year.
The judges also recognized Boyer for his company's community outreach. SnagAJob employees regularly volunteer at the Salvation Army and Habitat for Humanity and as counselors at a local camp for children who have lost family members.
"Boyer has been very involved in creating a mission and set of values for the company that allowed it to contribute to the community," Prakash said. "It stood out."
Three runners up were also chosen from the 53 state small-business winners, which include recipients from the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam. First runner up was Angela Timm, founder of Bainbridge, Ind.-based Cottage Garden, Inc., a music boxes retailer that posted $5.9 million in national and international sales last year. Tied for second place were Deborah Moore, founder of AccuStat EMR, an electronic medical records consultancy in Myrtle Beach, S.C.; and George Burciaga, owner of smarTECHS.net, a Chicago IT firm.
To be eligible to win the SBA's national award, small-business owners must be nominated at the beginning of the year on a local level, where nominations are collected by district SBA offices. The judging process, which requires paperwork including corporate financial statements for the past three years, takes place at the regional, state, and ultimately national, level.
For Boyer, who was nominated by the Greater Richmond Chamber, the individual aspect of his Small Business Person of the Year recognition isn't so important.
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