2024 Louisiana Small Business Award Winners – Including the National Small Business Person of the Year – Honored at Capitol Park Ceremony

BATON ROUGE, La. – Louisiana Economic Development and the U.S. Small Business Administration recognized business owners and supporters who exemplify Louisiana’s entrepreneurial resilience and diversity at the 2024 Louisiana Small Business Awards ceremony Thursday, May 2, at the Louisiana Capitol Park Museum in Baton Rouge.

“Louisiana’s small business community continues to be a shining light driving our state’s economy forward,” LED Secretary Susan B. Bourgeois said. “That is why here at LED we are equally committed to growing existing Louisiana businesses of all sizes as we are to attracting new investments. Congratulations to this year’s honorees for their significant achievements in – and contributions to – our great state.”

The annual event hosted by LED for more than 25 years comes during National Small Business Week. For over 60 years this weeklong celebration has acknowledged the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners to the national economy.

The Small Business Awards recognize excellence in a broad range of categories. The 2024 honorees are:
2024 SBA Champion Award Recipients

Entrepreneurial Success Award
Cristy Cali, Cristy’s Collection, LLC, St. Rose

Minority Small Business Champion
Mayra E. Pineda, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana, Metairie

Lender of the Year
Alton L. McRee and Donald Peltier, American Bank, Covington

Young Entrepreneur of the Year
Xavier Barreda and LaDonte Lotts, JiggAerobics, LLC, Baton Rouge

Veteran Small Business Champion
Jack L. Gunter, GUNCO, LLC, Sulphur

Women in Business Champion
Trudy R. Poret, Tarpan Construction, LLC, Cottonport

Small Business Development Center Excellence & Innovation Center Award
Susan Thibodeaux, LSBDC at McNeese State University, Lake Charles

Phoenix Small Business Recovery Award
Dirk Guidry, Terrebonne Parish Council- District 8, Chauvin

2024 LED Entrepreneur Awards

LED Small and Emerging Business of the Year
LaDarby Williams, Germ Slayers Cleaning & Maintenance Solutions, New Orleans

Outstanding Small and Emerging Business Development Up-and-Coming Business Awards
Anastacia Francis, Little Starr’s Center, LLC, LaPlace

LEDC Equity Fund of the Year
Mickal P. Adler and John K. Roberts III, Boot64 Magnolia Fund I LP, Metairie

LEDC Micro Lender of the Year
Jonathan Reynolds, Carter Credit Union, Shreveport

LEDC Most Valuable Bank of the Year
Cody Gil and Courtney Tramiel, First Guaranty Bank, Hammond

Louisiana APEX Accelerator Government Contractor of the Year
Christina C-Do, Quality First Marine, LLC, Covington

Manufacturing Extension Partnership of Louisiana Small Manufacturer’s Award
Cherrie Guidry, Guidry’s Catfish, Inc., Breaux Bridge

National Federation of Independent Business Small Business Champion Award
Wayne Rabalais, Rabalais Business Consulting, Lafayette

USDA Rural Development Lender of the Year
Stephen C. Van Sickle II, BOM Bank, Natchitoches

USDA Rural Development Borrower of the Year
Walker Alford, All Hours Fitness, Inc., Many

Small Business Person of the Year
Iam C. Tucker, Integrated Logistical Support Incorporated (ILSI), New Orleans

Tucker has also been recognized as the National Small Business Person of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration. This prestigious award recognizes entrepreneurs who demonstrate exceptional leadership and create sustainable, thriving businesses in their communities.

The ILSI owner was in the inaugural class of LED Growth Leaders and has participated in several LED small business programs including CEO Roundtables, Strategic Research and Mentor-Protégé Recognition Program.

“The SBA is proud to recognize 2024 National Small Business Person of the Year Iam C. Tucker, who exemplifies the grit, ingenuity and determination that define our nation’s entrepreneurs,” said U.S. SBA Administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman. “As a second-generation owner of ILSI, Iam has overseen tremendous business growth over the last 15 years in the engineering field while demonstrating the value of hard work and resourcefulness in ensuring continued resilience. I am honored that the SBA has been a part of her successful and ongoing journey.”

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