The U.S. Small Business Administration announced its 2015 New Jersey Small Business Person of the Year and its 2015 New Jersey Minority Small Business Person of the Year on Thursday, celebrating two of the state's top entrepreneurs during National Small Business Week.
Michael Miqueli, owner of San Antonio Broker Services Inc., a North Bergen transportation company, earned the top statewide honor, the SBA said in a news release. In addition to being named 2015 New Jersey Small Business Person of the Year, Miqueli is one of six finalists for the National Small Business Person of the Year Award, according to SBA New Jersey District Director Al Titone.
San Antonio Brokers Services has grown from one truck and a few employees serving produce importers to a company with more than 65 workers and a growing fleet of more than 45 trucks and temperature-controlled trailers providing container services throughout the Mid-Atlantic states, the SBA said.
“With our roots in produce and refrigerated cargo, we’ve expanded through hard work, our customers’ trust and word of mouth,” Miqueli said in a prepared statement. “We now handle a wide array of customers and their transportation needs. We provide container drayage from the ports of New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Delaware, and service private carriers at the rail yards of New Jersey and Philadelphia.”
Miqueli will be honored first at the SBA’s Annual Small Business Week Awards Reception, hosted by the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey on Thursday, and then at a White House ceremony on Friday where the national winner will be announced by SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet. Miqueli — a Cuban-American — is a member of the Hispanic Chamber, among other organizations.
“National Small Business Week gives us the opportunity to recognize the outstanding achievements of small business owners like Michael Miqueli,” Titone said in a statement. “He started with very little, worked hard, took risks and dared to dream big. That’s what successful small business owners do.”
The SBA said Miqueli was nominated by First Niagara Bank and chosen based on criteria that included: staying power; growth in number of employees; increase in sales; financial strength of the company; innovativeness of product or service offered; response to adversity; and contributions to aid community oriented projects.
With the help of more than $1 million in SBA-backed loans from First Niagara, Miqueli was able to grow his company from $2 million in annual sales to $8 million, the SBA said.
“I knew that we had the structure in place to grow this business and could achieve more,” he said. “We put together a business model that set a growth path for our company. I needed to find the right financing to be able to accomplish this task. It would be the only way we would be able to add more trucks and employees.”
In addition to Miqueli, Robert Cottingham Jr., the founder and CEO of Newark-based IT consulting company Sabre88, was honored as the 2015 New Jersey Minority Small Business Person of the Year, the SBA said Thursday.
Titone said Cottingham — an African-American — was chosen based on criteria that included: the company’s overall financial strength; growth in sales and profits; growth in number of employees; and participation in community and charitable events.
Cottingham started his business in his home six years ago, the SBA said, and now has offices in Newark and provides IT and telecommunications support to government agencies and other clients. Today, Sabre88 has 32 full-time employees and annual revenue of more than $2 million.
“Minority small business owners play an essential part in contributing to both our national and local economy,” Titone said in a statement. “I am here to tell you that the American dream does exist for those who have innovative businesses and are willing to work hard to achieve success. We’re just so pleased to be celebrating National Small Business Week and recognizing the achievements and success of Bob Cottingham and Sabre88.”
ALSO ON NJBIZ: