The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Dallas/Fort Worth District Office is looking for business owners to represent its 72 county area in the 2014 national and local small business awards.

“These awards provide an opportunity to honor the success of small-business owners across our communities who work to create jobs for themselves and others while strengthening the economy of our nation,” said Herbert Austin, the SBA district director.

According to a news release, there are 12 award categories for which the district is soliciting nominations.

They include SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Family-Owned Business of the Year and Small Business Person of the Year.

The person of the year award is based on staying power as evident by a minimum of three years in business, growth in the number of employees, increases in sales, innovativeness of product or service, response to adversity and contributions to community-oriented projects. Nominations are due Jan. 17.

With more than 905,000 entrepreneurs in the area, the SBA is hoping its local communities make nominations, Austin said.

“The guidelines are shared with all chambers of commerce with the hope that the leadership will identify ... candidates in all the categories,” Austin said in an email.

Any individual or organization dedicated to supporting small businesses may submit nominations, including trade and professional associations and business organizations, the release stated.

“This is the time to honor an outstanding entrepreneur in your area,” said Yolanda Garcia Olivarez, an SBA regional administrator, who oversees Texas and four other states.

Olivarez said small-business owners are a fundamental part of the country.

“Small-business owners are so important to the strength of our country, and these awards provide an opportunity to celebrate their success,” she said.

The district winners are honored at a luncheon, and the national category honorees will compete regionally and possibly nationally.

Contact Mason W. Canales at ​ or (254) 501-7474

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