SBA & the Center for Women & Enterprise to Hold Congressional Luncheon Honoring Small Business Award Winners


PROVIDENCE, Ri.  – Today, the U.S. Small Business Administration will hold its annual congressional luncheon to honor the 2018 Rhode Island Small Business Award winners. Hosted by The Center for Women & Enterprise, the luncheon will be held at Sam’s Inn of Warwick and will highlight these 14 exceptional small businesses and champions.


All four members of the Rhode Island congressional delegation will attend including U.S. Senator Jack Reed, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, U.S. Representative Jim Langevin and U.S. Representative David Cicilline. This event offers a unique and relaxed setting for elected congressional officials to engage and honor the SBA award winners.


This year’s class of winners included three regional awardees, a national awardee, and this year’s Rhode Island Small Business Person of the Year, Kelly Mendell, president of MIKEL. MIKEL is an undersea warfare technology leader and innovative provider of technology and services working predominately with the U.S. Navy. In 2017, MIKEL saw revenue grow by 23% and added 47 new jobs to the Rhode Island economy.


“I love to see Rhode Island businesses get national recognition for their success and achievements.  I congratulate Ms. Mendell and her talented, growing team at MIKEL for delivering innovative technology and practical solutions to the U.S. Navy, and for making a positive impact in our community,” said Senator Reed.  “All of the Small Business Week honorees have worked hard and taken risks to build their businesses.  We are grateful for the work they do, happy they have chosen to invest in Rhode Island, and committed to ensuring they have the infrastructure and SBA resources and support to continue growing and thriving.”


East Providence’s Evans Capacitor Company was named the 2018 National Subcontractor of the Year. Co-founded by Charles Dewey and David Evans in 1996, Evans Capacitor revolutionized the capacitor field, developing and manufacturing high-energy/high-power density capacitors at minimal size and weight. David Evans holds over 20 patents in capacity chemistry, design, and packaging while the company is considered a top supplier to companies like Lockheed Martin and Raytheon.


“I congratulate all of this year’s hardworking Small Business Association award winners,” said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.  “Innovative small businesses are an enormous part of Rhode Island’s economy, and my office is always available to provide support to help small businesses grow and create jobs.”

Congressman Langevin nominated three of this year’s award winners including Jade Manufacturing (Small Business Manufacturer of the Year), The Worm Ladies of Charlestown (Microenterprise of the Year), and Stony Hill Cattle Company (Home-Based Small Business of the Year).

“Each one of this year’s SBA award winners is deserving of this prestigious recognition, but I would especially like to acknowledge three businesses I had the honor of nominating: Jade Manufacturing, The Worm Ladies of Charlestown, and the Stoney Hill Cattle Farm,” said Langevin.  “I have had the pleasure of interacting with these small businesses over the course of the last year.  While they are in different markets, the owners of these enterprises are all hardworking Rhode Islanders who have built successful companies that are respected throughout our state and beyond.”

Rounding out the 2018 awardees include are our regional winners; Absorbent Specialty Products (Woman-Owned Small Business), Veterans Assembled electronics (Veteran-Owned Small Business), and Buck Harris of Community Investment Corporation (Financial Services Champion). State level winners include; AVTECH Software (Small Business Exporter), Tienda Alinary (Minority-Owned Small Business), Doctor’s Choice (Young Entrepreneur), Gil’s Appliances (Jeffrey Butland Family-Owned Small Business), Posthumously – Cheryl Watkins Snead of Banneker Industries (District Director Award), and Carmen & Ginger (Joseph G.E. Knight Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence).


“Small business owners are the backbone of our state’s economy, and I want to thank the Small Business Administration for recognizing these outstanding entrepreneurs,” said Cicilline. “All Rhode Islanders owe a debt of gratitude to any individual willing to pour their heart and soul into building a business here, and I am committed to working to ensure that we are making it easier for these enterprises to succeed.”

For additional information on National Small Business Week, please visit



About the U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start and grow their businesses. It delivers services to people through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit


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