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SBA awards to two Targeted Small Businesses

Two Iowa Targeted Small Business won awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration

August 3, 2017

SBA awards to two Targeted Small Businesses

Last week at the Iowa Business Opportunity Fair, Jayne Armstrong, District Director of the Iowa Small Business Administration (SBA) handed out awards to its 2017 Small Business Award Winners, including two Iowa Targeted Small Businesses. Iowa Targeted Small Businesses (TSBs) are those that have been certified to be owned by women, minorities, individuals with disabilities or service-disabled veterans. Businesses certified as TSBs are eligible for additional procurement benefits with the state of Iowa, and are often utilized by private company buyers with diverse vendor goals.  The two TSBs recognized were:

Michelle DeClerk, (in pink) President of Conference Event Management in West Des Moines, was honored as the Iowa SBA Women in Business Champion of the Year. 

Michelle DeClerck founded Conference Event Management 13 years ago and has since built her business into a successful event management company providing event services of all kinds in Iowa and throughout the world. In addition to being a successful entrepreneur, DeClerck has been a dedicated advocate for other woman-owned businesses throughout the state. She is active in several organizations that support women business owners and provide mentoring to young women. She sits on the Central Iowa executive committee for Iowa Women Lead Change (IWLC) and was involved in the first year’s student mentorship program. DeClerck serves as secretary for the Iowa Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) and for the last six years has even provided pro bono event planning and registration services for the annual NAWBO Summit educational conference. In 2011 she was named the Iowa NAWBO Business Owner of the Year.

DeClerck has been involved with the Million Women Mentor program and serves on its Iowa Executive Council.  In support of this, DeClerck founded Mentor Tank in 2014 to further encourage and provide mentoring opportunities to young women in Central Iowa about to enter the professional field. She has also brought together a woman-business owner’s panel to help educate college business fraternities and continues to provide guidance and mentoring to young women seeking to jumpstart their own careers.

Conference Event Management has been a Certified Targeted Small Business since June, 2010. 

Diedre DeJear, (in black/white) President of Caleo Enterprises of Des Moines, IA

Deidre DeJear has always been involved in community development in Iowa, even before she started her own small business. Her business, Caleo Enterprises specializes in marketing strategies for small businesses. Caleo also offers project development and implementation services for non-profit organizations and businesses, particularly those seeking access to hard to reach populations. In 2012 DeJear took on the United Way of Central Iowa’s Financial Capability project. Over the last 4 years she has developed and implemented its Financial Capability Network, a collaborative designed to give low-income individuals and families access to mainstream financial systems and projects and to increase their financial management and skills. Over 20,000 people annually are impacted by this program.

Additionally, DeJear developed several programs to support financial and business education for low-income to moderate-income individuals in Central Iowa, including the Financial Fitness Bootcamp, Masters Business Bootcamp, and a Non-Profit Bootcamp. More than 1,300 people have gone through one of these programs. In 2015, DeJear created a show airing on Mediacom Cable called the Financial Fix. The show targets moderate income individuals and topics range from small business development to personal credit repair. Over the last year, DeJear has been working on One Economy, a project dedicated to strengthening the financial capability of African American’s in Iowa.
Caleo Enterprises has been a certified Targeted Small Business since November 2014.

The Iowa Business Opportunity Fair was sponsored by the North Central Minority Supplier Development Council and sponsored by SBA, IEDA and numerous other local economic development partners with a focus on expanding small business opportunities in Iowa. Attendees networked with corporate buyers and listened to keynote Speaker, Johnathan Holifield, author, consultant and architect of Inclusive Competitiveness, a groundbreaking approach for achieving shared prosperity and blending traditional community development with economic competitiveness.



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