MERRILLVILLE - The Northwest Indiana Small Business Development Center in Merrilville has named the winners of its 28th Entrepreneurial Excellence Awards. The organization says the awards recognize small business owners and advocates who are making a difference in the region.

"This year we are celebrating everything from a young journalist to a long-time family-owned bakery," said Lorri Feldt, Northwest ISBDC regional director. "No matter where they are in the entrepreneurial spectrum, our honorees all have a passion for what they do and are a true inspiration."

The 2019 E-Day Award winners include:

  • Small Business Person of the Year: Patti Komara, Patti’s All-American, Dyer  
  • Entrepreneurial Success: Dawn McIver, MicroWorks Inc., Crown Point   
  • Emerging Business of the Year: Nan Wellman, Outstanding Tradeshow Exhibit Services, North Judson
  • Young Entrepreneur of the Year: Justin Kiel, Kiel Media, LaCrosse
  • Family-Owned Business of the Year: Fingerhut family, Fingerhut Bakery, North Judson, Knox, Bass Lake locations                                                                                                                                             
  • Women-Owned Business of the Year: Tammy Wendland, Valpo Ventures dba Plato’s Closet, Valparaiso
  • Minority-Owned Business of the Year: Moe Musleh, Anytime Fitness, various locations
  • Small Business Advocate of the Year: Clarence Hulse, Economic Development Corporation Michigan City, Michigan City
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Dean Sangalis, Dean Sangalis & Associates, Northwestern Mutual Insurance agency, Merrillville

The awardees will be honored at the 28th Entrepreneurial Excellence Awards luncheon November 14.