CHARLOTTE – The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has named Karen Caruso, CEO of Mind Your Business, Inc. (MYB) the North Carolina Small Business Person of the Year for 2011. She was nominated by Annice Brown and Clark Fields of the North Carolina Small Business & Technology Development Center, Western Regional Center.
MYB offers pre-employment screening, applicant background checks and drug testing services to individuals, corporate and government clients.
Small Business Person of the Year winners from 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam will converge on Washington, D.C. May 18-20, 2011 to mark the annual celebration of National Small Business Week. One of them will be selected as National Small Business Person of the Year.
The theme of Small Business Week 2011 is “Empowering Entrepreneurs.”
The criteria for the award include: Staying power – a substantiated history as an established business,
growth in number of employees, innovativeness of product/service offered, response to adversity and contributions to community-oriented projects.
Karen Caruso's was inspired to start the business in 1995 while watching an Oprah Winfrey show on abusive child care providers. Caruso’s early career was in security, she knew how to conduct background checks. Seeing a gap in the market, she focused on applicant screening services to the childcare industry. In 1996, Mind Your Business, Inc. (MYB) was launched in the basement of her New Jersey home with two employees and $2,500.
Caruso faced challenges in a market dominated by men and large corporations, but she persevered. With the help of SBA sponsored counseling and training through SCORE, the North Carolina Small Business Technology and Development Center, and Mountain BizWorks, an SBA Women’s Business Center, the business has grown substantially. MYB now employs 14 people, and since 2004, operates in a 3,000 square foot facility in the mountains of Western North Carolina. MYB posted record profits in 2009 and 2010.
The company has recently added drug testing to the services. The firm created two proprietary software programs to help clients manage visitor management and fleet management screening. With research and development help from Western Carolina University, they brought these products to market, and opened up new opportunities. In December 2010, MYB was approved for a $25,000 SBA Express loan through First Citizens’ Bank to market the visitor management software.
Contact Karen Caruso, at Mind Your Business, Inc., 305 East 8th Avenue, Hendersonville, NC 828-698-9905 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the full article