Karen Smaw, Fairfax County EDA Director Of Small, Minority And Woman-Owned Business Development, Honored By U.S. Small Business Administration
(Article from dc.citybizlist.com)
Fairfax County, Virginia USA — On May 2, the Washington Metropolitan Area District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) honored Karen Smaw, the director of small, women and minority business development at the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA), as its Economic Development Partner of the Year.
Each year the SBA recognizes individuals and institutions for their contributions to improve the business climate in the Washington region, which includes Fairfax County. The SBA cited Smaw’s emphasis on education through the “Entrepreneurship 101: Starting a Business in Fairfax County” workshops held monthly at the FCEDA.
Smaw created the “Starting a Business” workshops in 2003, and almost 3,000 business persons and entrepreneurs have attended the sessions. The SBA and the Virginia Department of Business Assistance are partners in the workshop series. Smaw also created workshops for small businesses that want to grow, and for companies that want to export goods and services to other countries.
“It’s an honor to receive the award and the recognition,” Smaw said. “However, none of this would be possible without the great companies I work with that are building the Fairfax County economy, and the amazing people on the entire FCEDA staff!”
The SBA also noted that Smaw is one of the first African-American women to serve on the board of the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce. She also serves on the boards of the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Fairfax County-based Community Business Partnership, and the University Life Advisory Board at Fairfax-based George Mason University.
“Karen is a tremendous resource for small businesses that want to locate and grow in Fairfax County, and I am thrilled to see her getting recognition of the role she plays in building our economy,” said Gerald L. Gordon, Ph.D., president and CEO of the FCEDA.
Time magazine called Fairfax County, just outside Washington, D.C., “one of the great economic success stories of our time.” Business growth helps Fairfax County fund the nation’s top-rated school system and library, park, public safety and human services that contribute to the quality of life of residents. Fairfax County offers businesses a state-of-the-art telecommunications infrastructure, access to global markets through Washington Dulles International Airport and a well-educated workforce.
The award-winning Fairfax County Economic Development Authority promotes Fairfax County as one of the world’s best business centers. The FCEDA offers site location and business development assistance, and connections with county and state government agencies, to help companies locate and expand in Fairfax County. In addition to its headquarters in Tysons Corner, Fairfax County’s largest business district, the FCEDA maintains marketing offices in six important global business centers: Bangalore, London, Los Angeles, Munich, Seoul and Tel Aviv.