SBA names 3 Iowa business owners as small business champs
Business Record Staff Apr 11, 2023 | 3:36 pm
2 min read time453 wordsAll Latest News, Economic Development, Retail & Business
The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Iowa District Office has announced the winners of its 2023 Iowa Small Business Champion of the Year awards. The award winners are named ahead of National Small Business Week, scheduled for April 30 through May 6 this year.
Tricia Rivas, owner of Trixies Salon & Spa in Des Moines, is the Iowa SBA Women in Business Champion of the Year for 2023. Her interest in hair and fashion growing up led to her starting her own salon, and she now mentor other small business owners as well, including those owned by women. She is an active member of several Des Moines metro area chambers of commerce and is involved with NAWBO Iowa and FemCity Des Moines. In 2016 Rivas also established Dream Catchers Foundation, a nonprofit that provides free salon and spa services to adults and children who are chronically or terminally ill and to their caregivers. The nonprofit also serves veterans.
The Iowa SBA Veterans Small Business Champion of the Year is John Mikelson, who started the nonprofit Midwest Military Outreach in Columbus Junction. The organization was created to provide current members of the military, veterans, and their family members with information and referral services, including for those in the military community interested in entrepreneurship.
Mikelson retired from the U.S. Army in 2004 and worked as the coordinator for the University of Iowa’s Veterans Center from 2006 to 2013 before starting Midwest Military Outreach. He also volunteers with veterans organizations in Iowa, including the Iowa Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. The committee serves both employers and reserve component service members in understanding the employment rights of service members and the responsibilities of the businesses that employ them.
Taufeek Shah, CEO of Lola’s Fine Sauces Inc., has been named the Iowa SBA Minority Small Business Champion of the Year. Lola’s Fine Hot Sauces and other Lola’s branded products are available in 10,000 restaurants and retailers throughout North America. Shah moved from a career in finance to building the small business after receiving positive feedback from his co-workers about his mother’s hot sauce recipe. The business is named after Shah’s mother, Carmelita “Lola” Shah.
Shah works with the retailers that sell Lola’s products, including Hy-Vee, to increase their supplier diversity and help other entrepreneurs of color get their products into stores. He also promotes diversity and inclusion as an Asian American and Pacific Islander speaker for other retailers such as Walmart, Meijer and RangeMe.
Locally, he serves on the Des Moines Area Community College Foundation and the board of the Iowa Center for Economic Success and speaks at organizations across the state to support minority business ownership.