MELBOURNE, FLA. — Beth Gitlin, director of the Women’s Business Center at Florida Institute of Technology, has been awarded the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) State of Florida Small Business Advocate of the Year for Florida.
“The nominations were very competitive, and all the winners are highly deserving of their respective awards,” said SBA Administration North Florida District Director Wilfredo J. Gonzalez.
In recognizing Gitlin, he added, “This award acknowledges your personal achievement and dedication in advocating for and advancing small business ownership and expansion opportunities. Through your work, you inspire other entrepreneurs to start and build businesses that will benefit our community. Job creation has a lasting impact on Florida’s economy and you there inspiring others through your work.”
The Small Business Advocate of the Year Award is presented to one individual in Florida who, according to the SBA, “assists entrepreneurs through advocacy and other efforts that raise the profile, effectiveness, health, vitality, growth, and/or expansion of small businesses. These efforts can target specific segments of the small business population such as women, veterans, minorities, exporters, and small firms located in rural communities.”
Winning individuals must:
- Demonstrate accomplishments over the last three years to support the growth and expansion of small businesses (as measured by job creation or retention, service to underserved markets, and other factors).
- Advocate for the small business community as a whole.
- Increase business opportunities for small companies.
- Provide advocacy strategies with measurable benefits to small businesses.
- Demonstrate longevity and success of sustained commitment to small businesses and entrepreneurship.
Gitlin said she is a passionate supporter of business.
“Advocacy is essential to tackle the challenges small business owners face. Issues get resolved when they are positioned to take precedence of the decision-makers and constituents within our local communities,” she said. “Given the mission, experience, alliances and services that make up the Women’s Business Center, we are in a strong position to act on behalf of entrepreneurs and enable entrepreneurs to act on their own behalf.”
Gitlin is a Fellow of the Institute for Cross Cultural Management at Florida Tech and an adjunct professor at the university’s Nathan M. Bisk College of Business. She was the president and owner of Global Passages LLC in Melbourne, an international trade consulting company and is a former Wal-Mart executive, where she held various merchandising and international positions with responsibilities involving trade with over 26 different countries. She also served four years as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army Signal Corps. She is currently working on her Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology with research interests in global teams and global women’s entrepreneurship.