Jacksonville, FL: On March 16, America's Small Business Development Center Network (America's SBDC), the national association of SBDCs, held a special 35th anniversary legislative reception to showcase a sampling of SBDC clients from across the country. Among the 11 SBDC clients from eight states invited to the reception was Kathryn Murphy, owner of Jacksonville-based Comfort Keepers and client of the Florida SBDC at the University of North Florida (UNF).
Murphy was the only client honored from the Florida SBDC Network, representing the thousands of entrepreneurs and small business owners who receive business assistance each year.
"Words can't express the honor I feel in representing the small business community for our State," said Murphy. "Successful small business owners 'burn the midnight oil,' are constant decision makers and problem solvers, and make many personal sacrifices-all to make a difference in the lives of the clients they serve. Staying on top of regulations, treating employees fairly, providing services or products with the highest integrity while making sure there is a profit at the end of the day is no easy task, and thousands of business owners in Florida do this on a daily basis. I am extremely proud and excited to be selected as the representative of Florida's small business community at the Federal level during this special reception highlighting the successes of the American Small Business Development Center."
Comfort Keepers specializes in providing in-home care for older adults needing assistance with daily activities. Thanks to the assistance of the Florida SBDC at UNF and consultant Cathy Hagan, Murphy opened the franchise's first Jacksonville location in 2002 and the second in 2007. Most recently, Murphy worked with the FSBDC to purchase her third location. Under her leadership, the company has grown from two employees to more than 75. In 2011, Murphy was selected as the U.S. Small Business Administration's Woman Business Champion of the Year for both North Florida and the state. In 2013, Murphy was one of nine women to receive the Florida Achievement Award by the Florida Commission on the Status of Women. Last year, she received the Governor's Business Advocate Award presented by Florida Governor Rick Scott.
The America's SBDC 35th Anniversary Reception was held in the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, D.C. Congressman Ander Crenshaw, Chairman of the House Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee, and Congressman Steve Chabot of Ohio, Chairman of the Committee on Small Business, addressed reception guests. The mission of America's SBDC and SBDCs nationwide is to help entrepreneurs realize their dream of business ownership and to help existing businesses grow and succeed.
"We are very proud of Kathryn and thrilled that she could be a part of this special ceremony," said Michael Myhre, CEO and Network State Director for the Florida SBDC. "She has devoted her life to helping others and is well-deserving of this recognition. We feel honored to be a part of her success."
About The SBDC at UNF: Since 1976, the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of North Florida has helped over 35,000 small businesses in an 18-county area. With offices in Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Palatka, Homosassa, Yulee, Gainesville, Live Oak and Ocala, the FSBDC at UNF provides assistance through management advice and technical training with little to no-cost to the potential, fledgling and/or well-established small business owners. The SBDC at UNF is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration and is a proud member of the Florida SBDC Network and part of the national Association of Small Business Development Centers. For additional information, visit www.sbdc.unf.edu or call 1.800.450.4624.