An Early Start
While most 17-year-olds are busy making the most of their senior year, deciding which colleges they want to go to, and playing hooky on Senior Skip Day, Ross Black was busy becoming a business owner.
Now, his endeavors have led to 8 Simple Box locations across Washington, Oregon and Idaho, numerous job opportunities in many communities, and unending contributions to charitable causes around the world.
Today, Ross’ efforts to start and grow the business are being recognized as he is named the U.S. Small Business Administration 2019 Washington Small Business Person of the Year.
What is the Small Business Person of the Year award?
Every year, the U.S. Small Business Administration—an independent entity formed to support and provide resources to small business owners in the United States and territories—honors one small business owner from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam.
The honorees are chosen based on more than simply their small business successes. The SBA recognizes winners for their commitment to community leadership, steady company growth, and job creation.
National Small Business Week
Winning this award is no small accolade; in the Pacific Northwest, small businesses make up 99% of all businesses, setting a fierce competition. Furthermore, the President of the United States recognizes National Small Business Week each year, which culminates in the selection of the National Small Business Person of the Year who will be selected from the regional winners.
A Team Effort
Ross is humbled by his selection. “I know that it would be impossible [to win this award] without such amazing support around me,” he says.
Of course, everyone who works with Ross is not surprised by this accomplishment.
A brief history of Ross’ entrepreneurial journey
If you’ve read Simple Box’s history, you’re already aware of its pretty amazing story. Ross began Simple Box as part of a school project.
“When I started the business as a 17-year-old, I had dreams of being successful, but I really had no idea what true success looked like,” he says.
From the very beginning, he knew that starting a business would require sacrifice; to gain startup money, he sold his beloved 1968 Ford Mustang Fastback that he had spent 4 years washing dishes to afford. The rewards he reaped turned out to be well worth it.
As a young business owner, he was excited to see success in his first few years. However, he knew he needed to push his business to the next level, but he was unsure how.
That’s where the Small Business Association came in.
The SBA offers free courses in entrepreneurial education and training for executives of small businesses that are on the cusp of great growth. Through his training with this program, Ross was able to build Simple Box to the company we know and love today.
Simple Box has done more than simply offering affordable storage and office solutions for its customers. It has become an integral part of the communities it’s a part of and works tirelessly to do what it can to help those in need and build community identity.
And it all started with a senior project.
What is Small Business Week?
National Small Business Week has celebrated small business owners for over 50 years. Each year, the President of the United States issues a proclamation celebrating this week. It’s no wonder why it’s so important; over half of all Americans own or work for a small business, and it accounts for two-thirds of new jobs each year.
Small businesses are essential to the United States job market. Beyond that, small businesses greatly contribute to the local community identity, and many small business owners become integral to the growth of their communities, helping them to flourish.
Small Business Week works to highlight some of the greatest contributors to small business and celebrates all that small businesses do for our communities.
This year, small business week will take place May 5 – 11. On May 5 – 6, the Small Business Person of the Year winners will meet in Washington D.C. where one of them will be selected as the National Small Business Person of the Year.
On May 8th, a celebration will be held to honor SBA winners from Washington State and the Seattle District. Other award winners that will be recognized include the Exporter of the Year, Veteran-Owned Small Business, and Rising Startup.
However, this is just the beginning. This award only serves to spur our efforts to continue our steady growth. We’re excited to show what else we have in store, and we hope you join us on our exciting journey.