Martha Bartlett PilandSixteen Kansas small businesses were recognized at a ceremony in Topeka by the Kansas Small Business Development Center. Businesses were selected from more than 2,500 entrepreneurs who received KSBDC services in 2011. 

The keynote speaker for the event was Martha Bartlett Piland, president and chief executive officer of MB Piland Advertising + Marketing. In 1998, she started the company with an innovative new philosophy—Fat Free Advertising™. She utilized the expertise of KSBDC consultants when she was starting her business. 

"The professionals from the KSBDC provide a depth of expertise to anyone thinking about starting a business. I think they've seen it all, so they have great perspective," she said. "I appreciated their sound advice in MB Piland’s startup phase, and as an established business owner, I find the KSBDC a good resource for objective feedback and opportunities for continued learning."

"The winning businesses were selected after careful consideration by our regional directors and consultants," said Greg Panichello, KSBDC state director. "The continuing difficult national economy has provided numerous opportunities for small businesses to adapt and prosper in response. Collectively, we feel these 16 small businesses are excellent examples of small business adaptation and success in challenging times."

During the last two months, business owners participated in video interviews, which will be presented at the awards ceremony. In addition, the award recipients will be presented with a plaque by their state legislators. The award recipients will also be recognized by the Kansas House and Kansas Senate. Resolutions recognizing the business owners will be presented by Sen. Tom Holland D-Baldwin City and Rep. Don Hill R-Emporia. Both are KSBDC Advisory Board members. 

The winning businesses are:

The Kansas Small Business Development Center Network is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Kansas Department of Commerce. KSBDC is nationally accredited through the Association of Small Business Development Centers by congressional mandate. KSBDC receives funding from and partners with higher education and economic development organizations to provide Kansas entrepreneurs with no-cost business consulting and resources for starting, maintaining and growing their businesses. The statewide host for the KSBDC is Fort Hays State University. For more information about the KSBDC Network, contact 877-625-7232 or

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