Board of Trade Honors Three D.C.-Area Firms

The Greater Washington Board of Trade honored three companies last week at its annual Entrepreneurship Awards event celebrating small businesses in the D.C. metro area.

Michael Keough, founder and president of E-Structors, was named the Entrepreneur of the Year for improving his company's performance, his integrity and being involved in the region's business and civic communities. His firm destructs and recycles computers, electronics and paper documents, helping reduce the amount of e-waste sent to landfills by almost 16 million pounds annually. E-Structors was founded in 2003 and projects $3.5 million in revenue this year.

The president and CEO of the Washington Business Group, Dinesh Sharma, was honored with the Most Engaged Small Business award for his firm's efforts in helping other businesses to grow. His group has mentored small, minority-owned businesses and received kudos for helping connect local nonprofits with the region's business community.

Peter Corbett, the CEO of iStrategy Labs was named "one to watch" by the Board of Trade. IStrategy produces marketing campaigns that blend the online and offline worlds.

I moderated a panel during the event and had the opportunity to interview Mark Ein, head of the Venturehouse Group, which provides capital to tech and telecom start-ups. He perhaps is more broadly known in the region for his ownership of building security company Kastle Systems. Many Washington-area workers are familiar with Kastle keys that allow them access to their workplace. As a panelist, he spoke of some similarities between the current economic downturn and the spectacular flameout of the tech sector earlier this decade. He also cautioned that it's extremely difficult for startups to get loans or other funding in the current economic climate and suggested that if pre-ventures aren't able to get off the ground with funding from friends and family, they might want to wait to launch until the economy improves.

John Kane, founder of the Kane Company, which includes businesses such as Office Movers, also spoke. He focused on the importance of scalability to small businesses, saying that was the most important lesson he learned in growing his businesses. His firm also has invested a lot in becoming more environmentally friendly.

Denise Lloyd, founder of D.H. Lloyd and Associates, owns one of the nation's largest minority-owned insurance brokerage firms. She spoke about overcoming a major challenge - being a broker for many of the buildings surrounding the World Trade Center before and after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Persistence and flexibility are keys to success, she said. Lloyd weathered that storm and her firm now insures some major airports.

By Sharon McLoone |  November 19, 2008; 2:35 PM ET Accolades
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Ms. McLoone-
I was at the BoT event you summarized and thought it was important to add that Booz Allen Hamilton was recognized with the Guiding Small Business Award.

Posted by: dmwoot10 | November 21, 2008 10:56 AM

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