SMIF awards for small business owners

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(ABC 6 News) – It is no secret that small businesses have had a little bit of trouble due to the pandemic the past few years, but some of them have been able to find extreme success and were recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration at a ceremony hosted by the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF).

As part of small business week in southern Minnesota, the organizations highlighted small businesses from across the state.

Minnesota SBA District Office Director Brian McDonald described the two winners for this year from Southern Minnesota. "We’re celebrating the Veteran Owned Small Business and the Young Entrepreneur, and I would say it was extremely competitive this year."

To be eligible, the business owners must have served in the u-s military and be under 30 years old for the respective awards.

A pair of businesses from southern Minnesota that were highlighted were Busy Baby and Clear Water Nitrate Reduction.

Busy Baby, a product that helps keep little ones from throwing or dropping their toys, was started by Beth Fynbo in her own home. She went on to be featured in ABC’s Shark Tank, and will soon be upgrading to a new building in Zumbrota. SMIF is what really helped her business get off the ground.

Fynbo recalls when she was starting her business. "It’s the first place that helped me get funding when I had this idea and was trying to figure out how to start a business with no experience and no money, so having this event here is huge."

Clear Water Nitrate Reduction was started by Ian Bodack. Ian’s company helps farmers with more environmentally friendly farming practices.

Bodack describes what his product does "To reduce their fertilizer runoff so that we have cleaner water in the community."

Ian’s product also helps reduce algae growth and turn the water back to clear, hence the business name.