Kennesaw State’s Small Business Development Center named Georgia’s SBDC of the Year

Center earns regional honor for first time; Edge Connection CEO honored for work with women owners

KENNESAW, Ga.  (May 2, 2014) — Kennesaw State University received top honors from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s regional and state offices for its small business initiatives.

The Small Business Development Center in the Michael J. Coles College of Business was named Georgia’s Small Business Development Center of the Year for 2014. 

The Center also was honored with the 2014 Regional Small Business Development Center Excellence in Innovation Award for the Southeastern region, which consists of eight states.  This is the first time a Georgia SBDC has earned the regional award.

“We are honored to be recognized as the SBDC of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration,” said Drew Tonsmeire, area director of Kennesaw State University’s SBDC, a 30-year old program at KSU. “To be chosen among the best throughout the Southeastern United States acknowledges the exceptional service delivered by the Kennesaw SBDC staff.”

The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Kennesaw State is part of a partnership program between Kennesaw State, the University of Georgia and the U.S. Small Business Administration. The SBDC offers free one-on-one confidential business consulting for Georgia’s small businesses, primarily serving Cobb and Cherokee counties.

Terri ElHaddaoui, chief executive officer of The Edge Connection in the Coles College of Business at Kennesaw State, was named the Women in Business Champion of the Year.

“I am passionate about promoting the success of women in business,” said ElHaddaoui, who runs The Edge Connection, a nonprofit organization that provides entrepreneurial training for low-to-moderate income women, minorities and veterans. “There is no better honor than to be recognized for improving and empowering the lives of other women.”

Tonsmeire and ElHaddaoui were honored during the Small Business Week awards lunch, hosted by the Georgia Quality Lenders Circle on April 30. This year marks the 50th anniversary of National Small Business Week, May 12-16. 

For more information about Kennesaw State’s SBDC, visit To learn more about The Edge Connection, visit

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