Saturday, October 16, 2021

Deadline quickly approaching for Blue Chip Award applications



Time is growing short for owners of small businesses to submit applications for the 18th Annual Southwest Florida Blue Chip Community Business Award.

BB&T-Oswald Trippe and Company and BB&T Bank coordinate and sponsor the program to recognize successful small businesses and share their stories of how they overcame adversity as a way to teach and inspire other entrepreneurs. Applications must be submitted no later than 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 10.

Previous award winners relied on ingenuity, stamina and hard work to meet challenges, vault financial hurdles and overcome adversity.

The competition is open to companies that meet the following criteria: for-profit business; operating under the same ownership for at least three continuous years with principal office located in Lee, Collier or Charlotte counties; employs five to 400 people; and has overcome adversity to achieve success.

Business owners may nominate themselves or be nominated by someone else. Complimentary assistance is available to draft applications. For information and applications, contact Stacey Mercado at 239-433-7189 or

The award, presented to a single Southwest Florida business each year, recognizes that company’s innovative methods of overcoming hardship.

Independent judges will select one Lee, Collier or Charlotte business from the field of applicants to receive the 2012 award. Winners will be recognized during the Nov. 1 luncheon ceremony at Harborside Event Center, located at 1375 Monroe Street in Fort Myers. Registration begins at 11 a.m. The program starts at 11:30 a.m.

Winners from previous years have found that this prestigious award brings positive exposure to their businesses. Matt Chambers, president of JRL Ventures/Marine Concepts in Cape Coral, says his firm used its 2010 award to spread the story of how the company came back from the brink and found that potential customers were impressed when they heard their story.

For 2009 winner Diane Caputo, owner of Old Monty’s Restaurant and Pizzeria in Punta Gorda, the award “made me realize this is who I am. This is what I’m meant to do.”

Raimond Aulen faced one obstacle after another but finally opened his bar, Indigo Room, and kept it going. Winning the Blue Chip in 2008 was vindication for all his hard work, he says.

Other recent winners include: LeeSar Healthtrust Partners and Media Vista Corporation (2007); Fox Electronics and Mikkelsen’s Pastry Shop (2006); Congress Jewelers and Island Café (2005); Invest SW Title Services and Arturo’s Ristorante Italiano (2004); Priority Marketing and Clean Air & Allied Supply (2003); Christ Centered Book and Music and The Thomas Riley Artisan’s Guild (2002); and Gulf Coast Printing Services and Ark Naturals Products for Pets (2001).

The Southwest Florida Blue Chip Community Business Award is endorsed by the Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce, Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce, Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce, Charlotte County Economic Development Office, Christian Chamber of Southwest Florida and Beyond, City of Cape Coral Economic Development Office, Edison State College, Englewood-Cape Haze Chamber of Commerce, Florida Gulf Coast University, Florida Weekly, Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce, Greater Lehigh Acres Chamber of Commerce, Gulf Coast Business Review, Gulfshore Business, Hodges University, Lee County Economic Development Office/Horizon Council, Punta Gorda Chamber of Commerce, Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce, Southwest Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, The Greater Fort Myers Beach Areas Chamber of Commerce and The Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce.

BB&T-Oswald Trippe and Company provides comprehensive insurance and risk-management services to families and businesses throughout Florida. The agency offers protection from the nation’s leading insurance companies. BB&T-Oswald Trippe and Company has offices in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Holmes Beach, Miami, Naples, Ocala and Weston, Fla.

BB&T Insurance Services, the sixth largest insurance broker in the U.S. and the eighth largest internationally, is a wholly owned subsidiary of BB&T. Founded in 1922, it operates more than 100 insurance agencies in Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Florida and California. Visit to learn more. BB&T Insurance Services is a wholly owned subsidiary of Branch Banking & Trust Company.

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