SBA Names Minnesota Young Entrepreneur of the Year

March 16, 2011

U.S. Small Business AdministrationBen Anderson, President of Cinemotion, LLC based in Minneapolis, Minn., has been named the Minnesota Young Entrepreneur of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The Young Entrepreneur of the Year is selected annually based on success as measured by sales and profits, increased employment opportunities created by the business, development and/or utilization of innovative or creative business methods, and demonstrated entrepreneurial potential necessary for long-term business success and economic growth.  If this wasn’t enough, all of these accomplishments must be achieved before the Young Entrepreneur reaches the age of thirty (30).  Michael Ryan, Director of the Twin Cities Small Business Development Center at the University of St. Thomas, nominated Anderson for this award.

Anderson launched Cinemotion in 2001 out of his student apartment while studying entrepreneurship at the University of St. Thomas. With meager savings and very little equipment,  Anderson started Cinemotion as a video production company, producing high-quality advertisements and videos for corporate clients.

In 2006, Anderson introduced the AutoMotionTV Video Library.  The company created a library of vehicle videos and currently licenses those videos to thousands of auto dealerships for use in online marketing efforts.  In 2010, Cinemotion introduced the AutoMotionTV App Creation Platform which helps manufacturers and dealers create long-term customer relationship channels using mobile apps.

Today, Cinemotion is based in downtown Minneapolis having grown from a one-man operation to over twenty full and part time employees.  The company reached its first profitable quarter in 2008, doubled in size in 2009, and is expected to double again in 2011.

Anderson’s initial success led to a 2005 Pentair Prize (Student Entrepreneur of the Year) and a $5,000 scholarship for the University of St. Thomas College of Business.  Anderson also received the 2006 Minnesota Collegiate Entrepreneur Award and was named Great Lakes Regional Collegiate entrepreneur by the Anderson Entrepreneurial Center.  (And no, he’s not related to the family for whom the center is named.)

Dr. Alec Johnson, associate professor of entrepreneurship in the St. Thomas Opus college of Business, lauded Anderson’ entrepreneurial qualities:  “He is a problem solver and doesn’t take ‘no’ for an answer.  He shows a willingness to reinvent himself, and that’s an impressive quality to have at this stage in his career.”

Veteran Small Business Champion
Receives SBA Regional Honor

SCORE AssociationLincoln Hudson, SCORE Counselor, has been named the Minnesota Veteran Small Business Champion of the Year for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Minnesota District Office as well as the upper Midwest Region.

The Veterans Small Business Champion Award is presented annually in each state to individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to advancing small business opportunities for Veterans of the U.S. armed forces. Randi Luoto, SCORE Assistant District Director in St. Louis Park, nominated Hudson for this award.

The regional award winner is selected from among the state winners.  In addition to Minnesota, SBA’s upper Midwest Region includes Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.

With engineering degrees from Purdue University and Yale University, Hudson has taken advance management studies at Harvard University and Stanford University.  Hudson joined Minneapolis SCORE in 1989 and is a former Chapter Chair and District Director. SCORE assists entrepreneurs in starting new businesses, educating them on best business practices, and providing tools necessary for success.

Before joining SCORE, Hudson spent 26 years with Honeywell in a variety of posts including divisional general manger, director of planning, director of engineering and program manager for several major industrial and aerospace programs.  Hudson spent four years as the director of engineering for Honeywell Ltd. (UK).  He also participated in several acquisitions and divestitures, and managed Honeywell’s role in the Sasol coal-to-petrol project in South Africa.

Throughout and following his tenure as SCORE District Director, Hudson has maintained a keen interest in veterans’ issues and was a frequent advocate.  In 2007, he was integral to the development and successful launch of “Powering Up for Business”, re-integration training for returning National Guard veterans and their family members.  The organizers included SCORE, PAC, SBDC, and SBA.  The event, free to service members and their families, was held in three different locations (Minneapolis, St. Paul and Moorhead) on successive weekends.  In 2008, two additional locations were added – Duluth and Little Falls.  Each event was held on a Friday to precede National Guard/Veterans Job Fairs held over the weekend.

Close to 800 people benefited from the business training and assistance that was offered at the Minneapolis and St. Paul locations.  The SBA reported that approximately 200 people received information and counseling on starting a small business and another 25 existing business owners were mentored. SCORE members were on hand to staff a booth on all three days of each event.

Hudson’s role in all of this was huge.  In addition to other duties, he made sure participants were given discount coupons entitling them to half-off discounts at SCORE workshops and seminars through the rest of the year.  He helped recruit workshop presenters for the weekend-long event that followed and participated in the trade show booths representing SCORE services.  Participants gained business training and learned about the government contracting process with the federal government, state, Corps of Engineers and VA Medical Center.

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