Baby Elephant Ears Inc., a Cambridge, Minn.-based small business, was honored May 16 by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) as Exporter of the Year at the 2014 National Small Business Week (NSBW).
The annual event is hosted by the SBA to recognize the nation’s top small businesses, entrepreneurs, small business advocates and champions. This year, NSBW celebrations were held in four different cities: San Francisco, Kansas City, Boston and Washington, D.C., where the event culminated with the presentation of this and other awards, including the Small Business Person of the Year award.
The Small Business Exporter of the Year award recognizes the accomplishments of a small company that has shown creative strategies in developing international markets, increased export sales and profits, or found creative solutions to business challenges in exporting, among other criteria.
Founded by Alicia Overby in 2009 with funds borrowed from her husband Scott’s 401K, Baby Elephant Ears today boasts annual sales of more than $1.3 million and is selling its products in more than 850 locations in the U.S. and more than a dozen countries.
What are Baby Elephant Ears?
Unparalleled in style and function, Baby Elephant Ears is a multi-use headrest providing spinal/neck alignment and comfort-offered in diverse prints and organics, ethically manufactured and made with sustainable materials. Chiropractor-inspired and mom-designed, Baby Elephant Ears can go wherever baby goes: stroller, swing, car seat, changing table, wherever and whenever support is needed. Fully washable, the pillow requires no attachments, straps or special skills.
In addition to Overby’s commitment and hard work, SBA assistance was instrumental to the success of Baby Elephant Ears. The company benefitted from SBDC counseling and training and two SBA loans, as well as additional financing through the SBA STEP pilot program, which offers grants to states to promote export activities.
The award was presented at a luncheon ceremony during the activities on the last day of National Small Business Week in Washington, D.C. Also presented were the Small Business Person of the Year awards for each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico, and the National Small Business Person of the Year award.