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Direct Energy Business Honors First-Ever Columbus Small Business Community Heroes Winners

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On July 9, representatives from Direct Energy Business and ThisWeek Community News went on a tour of Columbus to honor two honorable mentions and the winners of the first-ever Columbus Small Business Community Heroes award program.

The first stop was to recognize Jim Butz, of SPGB Architects, for his pro bono work and coordination of revitalizing a leadership center for Lower Lights Ministries in Columbus’ impoverished Franklinton neighborhood. The center will be a hub of personal betterment opportunities for vulnerable families as well as women returning the the community from prison. Programs include financial literacy, employment coaching, youth mentoring, and peer support groups.

The next stop was the Women’s Small Business Accelerator in Westerville, established by Mary McCarthy, owner of Your Management Team, Inc. The Accelerator provides mentoring services and office space for entrepreneurial women launching and seeking funding for their startups. The office space keeps expanding, and they’re looking forward to building out in the near future. The two honorable mentions’ designated nonprofits, mentioned above, each received a $250 donation from Direct Energy Business.

Last, but certainly not least, we honored the winners of this year’s Columbus Small Business Community Heroes award program – Anand and Doris Saha of Mozart’s café in the Clintonville neighborhood. The Sahas came to Columbus from Austria in 1995 with a dream of owning their own bakery. They opened a small European pastry shop - Mozart’s - in April of that year. In 2013, they completed a renovation of a historically significant building and moved from a much smaller building to this one, which immediately served as a convenient gathering place.

The Sahas support music and arts in numerous ways including hosting a concert series to raise money and community awareness of the Columbus Symphony and regularly hosting student music recitals. They have worked with the Clintonville-Beechwold Community Resources Center (CRC) since 1998 and have raised about $300,000 for the nonprofit. Mr. Saha founded the nonprofit Experience Clintonville, an organization that promotes Clintonville as a great place to live, work, play, and worship. In addition, Mr. Saha established the nonprofit Million Lego for Kids, which collects new and used LEGOs® and redistributes them to local schools and youth organizations to help underprivileged kids in the community learn basic math and engineering concepts.

Direct Energy Business awarded the Sahas with a $500 cash prize, an award, and donated $1,000 each to the CRC and Million Lego For Kids nonprofits.

Posted: July 10, 2014