Geltner named Small Business Advocate of the Year

Sharon Geltner, who has worked behind the scenes for nearly four years at Palm Beach State College counseling small businesses on social media, Internet marketing and other tools to help them boost their brand and their bottom line, is being honored for her work.Sharon-headshot-SavedForWeb

She has been named Small Business Advocate of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s South Florida District, which covers 24 counties. The SBA will present the award at 9:30 a.m. May 30 during the Small Business Development Workshop being held at the Broward County Convention Center. The daylong workshop, now in its sixth year, is hosted by U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz; it is free and open to the public.

“Sharon is part of a very large group of resource partners that are out there every single day trying to help business owners start and grow their business,” said James Brooks, public affairs officer for the SBA South Florida District. “It’s certainly something that she has a passion for, and I think she’s very representative of the types of people that are available to everybody that might need help starting or growing a business.”

Geltner, a small business development analyst for the federally-funded Small Business Development Center housed on the PBSC Boca Raton campus, is one of eight people being honored by the SBA South Florida District; some of the winners went on to win state awards. The award winners were announced as part of the National Small Business Week events held May 4-8.

Geltner said she’s happy to receive the award. “I’m really honored because it’s actually an award for helping people that are unsung heroes because small businesses have to deal with so much in the after effects of the recession and the rise of the Internet,’’ she said. “I think it’s tough being in business. It makes me feel good knowing that I’ve helped other people be successful in their businesses during a difficult time. It’s making a difference in someone’s business, which means making a difference in someone’s life.”

Geltner estimates that she has helped hundreds of small businesses and entrepreneurs since joining the Small Business Development Center staff, including those she has assisted through community speaking engagements. “It’s probably closing in on 1,000,’’ she said.

Sheree Blum, owner of Kicking Glass in Wellington, received assistance from Geltner when she launched her business three years ago. She said Geltner is deserving of the award.  “I think it’s wonderful, and I know she works really hard.”

Blum said her business, which makes glass dishes, is doing well, and she is now a vendor for the Anthropologie store. “She had some excellent ideas. She helped publicize my success when I first began, and it was greatly appreciated.”

Prior to working at Palm Beach State, Geltner focused on her PR and Internet marketing business, Froogle PR, which she launched in 2009. She also has worked as a newspaper reporter, publicist and a fundraiser for nonprofit charity. She has received several public relations and newspaper reporting awards. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

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