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June 05, 1998

Ross Youngs, president of Univenture, Inc. of Columbus, Ohio, has been named the National Small Business Person of the Year. Youngs was selected from a field of 53 Small Business Administration (SBA) small business winners representing the fifty states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam.

The national entrepreneur award is a highlight of SBA's national Small Business Week celebration. Small Business Week, now in its 35th year, honors the contributions of the nation's small business owners. Winners are selected on their record of stability, growth in employment and sales, sound financial reports, innovation, and the company's response to adversity, and community service.

Youngs founded Univenture ten years ago after developing a lighter, cheaper and more environmentally friendly product for displaying and storing compact discs. Today, Univenture is a $15 million dollar business that employs 119 people.

The award for first runner-up went to Fleischer Manufacturing of Columbus, Nebraska. Fleischer Manufacturing developed and produces tillage equipment that allows farmers to save soil and water during cultivation. The company employs roughly 175 people, and has experienced a 60 percent growth in sales since 1994 with sales in 1997 of about $14 million.

The award for second runner-up went to Litronic Industries, Inc. of Irvine, California. Litronic Industries designs and manufactures information security software and devices, and customized electronic interconnects. The company employs 148 people and has annual sales of more than $22 million.

Much of today's economic prosperity can be attributed to this nation's 23.6 million small businesses. Small businesses represent 99.7 percent of all employers, account for 47 percent of all sales in the country, employ 53 percent of the private work force, and are responsible for more than half of the private gross domestic product. New business formation reached another record level in 1997, with 884,609 new employer firms, the highest ever, and a five percent increase over the last record set in 1996.

For additional information about these award winners, as well as a list of additional awards, visit the SBA homepage at www.sba.gov/news/current/98-38.html.