Did you know that:
* Innovations such as the aerosol can, artificial heart valve, optical scanner, soft contact lenses, pacemaker and zipper were developed by small businesses?
* More than 20 million Americans own small businesses and create two out of every three new jobs in the United States?
* About half of the nation's private-sector work force is employed by small businesses?
The U.S. Small Business Administration doesn't want the country to overlook the contributions of entrepreneurs and has been touting their accomplishments this week, which is officially designated Small Business Week. Throughout the nation, small business owners are being given awards.
Several Marylanders were honored today at the 7th annual Maryland small business awards ceremony at the Baltimore Convention Center.
They include Jacqueline F. McLean, vice president of the Baltimore City Council and executive vice president of Four Seas Seven Winds Travel Agency. McLean is this year's minority small business advocate for Maryland.
The award is given to an individual who has supported minority entrepreneurs.
Among other things, McLean is recognized for authoring legislation that was signed into law in September 1986. It directed the city to spend 20 percent of its total procurement dollars with minority-owned businesses and 3 percent with businesses controlled by women.
John and Joy Korpela, owners of Kreative Plastics Inc. of Frostburg, have been picked as Maryland's small business persons of the year. Kreative Plastics is a manufacturer of custom-decorated plastic containers for such companies as Noxell and Playtex. In four years the company has grown from six employees and $250,000 in sales to 38 workers and annual sales of $1 million.
Other awards given to Marylanders include:
* Small business advocate: Richard M. Aarons, small business council manager for the Baltimore County Chamber of Commerce.
* Small business women in business advocate: Mary Ann Chasen, owner of Accurate Typing Service in Lexington Park. Chasen runs a home-based typing business.
* Small business young entrepreneur of the year: Maria Fleischmann, owner of Innovative Gourmet of Owings Mills. Innovative Gourmet is a full service caterer with 19 employees and more than 200 part-time and temporary employees. Fleischmann was also selected by the SBA as the small business entrepreneur for Region III, which encompasses Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Delaware.
* Small business exporter of the year: Warren G. Miller, president of Atlantic Fitness Products. The Baltimore-based company manufactures physical-fitness equipment. Exports make up 22 percent of the firm's total sales.