Caribbean Solar Company Owners Named VI Small Business Person(s) of 2017

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Kevin Schnell and Maya Matthews-Sterling, owners of Caribbean Solar Company, have been named the 2017 Virgin Islands Small Business Person(s) of the Year.

The letter of congratulations from SBA Administrator Linda McMahon to Stanfield says, in part, “your hard work, innovative ideas, and dedication to your employees and community have helped you build an outstanding business that has strengthened your [territory’s] economy. The SBA is pleased to celebrate your achievements and recognize your personal role in driving our nation’s economic growth. Congratulations on a well-deserved honor.”

Caribbean Solar Company was started in 2012 by St. John native Maya and her husband Kevin. Since its inception, CSC has installed over 850 kilowatts of solar, providing an environmentally friendly and affordable alternative energy source to residential and commercial virgin islanders. The company employs seven people.

Maya and Kevin traveled, along with their 6 month old daughter, to Washington DC to receive their awards during National Small Business Week festivities.  Each year since 1963, the President has issued a proclamation declaring National Small Business Week. ete listing of national awardees and for information on National Small Business Week please visit www.sba.gov/nsbw.

The company and its founders were also honored at an awards event co-hosted by the Virgin Islands Small Business Development Center in St. Thomas. “The contributions that Kevin and Maya have made as small business owners have not only resulted in job creation and their community’s economic expansion, they also have a positive impact on the environment and their customers’ quality of life,” Yvette T. Collazo, SBA Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands District Director.

Pictured L to R: SBA Public Affairs Officer Angelique Adjutant at podium; University of the Virgin Islands President Dr. David Hall; Senator Tregenza A. Roach; Caribbean Solar founder Kevin Schell; SBA District Director Yvette T. Collazo; and SBA St. Thomas-St. John Senior Area Manager Hipólito “C.J.” Castro. Photo courtesy of SBA Puerto Rico & Virgin Islands District Office.

At a Small Business Week event held earlier in St. Croix, the SBA also bestowed the St. Croix Entrepreneurs of the Year Award upon James and Deborah Smith, owners of Blues’ Backyard BBQ LLC.  The Smiths purchased the business after receiving training and technical assistance from the SBDC Service Center in St. Croix. The transaction helped retain five existing jobs and created a new one.

“All small business owners honored today represent the true spirit of entrepreneurship,” Collazo added. “The SBA commends their tenacity, dedication and efforts to create jobs and help foster the Virgin Island’s economy.”

The SBA also honored Banco Popular de Puerto Rico as Lender of the Year in the USVI.

For information on SBA assistance for entrepreneurs, visit www.sba.gov/pr.