By Beth Perdue Bulletin editor
FALL RIVER, Mass. — Local entrepreneurs, both new and established, received recognition recently at an awards ceremony for Bristol Community College's Academic Center for Entrepreneurship. The annual event, held each November, celebrates the entrepreneurship tradition by recognizing three area entrepreneurs as "developing," "cornerstone," and "benevolent" award winners.
Award winners for 2009 included Desiree Walker-Brown, founder and owner of Kid's World Learning Center, a child care center that serves Fall River's diverse population of low income and working couples.
Walker-Brown received the Developing Entrepreneur award for the business she opened in early 2004 with financial support from the Fall River Office of Economic Development and BankFive. "After three years of profitability and success, the state asked her to expand her facility to offer care for infants as well as toddlers," according to the ACE award write-up. Today, the business employs eight full-time people and cares for more than 50 children.
Also honored was longtime local businessman Anthony F. Cordeiro and owner of Anthony F. Cordeiro Insurance Agency and Properties, whose work over the years supported many community organizations and who helped "change the face of the city by constructing and renovating buildings," according to the award introduction.
For these contributions, Cordeiro, received the Benevolent Entrepreneur award.
Also honored, David and Lysa Riccardi, husband and wife owners of Blue Point Restaurant in Acushnet, took home the Cornerstone Entrepreneur award The couple opened their restaurant in 1989 with six employees. Today they employ 16, including four new positions added after a recent restaurant expansion.
"Even in the midst of a recession, the Riccardi's have reported a 10 percent increase in sales, not only as a result of their expansion, but also of their ability to maintain reasonable prices for the people they serve each and every day," the award description read.
Offering insight and advice to students, faculty and entrepreneurs at the event was keynote speaker Mark Hellendrung, owner of Narragansett Brewery.
Hellendrung spoke about his efforts to resurrect the popular local beer that was once brewed in Cranston, R.I.
In talking about his efforts, Hellendrung stressed the importance of branding and story-telling. "People want to hear stories today," he said. "The story is important and embedded in your business and it's up to you to tell it."
"Whether you've been cracking at it for one year, five years or 10 years, tell that story," he said.