Northeastern University's College of Business Administration (CBA) today announced that 2004 graduate John Ready has been honored with the Small Business Administration (SBA) "National Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award" for 2008. Mr. Ready is the 27-year old co-founder of the Portland, Maine-based Ready Seafood and Catch a Piece of Maine, a global lobster and seafood distribution company with over $10 million in annual sales.
The SBA award is given to an individual under 30 years old who has served for three years as a majority owner of a small business or who bears principal responsibility for operating the business. Evaluation criteria include success as measured by sales and profits, jobs created, creative business methods, and demonstration of long-term entrepreneurial potential.
"When I decided to go to college, I chose Northeastern's College of Business because of the College's co-op program," said Mr. Ready. "The marketing courses and mentoring I received as a student at CBA, coupled with the opportunity my co-ops gave me to put into practice what I learned in the classroom, were instrumental in my success."
Northeastern's co-op (short for "co-operative education") program was founded almost a century ago. In March 2008, BusinessWeek ranked CBA as the #1 College for business internships in the U.S. Students alternate periods of academic study with periods of employment in positions related to their academic or career interests. This combination of academic study and experience produces an overall learning experience that gives greater meaning to their academic studies and direction to their career development. Graduates of the College of Business Administration enter the workforce with as much as eighteen months of real-world, on-the-job experience already on their resume.
"It's no surprise to see John achieve success. He typifies the persona of the entrepreneur. He is driven, action-oriented, and focused on the pursuit of an opportunity," said Ted Clark, executive professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Northeastern University's College of Business Administration. "He was one of those students who always took the classroom material and looked for a way to apply it to a perceived opportunity. While at Northeastern, he honed his ability to identify an opportunity and then create a plan for execution."
"CBA has a long, rich tradition of both producing entrepreneurs and next-generation leaders of family businesses across a variety of industries - high tech, services, and retail. At the undergraduate level, there is no doubt that co-op quickly matures young students and provides them with specific industry knowledge required to start a business. At the graduate level, many of our students are already working professionals, and we help shape and apply their desire to start their own companies," said Marc Meyer, the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group Coordinator at Northeastern University's College of Business Administration. "For all students, our focus is to help them connect the different disciplines needed for successful venturing: product and service development and delivery, marketing, finance, and managing people. You can see these come together in John Ready's entrepreneurial success. Simply outstanding."
In his senior year, Mr. Ready won the undergraduate Business Plan Competition, which lead to the birth of Ready Seafood. He also won the Northeastern Cooperative Education Award for outstanding performance in the co-op program.
"Small businesses drive our economy, creating jobs and opportunities for Americans in every community across the country," said SBA Administrator Steve Preston. "The SBA is very proud of the vital role it plays in enabling America's entrepreneurs, and we are excited to recognize the achievements of Ready Seafood among the businesses that were honored during National Small Business Week."
Ready Seafood sales now exceed $10 million with lobster sold around the world. Catch A Piece of Maine was launched in 2007. John, and his business partner and brother, Brendan, were honored with other SBA Award champions and winners at a reception ceremony in Washington, D.C. during the SBA's National Small Business Week. They will also be recognized at the Maine Small Business Week Awards luncheon in Lewiston on May 26.
For over 30 years, SBA has been recognizing the significant contribution of small business to our state and national economies through the Small Business Week Awards Program. National Small Business Week 2008 will begin with three days of events in Washington, D.C., at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, where more than 100 outstanding business owners from across the country will be recognized. In addition to the National Young Entrepreneur of the Year, State Small Business Persons of the Year, men and women involved in disaster recovery, government procurement, small business champions as well as SBA partners in financial and entrepreneurial development will be honored. The highlight of events will be the announcement of the National Small Business Person of the Year.
For more information on SBA and National Small Business Week, go to www.sba.gov or www.nationalsmallbusinessweek.com