The founder of a Burlington business that started as a high school senior project recently was named the 2019 Small Business Person of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Ross Black, owner and CEO of Simple Box Storage, demonstrated growth in net worth and business expansion, increase in jobs and sales, innovativeness of products or services, response to adversity and contributions to community-oriented projects, according to the SBA. He will join winners from 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam on May 5-6 in Washington, D.C., when one of them will be selected as the National Small Business Person of the Year.
Founded by Black when he was a high school senior in 1997, Simple Box Storage rents and sells shipping containers for storage, moving or modification. Today the company is in Burlington and seven other locations across Washington, Idaho and Oregon and employs 26 people.
“It is such a humbling thing to win an award like this because I know that it would be impossible without such amazing support around me,” Black said. “When I started Simple Box Storage as a 17-year-old, I had dreams of being successful, but I really had no idea what true success looked like.”
In 2013, Black enrolled in the SBA Emerging Leaders course, which provides free entrepreneurship education and training for executives of small, poised-for-growth companies. Since he completed the Emerging Leaders program, Simple Box Storage grew from two locations to eight, increased revenue by 400% and added 17 new employees.
Black’s success with Simple Box Storage has allowed him to make a difference in communities across the globe. He sponsors one orphan or widow for each employee the company has. Black has also provided containers and supplies for global and national disasters, sponsors local community events and volunteers his time coaching and teaching local students.
“As I worked through the SBA Emerging Leaders program, the dreams became plans and the plans have now become reality,” Black said. “I know that there is still so much room for me to grow as a leader, but it is an incredible honor to be recognized for the progress that has been made so far.”
For more information about Simple Box Storage, call (360) 200-6609 or visit www.GetSimpleBox.com.