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Dell, NFIB Honor Nation’s Most Innovative Small and Mid-size Business as Part of 2009 Global Dell Small Business Excellence Award


* From Medicine to Marketing, Timber to Tutoring, Entrepreneurs Better Serve Customers Through Innovative Use of Technology
* 130 Finalists Worldwide Compete to Win $50,000 in Dell Technology, Consulting Time with Michael Dell

The News:

* Dell and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the leading small-business association in the United States, today announced the 10 U.S. finalists for the Sixth Annual Dell/NFIB Small Business Excellence Award.
* Founded in 2004 by Dell and the NFIB, the award recognizes companies using technology to better serve customers and grow. Just as Michael Dell did 25 years ago in starting his own small business, award honorees understand that listening and delivering on behalf of customers is instrumental to business success. Today, the award has expanded to 13 countries worldwide, honored more than 370 companies, and is an important source of inspiration given today’s global economic crisis.
* Selected by MBA students at George Washington University School of Business from a record 3,000 applications, U.S. finalists receive a Dell business-class laptop, one-year NFIB membership, and go on to compete for the national award.
* Announced in September, the national winner will receive consulting time with Michael Dell, $25,000 in Dell technology, and a life-time membership to NFIB. Honored for breaking the mold with its use of technology in the traditionally low-tech motor-home industry, last year’s U.S. winner, Transport Designs, attributes much of its success and growth to understanding technology and how it can garner customer trust and, in turn, a competitive advantage.
* Once named, 13 national winners selected from each participating country including Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States will be considered for the 2009 global Dell Small Business Excellence Award. Worth $50,000 in Dell technology and services and benefits from global partners International Council for Small Business and Endeavor, the global winner will be announced in fall 2009. 2008 global winner Wiggly Wigglers, a rural, England-based natural gardening company, was awarded for its innovation and leadership in social media. Using tools like Facebook, podcasting and blogging, Wiggly Wigglers has grown to serve 90,000 customers worldwide while cutting their advertising budget by 80 percent.

This year’s U.S. finalists represent diverse industries, size and revenues, ranging from medical practices to an online forensic training company, from one employee to 55, and revenues from a breakeven start-up to $15M. The U.S. 2009 Dell/NFIB Small Business Excellence Award finalists include:

* Acadia Foot & Ankle, P.A., Bangor, ME, is a three-physician foot and ankle medical and surgical treatment center using advanced three-dimensional scanners, digital x-rays and a Web-based answering service to provide high-quality patient care, speed transfer of information and cut costs.
* In an industry still using paper and pen to conduct inspections and inventory, American Wire Rope & Sling of Fort Wayne, IN, uses barcoding and RFID for more efficient inventory control and inspections, to better track repairs in cooperation with OSHA requirements, improve productivity and save money.
* Known as the “e-harmony of tutoring,” Appleton Learning, Madison, AL, specializes in tutoring and test prep services, distinguishing itself by matching students and tutors based on the human elements of education. They credit their unique software as essential in providing this innovative service.
* Bellingham Internal Medicine, Bellingham, WA, leverages a custom-designed computerized medical office system, integrating electronic medical records, all aspects of business operations and communications to streamline operations. Through its use of technology, the four- provider practice is able to provide high-quality primary care internal medicine to Medicare recipients at Medicare rates, schedule an average of 30 minutes per patient visit, and earn near the median income for primary care providers in the area.
* Much like the software-as-a-service model, BusinesSuites of Austin, TX, offers clients subscription-based office space and services to free them of the burden of traditional long-term leases. BusinesSuites credits their investments in IT and people with saving the company and enabling them to deliver a superior customer experience.
* Forensic Training Network, San Francisco, CA, provides online and onsite collaborative training services to crime lab employees, law enforcement and attorneys on forensic science-related topics. Innovators of the ForensicHub, an online resource that connects the forensic community, and the first in its industry to create online and self-paced training modules, the company is helping clients address budget shortfalls and travel restrictions without sacrificing competency.
* Geo-Source, Inc., Florence, AL, performs environmental assessment services for large timberland acquisitions being considered by institutional investors. Using a GIS-enhanced database application for aerial reconnaissance from helicopters, Geo-Source is able to deliver faster, more thorough results of remote areas difficult to reach by ground.
* Specializing in immersive applications for the web, GroundWork Design, Richmond, VA, helps clients like The Julliard School and the University of Miami bring their campuses and experiences to life via rich multi-media.
* Interactive Marketing, Warrenton, VA, maker of the web-based Welcome Back Rewards customer loyalty solution, offers small companies an affordable, cross-marketing loyalty program for capturing repeat business called City Masterkey. The Masterkey links merchant groups together in a loyalty coalition and brands the merchant group while giving the consumer one card that rewards them everywhere they shop or dine.
* Vitals, Lyndhurst, N.J., is an online doctor evaluation and comparison service that helps patients identify the right doctor for them. With more than 720,000 physicians nationwide and a daily user base of 100,000 and growing, Vitals’ flexible database and web-user interface helped the company secure a number of key partnerships with major insurers and health providers.

Global 2009 Small Business Excellence Award Value

* $50,000 in technology and services from Dell;
* Featured in an entrepreneurs’ summit;
* Lifetime membership to the International Council for Small Business (ICSB), and
* Engagement with Endeavor’s network of business leaders and high-impact entrepreneurs in emerging markets worldwide.

U.S. 2009 Dell/NFIB Small Business Excellence Award Value

* $25,000 in Dell products and services;
* Day of best-practice sharing with Dell executives, including Chairman and CEO Michael Dell, and
* Lifetime membership to NFIB.


* “In today’s economy, these businesses are proof that smart IT investments can not only pay off for the business itself, but for their customers as well,” said Erik Dithmer, vice president and general manager of Dell Small and Medium Business. “This year’s finalists are applying technology in new, innovative ways--often for the first time in their industries--to break new ground and raise the bar. They serve as strong examples for all our customers of the positive impact IT can have on business success and customer satisfaction.”
* “Our research shows that small firms are twice as innovative per employee as larger firms, and the companies who entered this year’s award demonstrate that fact,” said NFIB President and CEO Dan Danner. “These companies are the cream of the crop, chosen from a record 3,000 applications in the U.S. alone. We are proud to showcase the finalists and emphasize how technology can help our members thrive and grow their businesses.”


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