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10 Dane County small businesses making a difference

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Ready for some mind-blowing stats?

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, Wisconsin has more than 440,000 small businesses (defined as businesses with fewer than 500 employees). Those businesses represent 97.8% of all employers in the Badger State and employ 51.8% of the private sector workforce. Most are also very small, with 75% of all businesses having no employees and many having fewer than 20.

That’s a lot of economic power for a bunch of very small businesses. In fact, nearly 87% of all Wisconsin exports in 2013 came from small businesses. In short, small businesses make the Wisconsin economy go.

Ten area businesses were honored for their distinctive achievements on June 28 at the 34th annual Dane County Small Business Awards. Each year, these prestigious awards recognize 10 successful small Dane County businesses that have rewarding workplace environments and contribute to their community.

Contributions to the community were a particular hallmark of each of this year’s honorees.

“Small businesses aren’t always about making money — sometimes they’re not even about making money at all. They’re about community,” Dane County Executive Joe Parisi noted during the event. “You are what makes up the fiber of our community.”

Dr. Richard J. Davidson, founder of the Center for Healthy Minds at UW–Madison, was the morning’s keynote presenter and he recognized each of the small business award winners for cultivating work environments that promoted a positive outlook.

“People with high levels of psychological wellbeing are also physically healthier,” Davidson noted. “This raises questions for the business world. Depression is the leading cause of disability. More than 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression, so having strategies to deal with the causes of depression and cultivate healthy habits at work can help reduce costs for small businesses.”

This year’s award winners come from a wide variety of industries, with differing challenges and goals, but all have strived to foster a positive sense of community both in and out of the office to become leaders in their fields.

Byce & Worman Family Dentistry — Madison
Brad Byce and Peter Worman, Owners

Byce & Worman Family Dentistry is a modern, state-of-the-art dental practice offering Madison area patients a full-range of general and cosmetic dental services, from routine check-ups to complete smile makeovers. The company was started seven years ago, and has already grown from five employees at its inception to 17 employees today. From day one they have placed a high importance on staying current in dentistry technology, which includes laser dentistry, digital impressions, and digital X-rays. They also pride themselves on providing a healthy a work/life balance for their employees and creating a fun and friendly environment for all employees and patients. In addition to participating in numerous charitable events, Byce & Worman also opened its doors to Badgercare Forward Health Insurance patients in 2011, and the organization assists local schools by providing dental care free of charge to students who have no dental insurance.

Enivison IT — Madison
Nancy Pautsch, President

Envision IT is a tech consulting firm specializing in networks, systems, virtualization, proactive operations support, cloud technologies, and software development. In 2013, owner Beau Smithback brought on a new executive team and they strategically transformed the company into a “firm of endearment,” inspired by principles discussed in the books Conscious Capitalism and Firms of Endearment. The company operates on the basic premise that, “We can do good and be good to all stakeholders — employees, clients, partners, and the community — and still make a profit.” During its 15 years in business, Envision IT has grown from two to 20 employees based on core principles of considering employees the source of everything and endearing them; marrying human core values to a business purpose; and fostering a culture of give, give, give and recognizing that it results in win, win, win.

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