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Four Honored with Small Business Award by Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services

Raleigh

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services honored four small business owners across North Carolina with a 2018 Small Business of the Year award.

The DVRS Small Business Award recognizes the success of clients who overcame disability to become self-employed and highlights community and state partners who provide critical support to entrepreneurs with disabilities. 

“All entrepreneurs face challenges to be successful,” said Tara Myers, DVRS division director. “But these inspiring entrepreneurs have shown the incredible grit and determination to create growing businesses while facing serious disabilities that might have stopped the rest of us.”

Candidates are nominated by the division’s counselors, small business specialists and policy team. To be selected, the client must have successfully achieved their vocational rehabilitation goals, be willing to be publicly recognized and have overcome significant challenges in building a sustainable business. 

The division’s Small Business Advisory Committee, which includes entrepreneurs and other members of the state’s small business community, review the nominees and select a winner or, in this case, winners. 

The winners of the DVRS Small Business of the Year award were attorney Patrick Newman in Morehead City, Darlene Lane of Dee’s Power Up Cleaning Services in Whiteville, Charles Nembhard of Charley King’s Jamaican Jerk Sauces in Asheville and David Tedrow of Senior Health Insurance Brokers, LLC, in Durham. Only one winner has been selected in previous years, but this year featured four because of the quality nominees.

Newman was born with scoliosis, leg impairments and without arms. Confined to a wheelchair since he was two-years-old, Newman was faced with law school student debt and the cost of starting a law firm, including specialized transportation and additional administrative and personal support. After working with DVRS, he now has his own space and paralegal services. For more information on his journey, click here.

Lane first contacted DVRS in 2011 seeking help with starting a small cleaning business. Her counselor referred her to the Small Business Center at Southeastern Community College. After working to get her GED, set up a business plan and overcome Hurricane Matthew setbacks, profits have grown beyond her targets. Click here for more information on her story.

Nembhard first went to the Asheville Vocational Rehabilitation office for help in 2014. Suffering from chronic hip and leg pain, the office helped him get diagnosed at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. After femur and hip replacement surgeries, physical therapy and help from DVRS, Nembhard is back on his feet, and Charley King’s Jamaican Jerk Sauces is going strong with products available in Whole Foods, GreenLife, Earth Fare and Ingles. To learn more about Nembhard, click here.

Less than four years ago, Tedrow couldn’t drive a car, he’d forgotten how to open a car door or answer a telephone. He was in and out of the hospital on a weekly basis. After a liver transplant, Tedrow spent his first year of recovery counseling people new to Medicare on a volunteer basis. After a meeting with the Durham County Vocational Rehabilitation office, he decided to start his own business — Senior Health Insurance Brokers, LLC. The brokerage now has more than 70 clients. Click here for more information on his journey.

DVRS is dedicated to providing an array of comprehensive employment preparation and support services to people with disabilities seeking to gain, maintain or advance in employment. Additional services are provided to individuals seeking assistance to maximize their independence in their home and community.