Covington caterer earns national business award

Published: Sep. 22, 2020 at 4:44 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- America’s top small businesses are being recognized this week at a national conference. This year, a woman from Covington has been chosen as the top small business person of the year out of the entire state of Kentucky.

Each year, the Small Business Administration honors these top shops for their hard work and dedication to their craft. But due to the ongoing pandemic, the celebrations went virtual for 2020.

Founder and owner of The Delish Dish, Mavis Linnemann-Clark, says she’s honored to receive this award.

“To be the business that represents Kentucky on a national scale, is unbelievable," said Linnemann-Clark.

Nearly 10 years ago, The Delish Dish of Covington went from a vision to a reality. Chef Mavis Linnemann-Clark’s catering features globally-inspired gourmet food for weddings, parties and corporate events in northern Kentucky and Cincinnati. But her business took a hit from COVID-19.

Like so many in hospitality, The Delish Dish pivoted to carry-out services for several months, and fortunately is getting back on track – working on a new business model – as things gradually reopen.

“This year is a little blip on our radar, but I think next year we’ll be back to moving towards growth," said Linnemann-Clark.

Linnemann-Clark is a fighter, like so many other small business leaders who have climbed the ladder of success. Back during the great recession, she launched her business and immediately saw explosive growth.

“From the beginning, I thought she had everything that was needed to be very successful in being an extra special caterer, not just a meat and potatoes type person," said Carlin Stamm, her mentor.

Stamm, who retired from executive management, now mentors up-and-coming entrepreneurs. He nominated Linnemann-Clark to be small business person of the year from Kentucky.

“She’s very talented and very driven and she loves what she does," said Stamm.

Linnemann-Clark says the advice she received from Stamm and others was invaluable and now she gives back to other aspiring entrepreneurs, too.

“Determination and hard work and a little bit of luck is all you need to succeed and just make sure you have a community of people to support you," said Linnemann-Clark.

And Linnemann-Clark also owns Kickstart Kitchen, which helps fellow entrepreneurs get their business dreams off the ground. She rents out space to these fellow business people and connects them with free resources for business planning and development.

For entrepreneurs that need support and advice, Linnemann-Clark credits the Northern Kentucky Small Business Development Center and her local SCORE chapter with helping her navigate those changes. She says the Small Business Administration also offers support to anyone in need of some mentoring.

Linnemann-Clark was also named 2018 Kentucky woman-owned business of the year.

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