Owners of Kentucky cookware company win Small Business Person of the Year award

WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- Years of hard work and dedication are paying off for Jeff Dudley and his mother, Debra.

Their business, Oscarware, Inc., based in Bonnieville, Ky., developed the Grill-Topper. The company has been around for 28 years and now has 32 employees.

“[My mother] has worked tirelessly over the years and turned the company into what it is today," said Jeff Dudley.

Small Business Administrator – Linda McMahon – honored the Dudleys Monday as 1st runner up for National Small Business Person of the Year.

The SBA is an agency they’ve worked closely with to help grow.

“[Success] didn’t just happen. It wasn’t smooth sailing everyday. There were financial needs for buying equipment, launching new products, and getting the cash flow you need to grow a business," said Debra Dudley.

McMahon says small businesses are the engine of our economy.

“Small business is in a great place right now. There’s optimism in the country that there hasn’t been in a long time. We’re seeing more start-ups. Entrepreneurs are willing to take more risks as a result of this administration," said McMahon.

Like the president, McMahon is an entrepreneur herself.

“I know what it takes. I know the sweat equity it takes. I know the opportunities that need to present themselves," she said.

It’s not just McMahon these entrepreneurs can learn from.

“To be able to tell our story, and to let so many other people nationally know about our company, is something I never dreamed of having the opportunity to do," said Debra Dudley.

The awards are part of National Small Business Week, which continues through May 6.

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