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Azalea Health named as one of Georgia’s “Small Business Rock Stars”

Local company recognized jointly by two statewide economic development groups

Valdosta (August 20, 2013) – Azalea Health was announced today as a winner of Georgia’s first “Small Business Rock Stars” competition, a new program representing the first-ever collaboration of the Georgia Economic Developers Association (GEDA) and the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD). The program recognizes outstanding, unique and impactful small businesses in the state of Georgia.

“These awards recognize the fact that, with 95 percent of Georgia’s businesses employing under 50 people, small business is clearly big business in Georgia,” said GDEcD commissioner Chris Cummiskey.  “Georgia ranks as one of the best states in which to start a business thanks to its diversity, abundance of resources, and entrepreneur-friendly policies.”

“It’s important to honor companies whose best practices help set the state apart as a nurturing environment for small business,” said Mike Pennington, president of GEDA.  “This is the first time our two groups have collaborated specifically on small business awareness, and we are very pleased with the response by Georgia’s small business community.”

Companies with up to 50 employees were considered for uniqueness and innovation, as well as for their involvement with their local economic developers and state resource providers. Nominated companies represent fields ranging from information technology and healthcare to racing and restaurants. Six companies were named winners in the competition, and four companies received honorable mentions.

“We were very happy to receive almost 50 nominations, more than we expected for this first-time effort,” said Mary Ellen McClanahan, Director of Entrepreneur & Small Business with GDEcD. “GEDA members and Georgia’s communities took this opportunity to heart and we are proud that so many responded with such interest.”

The awards were presented Monday in Atlanta at a ceremony attended by Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle.  Azalea Health was represented by co-founders Douglas Swords, CFO and Dan Henry, CIO.

“I am honored to accept this award on behalf of Azalea Health as a winner in the state’s first small business competition,” said Swords. “All of our employees have really worked hard this year, and this means so much to be recognized among other great small businesses.”

About GEDA

Celebrating 50 years of service excellence, the Georgia Economic Developers Association is the leading professional organization advancing Georgia's economic vitality. GEDA is a non-profit association of professionals, volunteers and supporters. The association provides networking and professional development opportunities for its members, and supports public policies that promote quality job creation and sustainable economic development throughout the state. For more information, visit www.geda.org.

About GDEcD

The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) plans, manages and mobilizes state resources to attract new business investment to Georgia, drive the expansion of existing industry and small business, locate new markets for Georgia products, inspire tourists to visit Georgia, and promote the state as a top destination for arts events and film, music and digital entertainment projects. Visit www.georgia.org.

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