Small Business Administration to Honor CT’s Leading Small Business Owners

April M. Lukasik, President & CEO of Bright & Early Children’s Learning Centers, has been named the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2018 Connecticut Small Business Person of the Year, SBA’s top award, Anne Hunt, SBA’s District Director, has announced. “We are extremely excited to honor a truly amazing line up of small business owners and champions this year, said Anne Hunt, SBA’s Connecticut District Director.  It is important to recognize these outstanding small businesses in the state as they are the job creators, innovators and the fabric of our local communities!” 

The slate of leading small business owners in Connecticut will be honored at the Annual Small Business Week Awards Luncheon at Anthony’s Ocean View in New Haven on May 3.  National Small Business Week is obsered April 29-May 5.

Bright & Early Children’s Learning Centers have four locations in Connecticut.  The business was founded in Middletown 2012 by Lukasik.  The mission statement describes the Center as “a child care and early education solution in a nurturing and scholastic environment where dedicated teachers are awakening young minds when it matters most.”  Old Saybrook, Branford locations followed, with West Hartford soon to open.

“We hope the small business community will join the SBA and our host, SCORE for an inspiring awards luncheon on May 3rd in New Haven,” Hunt added.

The 2018 Connecticut SBA Honorees are:

  • Region 1 & Connecticut Manufacturer of the Year  Brian Weinstein, CHAPCO, Chester
  • Region 1 & Connecticut Family-Owned Small Business   Charles Buck Jr., Buck’s Spumoni Company, Inc., Milford
  • Exporter of the Year  Dennis Nash, Control Station Inc., Manchester
  • Woman-Owned Small Business  Erin Emmons, Lucky Taco Cantina and Tap Room, Manchester
  • Minority-Owned Small Business  Marilyn Ortiz, Borinquen Bakery, New Britain
  • Veteran Owned Business of the Year Nicholas W. Wright, Unlimited Fun LLC., Prospect
  • Home-Based Business of the Year Linda Longboardi, ReGift the Wrap, LLC., Glastonbury
  • Young Entrepreneur of the Year  Alyssa DeMatteo, Wildflour Confections, Seymour
  • CT Microenterprise Award  Stefanie Toise, At Once LLC., Vernon
  • Financial Services Champion  Aaron M. Bohigan- Webster Bank, Hartford

Lukasik, founder of Bright & Early Children's Learning Centers, finds her roots in a family of entrepreneurs. Her grandmother owned and operated a nursing home that her parents later grew into a successful entity. She started off working in the family business, gathering experience and cultivating her passion of caring for others. After obtaining her Bachelors Degree in Marketing, she jumpstarted her entrepreneurial career, creating and operating multiple companies while gaining experience and insight into what it takes to build and grow a successful organization.

When her children were toddlers, she found herself searching for child care options that suited her needs and standards as a discerning parent… a safe, secure, nurturing, warm, home-like, educational, organized, and clean child care center. Not finding what she was looking for, she tapped into her entrepreneurial spirit to start her own child care center that met all of these standards.

The Young Entreprenuer of the Year, Alyssa DeMatteo, is a 26 year old Seymour resident who quickly gained popularity in southern Connecticut's cake and cupcake scene when she launched Wildflour Cupcakes & Sweets as a Facebook page in 2013.

Control Station was founded in 1988 and headquartered near the University of Connecticut. Control Station harnesses the creative energies of its surrounding, solving difficult plant monitoring and controller challenges facing process manufacturers with a broad portfolio of software-based solutions. Exporter of the Year Dennis Nash is President and Chief Executive Officer of Control Station, Inc.