GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Next month, the Small Business Administration will honor the small business person of the year from every state with ceremony in Washington D.C. The Mississippi winner is from the Gulf Coast.
Mike Pornovets owns Everything Kayak in Gulfport. The Navy veteran opened his 10,000-square-foot store on Creosote Rd. two years ago. He capitalized on his love of kayaking and a burning desire to start a business.
"I had a passion for paddling and kayaking. There really were not a lot of kayak shops in the area, within 100 miles. I opened my first kayak shop. We had 800 square feet. From there, we just kept growing and growing and transitioning into other ventures in the kayaking community," said Pornovets.
A month ago, Pornovets found out he was named Mississippi small business person of the year by the Small Business Administration. Pornovets was honored and surprised by the honor.
"I'm still not sure how to take it. I know there are a lot of people who deserve it just as much as I do. I'm not the only one working 15 or 20 hours a day to do this. It's hard for me to swallow. I'm still baffled that I won, but I'm excited about giving back as much as I can to help other business startups," Pornovets said.
The SBA selected Everything Kayak based on the growth of the business, sales and innovation, like putting in a huge pool so people, especially inexperienced kayakers, can try a product before buying. Pornovets believes small businesses are the backbone of America.
"Small businesses account for 90 percent of the jobs that are created. Every time someone starts their own business, they create at least one new job. They create a job for the owners, and every time they hire someone, it helps put jobs in the local market. It creates revenue that goes back into the economy, which fosters more jobs and more spending," Pornovets said.
The ceremony will be held May 1 and May 2 in the nation's capital.
Pornovets could be named the national small business person of the year.