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CLC staff member wins award for small business work

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Jul 19, 2021

Kevin Kim was chosen as the recipient of the 2021 Illinois Small Business Development and International Trade Center (SBDC/ITC) State Star Award by the Illinois SBDC State Office.

The State Star Award is given to someone who exhibits exemplary performance, makes a significant contribution to his or her SBDC program and shows a strong commitment to helping small businesses grow.

Photo of Kevin KimKim, an International Trade Specialist at Illinois SBDC/ITC, was selected for his “ongoing and outstanding performance and great work provided for clients, especially through the COVID-19 pandemic, and his work with the U.S. Export-Import (EXIM) Bank REPP Initiative and U.S. SBA collaboration,” according to Mark Petrilli, the state SBDC director.

“I feel so humbled and honored to be recognized as the State Star Award winner,” Kim said. “I want to thank my team members for their support. I don’t know how to say thank you enough for this award.”

Kim will be recognized at the IESBGA Annual Conference in August and during ASBDC Annual Conference in September.

“He’s quite a star performer on many levels,” said Mitch Bienvenue, manager of the SBDC/ITC at CLC. “He’s very good at helping businesses new to exporting and helping them get started and also helping those who wish to expand their exports.”

Having a member of the Illinois SBDC/ITC at CLC win an award of this caliber builds on the center’s already stellar reputation.

“It shows we help businesses do business,” Bienvenue said. “It enhances our credibility in showing we get results. You don’t get recognized for something like that without a big contribution.”

Kim said Lake County has a lot of business with the potential to export, and businesses learning about what the SBDC/ITC offers can help them with that process.

“This award will provide trust and credibility to small businesses in Lake County who can access our services,” Kim said. “It will make them more aware of our services so we can provide help with their export opportunities. Some businesses don’t know what we can do, and this will give us the exposure.”

The SBDC/ITC provides no cost, confidential business advising and low-cost, interactive workshops and is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (ILDCEO) and the College of Lake County. For more information, call (847) 543-2033, email or visit

About College of Lake County

College of Lake County is a comprehensive community college committed to equitable high-quality education, cultural enrichment and partnerships to advance the diverse communities it serves in northeastern Illinois. Offered at three campuses in Grayslake, Vernon Hills and Waukegan or online, college classes are affordable and accessible to help each student achieve academic, career and personal goals. More than 70,000 students graduated with degrees and certificates since the college opened in 1969. College of Lake County is the only higher-education institution ranked among the top 15 best places to work in Illinois by Forbes and is a national leader in many areas, including sustainability and conservation.