Brandon Kirk, the owner of Colorado Springs-based Hydro Clean Carpet Cleaning and Planet Duct, was named 2021 Small Business Person of the Year on Thursday as part of the area's ninth annual Small Business Week Awards.

The awards, presented by U.S. Bank in an event co-hosted by the Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado and the Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center, recognized the work and community involvement of several small businesses.

Ninety percent of the BBB's accredited businesses have 20 employees or less, while the Small Business Development Center works with and supports business with 35 employees or less.

Small businesses create nearly two-thirds of new private sectors jobs, Jonathan Liebert, CEO and executive director of BBB of Southern Colorado, said in a news release.

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As a result, "it's imperative that we continue to support and encourage small business owners," he said.

Aikta Marcoulier, executive director for the Small Business Development Center, called small businesses "the heart of Colorado" and said they "create culture, innovate and add vitality to the region."

In the annual Small Business Week event, businesses were given an opportunity to compete in five award categories; specific criteria were required to be met to be considered as an honoree in each category.

Kirk, of Hydro Clean, is a former defense contractor and firearms instructor who has owned several businesses, according to his company's website.

He's involved in several networking organizations, has mentored other business owners and speaks at area high schools about entrepreneurship and goal setting, the website said.

Other local 2021 Small Business Week award winners were:

• Small Business Champion of the Year: Jessica Fierro, owner and head brewer of the Atrevida Beer Co.

• Young Entrepreneur of the Year: Lauren McKenzie owner of REN Creativ, a design, photography and digital media studio.

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• Veteran Small Business Owner of the Year: Dr. Charles Weber, a board certified psychiatrist and addictionologist and CEO and chief marketing officer of the Family Care Center.

• Family Owned Small Business of the Year: Andrew Graff of Luisa Graff Jewelers, a longtime jewelry retailer.

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