Gulfcoast Girl Scouts Chosen as Manatee Chamber 2023 Small Business of the Year (Nonprofit)
Manatee County (FL) – The Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida, a non-profit organization of nearly 3,500 girls in grades K-12, and more than 1,500 adult members in the greater gulf coast area, was chosen as 2023 Small Business of the Year in the Non-Profit category by the Manatee Chamber of Commerce. The award was announced on June 29 at the 43rd Annual Small Business of the Year Awards, hosted by the Manatee Chamber of Commerce at the Bradenton Convention Center.
Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida was among six other organizations to be recognized as winners of the Small Business of the Year Award this year. Non-profit organizations were divided into two categories based on staff size; for-profit organizations were divided into five categories based on annual revenue.
Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida facilitates programming, service opportunities, leadership experiences, and offers the largest girl-led entrepreneurial program in the world – the Girl Scout Cookie Program. As Girl Scouts, girls also discover the fun, friendship, and power of girls together. They learn and grow in a safe, all-girl environment, which helps them discover themselves and their values, try new things and take healthy risks, connect with others to create positive relationships, and take action in their communities on issues they are passionate about.
The organization was recognized by judges for providing outstanding leadership, entrepreneurial, and educational opportunities to girls in the Manatee County area while facing various challenges during the 2022 fiscal year, including philanthropic struggles related to the COVID-19 pandemic, national supply chain issues during the 2022 Cookie Program, and damage to the organization’s properties during Hurricane Ian.
Kevin Cooper of Mote Marine presented the award. Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida “offers the largest girl-led entrepreneurial program in the world to young ladies in Manatee County, empowering these children with skills such as goal setting, decision making, and, of course, resilience — one box of cookies at a time,” he said.
Mary Anne Servian, CEO of Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida, made brief remarks as she accepted the award on behalf of the organization. She noted the Girl Scouts’ storied history in Manatee County, including the fact that the organization was founded in Manatee County over 100 years ago. She also noted that in 1953 the council acquired a 40-acre tract of land on the Braden River and established their own camp, Honi Hanta, meaning “Home on the River.” The camp is still operating to this day.
“We are proud to be part of such a diverse and spirited community," she said.
Servian also remarked that the Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida’s work of building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place is far from finished. “In fact, it is just beginning,” she said. “I am happy to say that we are looking forward to a full calendar of programs this summer and fall,” many of which will directly serve communities within Manatee County. For more information about the programs Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida has to offer, visit https://www.gsgcf.org/.