Iowa SBA Minority Small Business Champion of the Year
Taufeek Shah, CEO, Lola’s Fine Sauces, Inc.
Taufeek Shah was working in corporate finance back in 2015 when he brought his mother’s hot sauce in for a company food day and was told by his co-workers it was the best hot sauce they’d ever had. Shah’s mother, Carmelita “Lola” Shah, entrusted her secret hot sauce recipe to him and Shah rented out a commercial kitchen to begin making Lola’s Fine Hot Sauce and selling it in local markets. Today, Lola’s Fine Hot Sauces, as well as other Lola’s branded products, can be found in over 10,000 retailers and restaurants throughout North America.
In addition to being a successful minority entrepreneur, Shah works hard to create opportunities for other minority-owned small business owners. Lola’s products are not only found in several major retailers, but Shah also works with those retailers to help create additional opportunities for minority entrepreneurs. He contributes his time to Hy-Vee’s supplier diversity team to assist more minority-owned small businesses in getting their products into the store. He is also active in promoting diversity and inclusion as Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) speaker for other retailers such as Walmart, Meijer and RangeMe.
More locally, Shah serves on the DMACC Foundation, where he works to help students achieve their entrepreneurial dreams through scholarships, mentorships and by helping to create networking opportunities. He also serves on the board of the Iowa Center for Economic Success where he works to assist small business owners, especially minority entrepreneurs, to start, grow and expand their businesses. Shah has also volunteered his time to speak to organizations throughout the state, such as the Greater Des Moines Partnership, the Iowa Grocers Association, and the Iowa Restaurant Association, to help support minority business ownership.
Shah was nominated for this award by T.J. Daniels, Director of the Iowa Women’s Business Center.
“We are proud to recognize Tricia, John and Taufeek as the recipients of this year’s Champion awards,” said Jayne Armstrong, district director of SBA’s Iowa District Office. “Iowa small businesses are fortunate to have such outstanding advocates championing their cause.”
2023 Iowa Small Business Champion of the Year awards
In recognition of the small business community’s contributions to the American economy and society, the President of the United States designates one week each year as National Small Business Week to honor the more than 31 million small businesses in America. Scheduled for April 30th through May 6th this year, the highlight of this annual tradition is the presentation of awards which focus on the outstanding contributions of small business owners and champions at the state and national levels.
About the U.S. Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start and grow their businesses. It delivers services to people through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.