In selecting Stockbridge, BusinessWeek focused on her compelling story: She wrote her business plan while in college and launched the firm right after graduation; changed the company's focus on the fly to reflect market conditions, and saw sharp increases in customers and revenue as a result. More than 600 entrepreneurs were considered for the recognition, before Stockbridge and 24 other finalists were selected, contest organizers said.
The success that iBec Creative has found is rare for young entrepreneurs in today's economy, when many seasoned workers with a lot of experience, skills, capital and contacts are setting up businesses, BusinessWeek said.
"To be identified as one of the top young entrepreneurs in the country is such an honor," said Stockbridge, who is 25. "Sometimes, you get so focused on the work itself and making sure that you are helping clients that you forget just how far the business has come."
The BusinessWeek recognition arrives at a time of growth for iBec Creative. The firm moved into new offices in the heart of Portland's Old Port commercial district this summer; recently completed its 100th website; has added staff to its virtual work team, and served more than 160 clients.
Stockbridge's company helps clients with a range of marketing and design needs, ranging from logo creation and product labels to website design and search engine optimization. Her dual background in art and business helps Stockbridge identify fresh solutions that are both functional and attractive.
"It's really exciting for me when I realize that I can help someone and make a difference for them," Stockbridge said. "Our enthusiasm has been a big part of iBec's success. Clients recognize how much we care about doing a good job for them."
Early in its development, iBec Creative participated in the Maine Center for Enterprise Development incubator program and also received a start-up grant from the Libra Future Fund, which provides financial assistance to promising young people who establish businesses in Maine.
Steve Bazinet, president and executive director of the Maine Center for Enterprise Development, said that the BusinessWeek recognition is significant not only for iBec Creative, but also for other business owners statewide.
"This draws attention to Maine entrepreneurs. It may give people in other states pause and help them recognize there are some creative entrepreneurs in Maine doing exciting things," Bazinet said. "We're putting Maine entrepreneurs onto the map."
BusinessWeek is asking its online readers to vote for their choice of America's Best Young Entrepreneur 2009 at http://bit.ly/13gLEf. Balloting closes November 2, with results being published November 9.
The write-up on iBec can be seen here: http://images.businessweek.com/ss/09/10/1009_entrepreneurs_25_and_under/12.htm
Established in 2006 by founder and president Becky Stockbridge, iBec Creative is a leading provider of website and traditional design services based in Portland, Maine. iBec Creative brings fresh ideas and an intuitive understanding of technology to its work of creating appealing websites and building online marketing campaigns. It's an enthusiastic partner with clients in creating branding and marketing solutions, whether that is a new logo or creative sales materials. For more information, go online to iBecCreative.com or call (207) 221‑0790.