An Orangeburg resident and hotelier has been recognized statewide for her success in small business.
Orangeburg-based Courtesy Management Chief Executive Officer Hemalata "Hema" Patel will receive the Small Business Association's South Carolina Rural Small Business Person of the Year award May 1 during a 2019 Salute to Small Business Awards Luncheon.
The luncheon will be held at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.
The award is part of 2019 National Small Business Week May 5-11.
In addition to the statewide award, Patel is also a Southeast Regional Rural Small Business award winner.
Courtesy Management is a hospitality company that manages and develops hotels in South Carolina. In Orangeburg, the company owns the Hampton Inn and Suites and is developing the Tru Hotel by Hilton on Citadel Road.
Salute to Small Business is a National Small Business Week event that is organized by the SBA South Carolina District Office, South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, SCORE, South Carolina Research Authority, Small Business Development Center and the South Carolina Department of Commerce.
“Our goal is to honor and recognize our winners for their hard work and dedication to advancing the small business community," said Gregg White, district director for the SBA South Carolina District Office.
"Most importantly, we appreciate the jobs and opportunities they continue to create for the South Carolina economy. We also value our lenders who provide the funding that is necessary for businesses to start, grow and expand."
Earlier this year, Patel was also named Orangeburg County Chamber of Commerce Small Business/Person of the Year.
Patel has grown her business over the last two decades.
One example is the 122-room, 84,000-square-foot Holiday Inn and Suites at the Columbia Airport. The hotel opened on Earth Day 2010.
It was the state's first green hotel and has received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification.
The hotel uses solar panels, tankless water heaters and reflective roofing.
Patel has managed and developed about 25 hotels over the past 30 years.
Prior to entering into the hotel business, Patel was involved in biochemical research and later had a 14-year teaching career.
She is no stranger to recognition on the state level.
In 2013, she was named the 2013 South Carolina Hotelier of the Year by the South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association.