Leigh Kellis, founder of The Holy Donut in Portland, has been selected as the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Maine Small Business Person of the Year.

The SBA announced its 2017 Maine Small Business Award winners Tuesday. The awards recognize outstanding small business owners throughout the state.

The Holy Donut, with two locations in Portland and one in Scarborough, specializes in potato-based doughnuts. The business also sells its doughnuts wholesale to Whole Foods and Coffee by Design. Kellis was chosen for the award based on the continued growth of her business and the contributions she has made to the local community, the SBA said.

“The story of Leigh Kellis and The Holy Donut perfectly illustrates the entrepreneurial spirit and tenacity necessary to start and grow a thriving business in Maine,” said SBA’s Maine District director, Amy Bassett, in a news release.

Kellis will compete with winners from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam for National Small Business Person of the Year during the SBA’s National Small Business Week celebration, April 30 to May 1. The announcement will be made in Washington, D.C., on May 1.

The SBA announced a total of 10 award winners in Maine, in categories including veteran-owned: Joshua Broder of Tilson Technology Management LLC of Portland; family-owned: Alison and Scott Snell of Wilson’s on Moosehead Lake of Big Moose Township; woman-owned: Pamela Laskey of Maine Foodie Tours of Portland; and minority-owned: Naima Abdirhmon of ARWO Learning Center LLC of Portland. The organization is also recognizing Small Business Exporter of the Year, James Banfield of Terra Speakers of Brunswick; Young Entrepreneurs of the Year, Devin McNeill and Charles Friedman of Flowfold of Scarborough; Home Based Business of the Year, Justin and Alisa Carney of Afterlife Affections LLC of Washburn; and Micro-Enterprise of the Year, Kate Beever of Maine Music & Health LLC of Saco.


The SBA named Ann Marie Swenson of People’s United Bank as its Maine financial services champion of the year.

J. Craig Anderson can be contacted at 791-6390 or at:


Twitter: @jcraiganderson

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