SBA District Director Amy Bassett (left) and SBA Regional Administrator Wendell Davis (right) present Karen Gellis with the U.S. Small Business Administration 2020 Women Owned Business of the Year for  Maine at SwimLids in Saco.  Courtesy Photo

AUGUSTA — Karen Gellis, owner of SwimLids, LLC in Saco, has been selected the recipient of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2020 Woman Owned Small Business of the Year Award for Maine.

SwimLids produces hats and apparel designed to protect against sun exposure, particularly for young children.

“Women entrepreneurs are the fasted growing segment of small business ownership. Building a business using the skills and connections gained from personal experience and a previous position is a familiar path for many entrepreneurs,” said Amy Bassett, SBA district director for Maine. “Karen is a serial entrepreneur and uses inspiration and creativity to produce products that improve the lives of her customers. She worked hard to scale her operation and will undoubtedly continue on to even greater success.”

Gellis began the business in 2014, using previous experience in apparel companies to get started. When the business began to grow, she was able to secure an SBA-backed loan from Biddeford Savings Bank, now a division of Maine Community Bank, to finance operating expenses and fund costs for large orders.

Gellis was nominated for this award by Cindy Convery, a commercial lender with Maine Community Bank.

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