Jax State’s Grissom Named Small Business Advocate of the Year


Ken GrissomJacksonville State University (Jax State) Small Business Development Center Director Ken Grissom has been honored as the Small Business Advocate of the Year by the Calhoun County Area Chamber and Visitors Center. He received the award on June 6 at the organization’s annual Small Business Awards, which were held at the Longleaf Botanical Gardens.

The Small Business Advocate of the Year Award recognizes an individual or a group that provides assistance and support to businesses and entrepreneurs, while striving to champion and promote businesses for the success and growth of the community.

The Small Business Development Center advises small businesses in matters such as legal start-up steps, market research, business planning and capital access. In 2023, the center assisted in the creation of 27 new businesses, established 113 jobs and generated 4.1 million in capital within the region it serves.

“The center is appreciative of the support and infrastructure from Jax State that places us in opportunities to help people reach their goals,” Grissom said in his acceptance speech. “The center is able to promote all things Jax State throughout its 10-county region. We truly do strive to help people each and every day. We are blessed and have a great support system at Jax State, and for that I’m thankful.”

Grissom, a member of the Jax State team since 2011, used his business background to bring first-hand knowledge to those he counsels. He has many years of experience in the restaurant industry and in commercial development, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and a Master’s in Business Administration from Jax State.

He was recognized in 2012 by the Alabama Small Business Development Center (ASBDC) for assisting the most businesses created in the state during that year and was awarded the ASBDC State Star in 2013 for his contributions to the small business community. Grissom is a VA-certified CVE Verification Counselor, Alabama SBDC Network Certified Business Advisor, and a Certified Procurement and Technical Assistance Counselor.

Grissom is a charter member of the Board of Directors for the Calhoun County Sports Hall of Fame and has served as the board’s president since 2019. He also acted as a team captain for Relay for Life and currently serves on the Piedmont Historical Society Board of Directors. Ken and his wife, Julia, reside in Jacksonville and have been married for 41 years. Their family of nine consists of two sons, two daughters-in-law and three wonderful grandsons.