Aclipse Campervans, a women-owned, Cincinnati-based small business, has been named the SCORE Greater Cincinnati 2021 Client of the Year.  

Aclipse founders Emily Bruns and Sofia Mimendi were presented a $3,000 prize courtesy of Kemba Credit Union on April 19. The recognition cites their success as a small business that has embraced mentorship. Since 2019, the business has grown from renting its original “Martha Washington” van to a fleet of seven, housed in a 2,000-square-foot warehouse.

“What SCORE has been able to do is give us a bigger perspective,” Bruns said. “We didn’t have any experience prior to owning a small business and every day is like getting hit with a ton of bricks learning new things.”

Bruns and Mimendi met while training for the Flying Pig Marathon. In 2019, they put their shared love of hiking, mountain biking, travel, and other outdoor activities to work. The entrepreneurs wanted to provide a unique travel experience that caters to people who care deeply about nature but reside in urban areas. They have been working with SCORE mentors since the spring of 2020.

Three other small businesses were also recognized by SCORE Greater Cincinnati.

Bailey Family Catering was named First Runner Up in the 2021 Client of the Year competition. The company originated in 2013 when Ariston Bailey, a trained chef, catered his own wedding. When he passed away unexpectedly 10 months later, his wife DeAnna stepped up and fulfilled his scheduled events. She left a full-time job in healthcare to focus on the business. In 2017, she joined Findlay Kitchen and soon after retained a SCORE mentor. The business has found a niche in catering weddings but also serves corporate events. The Cincinnati Small Business Foundation presented Bailey with a $1,500 prize.

Heirloom Chef, owned by Jackie Djordjevic, and Dinner to Doorbells, owned by Jennifer Eisenstein, were each given honorable mention in the competition. Both businesses offer meal delivery and cater to particular diets and lifestyles. Heirloom and Dinner each received a $500 prize from Evolo Design.

“These small businesses are creating new jobs, driving innovation, and contributing to our local economy in a big way,” said Greg Bedel, chairman of SCORE Greater Cincinnati. “These entrepreneurs have all made great strides by retaining a business mentor through SCORE and following through with their guidance. Twice as many small businesses survive past five years when they have support from a mentor.”

To be considered for SCORE Client of the Year, business owners must have been in business for at least one year, embraced the SCORE process, and be an enthusiastic partner with his or her mentor.