WASHINGTON – This week Framingham-based Staples honored Sen. John Kerry with their Small Business Champion of the Year award for his 23 years of service in the U.S. Senate on behalf of America's 27 million small business owners and Massachusetts' 650,000 small businesses. Kerry is the Chairman of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

“I'm deeply honored to receive this award from Staples. I'm working everyday in Washington to do just what we ought to do – level the playing field for small businesses and foster innovation and entrepreneurship from Brighton to Boston and from Salem to Springfield,” said Kerry. “Staples is a tremendous small business success story, demonstrating the power of a public-private partnership that uses a federal small business financing program to bolster the good idea and hard work of an entrepreneur.”

Staples, which began as a start-up in Brighton, Massachusetts in 1986 with 42 employees, used the Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) program managed by the Small Business Administration to fund its initial expansion. That investment helped spur Staples’ growth to become one of the largest office products suppliers in the world.

Kerry was recognized for his leadership efforts to get several small business initiatives signed into law last year, including legislation to increase funding for core small business programs, expand energy efficiency resources, secure permanent funding for successful Women's Business Centers like the Center for Women and Enterprise in Boston and Worcester, increase funding for small firms to develop military projects, and restore transparency to the Transportation Security Administration's contracting process.

Presenting the award on behalf of Staples was Mike Miles, company President & Chief Operating Officer.

This year, Kerry will continue to work on behalf of Massachusetts small businesses and entrepreneurs around the country by fighting to reduce health care costs, increase access to capital, foster green technologies and boost energy efficiency, and expand access to federal contracts – especially for underserved communities including women, minorities and veterans.