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LABJ Insider: Top Small Businesses – Los Angeles Business Journal

Seven Los Angeles companies last week were named as part of the “America’s Top Small Business” awards program by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. They are: Postal Petals, Mirate and Leaf Energy Inc. in Los Angeles; Twelve AM Co. in Studio City; The Studio (MDR) in Manhattan Beach; BenjiLock in Pasadena; and Torrance Bakery in Torrance.

In all, the chamber selected 70 small businesses nationwide from more than 15,000 applications. The honorees were evaluated on their business growth, ability to overcome challenges, innovative strategies for success and community engagement. They will compete for one of seven finalist spots.

The top 70 and seven finalists will be celebrated at an event in Washington on Oct. 19, at which time the winner will be announced.

“Small businesses embody the resilience and innovation that define America’s free enterprise system,” said the chamber’s president and chief executive, Suzanne P. Clark. “As a former small-business owner, I know firsthand there is no challenge greater and no reward sweeter than starting a business.”

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Hanmi Bank’s Bonnie Lee last week was named to American Banker’s list of 25 of the “Most Powerful Women to Watch.” She became the first female chief executive of Hanmi Financial Corp. in 2019; Hanmi is the second-largest Korean American bank in the United States. 

She has focused on capturing market share of the growing roster of U.S.-based subsidiaries of large Korean companies. “Korean companies are so broad-based now: entertainment, education, K-beauty, even some of the real estate investments that they made,” she was quoted as saying in the American Banker article. “They’re mostly continuing or going into mainstream U.S. businesses and industries.”

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Los Angeles does not show up much on lists of America’s youngest billionaires or women billionaires, but once again L.A. folks dominate the list of oldest billionaires.

Charles Munger

As you can see in the Wealthiest Angelenos special report in this issue, three very old billionaires live here. They are George Joseph, 102, with $2.2 billion; David Murdock, 100, with $2.3 billion, and Charles Munger, 99, with $3.1 billion. They are the three oldest billionaires in America. 

And they dominate the list of the oldest billionaires in the world. Only Robert Kuok, who will be 100 on Oct. 6 and who lives in Hong Kong, edges out Munger for the No. 3 spot. Kuok, according to Forbes in April, made his $11.8 billion in palm oil, shipping and property in Malaysia. 

The Insider is compiled by Editor-in-Chief Charles Crumpley. He can be reached at ccrumpley@labusinessjournal.com.

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