Cecilia Russo Marketing Celebrating 15th Anniversary with Three $5,000 Entrepreneur Grants for Small Business Owners

Award-winning Savannah marketing and public relations firm to support Georgia new businesses.

(SAVANNAH, Ga.) To celebrate 15 successful years in business, Cecilia Russo Marketing announces that the company is accepting applications from new business owners, start-ups and budding entrepreneurs in the State of Georgia for a $5,000 grant award, paying homage to the first payment from the first client the company ever received. Grants will be awarded to three recipients for a total of $15,000.

In 2008, Founder and CEO Cecilia Russo Turner left a stable and secure job to take on the publicity and event planning for Tour de Georgia, a U.S. professional road cycling stage race across the State of Georgia. The event took a couple of months and she was paid $5,000 for the successful completion of the project.  Russo Turner never looked back, building a successful company over the following 15 years. Since then, she has worked with countless southeast, regional, and Savannah-area businesses and philanthropic organizations, providing strategic communications, marketing, fundraising, and public relations counsel to business executives in the large private and nonprofit sectors.

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, known for his leadership as a champion of small business, congratulated Russo Turner on the announcement of the grants.  Governor Kemp established the Georgians First Commission to review state regulations, policies, and procedures to streamline government, remove inefficiencies, and secure Georgia’s place as the top state for small business in the country.

“Small businesses are the backbone of Georgia’s economy, supporting both individuals and employees while providing vital services and character to communities across our state,” said Governor Brian Kemp. “As the No. 1 state for business, Georgia has the tools for entrepreneurs to succeed, including a qualified workforce, friendly business environment, and world-class infrastructure. We are also taking steps to further support these irreplaceable job creators through measures such as the recently passed HB 128, which will open new doors for small businesses in the state procurement process, especially for minority-, women-, and veteran-owned businesses. Hardworking Georgians appreciate all our small businesses offer.”

The Cecilia Russo Marketing 15th anniversary grant program was inspired by “The Little Red Backpack Fund,” offered by Spanx, and The Spanx by Sara Blakely Foundation in the wake of COVID-19. Knowing the ripple effect that empowering women can have to strengthen communities, the foundation awarded 1,080 grants of $5,000 each to female entrepreneurs in the U.S. to help alleviate the impact of the crisis.

“I have followed Sara Blakely‘s story for as long as I have been in business, and I am constantly inspired by her work,” said Russo Turner. “She clearly grasps the magnitude of what a single thriving enterprise can do for its community – so much so that she has dedicated herself to helping others achieve prosperity, as she did! Now it’s my turn. I’m committed to doing the same for three entrepreneurs in my home state, stimulating tangible change and aiding economic development in the State of Georgia at a grass-roots level.”

Cecilia Russo Marketing is inviting those new businesses in the State of Georgia to submit a written pitch of no more than 1,000 words explaining their business and how it would benefit from a $5,000 grant and continue to propel the economic impact in our State. Nominations may be submitted online at crussomarketing.com by Sunday, October 1, 2023. For more details on selection criteria and eligibility, see the 15th Anniversary Entrepreneur Grant page on the company website.

The grant winners will be announced in November during National Entrepreneurship Month.

“I had been working in fundraising and events for decades and made many wonderful connections. When I had the opportunity to work on the Tour de Georgia, I jumped at it, threw caution to the wind and went for it,” Russo Turner said. “Through a lot of hard work, prayers, and surrounding myself with the right people, I’ve seen my business grow more than I could have ever imagined. It feels good to celebrate this milestone by paying it forward to a business in the same situation I was in when I started.”

That sentiment is echoed by the agency’s Managing Partner, Cynthia Cradduck, who joined Russo Turner’s firm as an intern in 2014.

“Cecilia is a remarkable leader who didn’t set out to be one, and the results speak for themselves. Her philosophy is simple yet effective – setting a good example by doing the right thing consistently inspires admiration, loyalty, and respect among others. What began as a chance to make a difference is now an opportunity for others to see what can be accomplished with hard work and determination. We couldn’t be more thrilled to help another company in similar circumstances as in 2008 – when Cecilia’s journey first began.” Cradduck said.

Russo Turner was recognized as the Volunteer of the Year by Junior Achievement of Savannah in 2013 and named Entrepreneur of the Year by the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce in 2018. She is a 2016 graduate of Leadership Southeast Georgia and a proud alumna of St. Vincent’s Academy and the University of Georgia.

Most recently, Russo Turner served as the 2021-2022 Campaign Chair for the United Way of the Coastal Empire, raising a record-breaking $13.1 million in and through the organization and impacting more than 206,000 people through their agencies and programs.

Based in Savannah, Ga., Cecilia Russo Marketing is a boutique agency delivering trusted and successful results since its founding in 2008. Owner and President Cecilia Russo Turner is a native of Savannah and uniquely understands the local and regional trends of brand-building strategies and reputation management while leveraging traditional and social platforms to engage with key publics and consistently exceed client expectations. For more information, call 912-665-0005 or visit ceciliarussomarketing.com.