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Salt Lake City-based Cuisine Unlimited Catering & Special Events was named Tuesday as a Blue Ribbon Small Business Award winner by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

That makes the company that recently announced plans to organize a U.S. pavilion at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games, eligible to become one of seven regional finalists in the prestigious awards program.

"We are so honored to be recognized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce," said Maxine Turner, president of Cuisine Unlimited, which was the only Utah company honored. "It is never about an individual, but always about our Cuisine Unlimited group of professionals who love what they do and take pride in their work. We have never set our goal to be the largest catering company but strive to always be the best."

According to a chamber of commerce press release, the annual program recognizes companies for their dedication to the principles of free enterprise and contributions to restoring jobs and supporting economic growth.

Applicants were judged for demonstrating exceptional business practices in areas including strategic planning, employee development, community involvement and customer service.

"As the business community has worked hard to do its part in moving the country forward economically, small businesses have continued to be the driving force responsible for much of our progress," U.S. Chamber President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue said. "Our Blue Ribbon Award winners are the best of the best, growing and succeeding despite significant challenges."

The seven regional finalists will be announced March 19. All of the Blue Ribbon Small Business Award winners will be honored at the 10th annual America's Small Business Summit that takes place June 11. One regional finalist will receive a $10,000 cash prize as the Dream Big Small Business of the Year.

"The Chamber is proud to honor these outstanding small businesses for their contributions to the country's economic recovery and continued hard work in their communities," said Donohue, who heads the world's largest business federation that represents the interests of more than 3 million businesses. "They represent the creativity, the determination and the resilience of the U.S. business community."

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