Keene Perspectives owners awarded VT Small Business Persons of the Year

Vermont Business Magazine VermontBiz The owners of Keene Perspectives in Hartford are the 2023 Vermont Small Business Persons of the Year. Chris and Cortney Keene are recognized by the US Small Business Administration for their company’s employment growth, expansion, and community-oriented mission.

"We are in complete shock to be totally honest. We're so proud of the recognition this brings to our amazing team full of passionate and dedicated professionals and to the larger field of behavior analysis. This wouldn't be remotely possible without their tremendous efforts. We're also so thankful for all of the families, school teams, and our local community for putting their trust in us every day,” said Cortney and Chris Keene.

Keene Perspectives is a center-based business model providing early intervention services based on the principles of applied behavior analysis for children with autism and other neurodiverse profiles. They also offer caregiver coaching and school-based consultation and training.

The couple had a dream of opening their own clinic, where they could draw from their combined experience and knowledge to provide individualized intervention for children and families. Cortney Keene taught special education and consulted with Vermont schools for 13 years and Chris Keene earned his PhD in Behavioral Neuroscience from Dartmouth College while conducting learning and memory research. Chris and Cortney are both Nationally Board Certified Behavior Analysts and Vermont State licensed Behavior Analysts.

The couple opened Keene Perspectives in 2018 with the assistance of the Vermont Small Business Development Center. The business has had a variety of SBA support including the VtSBDC, a 7a startup loan and Paycheck Protection Program loans. In 2021, Cortney Keene graduated from Emerging Leaders, a seven-month SBA sponsored class where she learned to create a three-year strategic plan.

Since 2019, revenue has exceeded $1 million annually and they currently have 21 employees. In the Winter of 2023, Keene Perspectives expanded their clinical services to an additional building across from its main building, into a space with adaptable classrooms and a playground to best support communication and play opportunities for their learners.

“Over the past two years, America has had a record-breaking 10.5 million people apply to start businesses nationally and 332,000 across New England. I’m thrilled to recognize the strong, resilient, and innovative small business award winners leading the way from across Vermont,” said Mike Vlacich, SBA New England Regional Administrator. “Small businesses like these are the reason we are emerging from the pandemic stronger. I congratulate them on their achievements and their role in creating jobs and powering our nation’s historic economic comeback. “

In 2023, the SBA is awarding seven businesses in other categories.

- Advanced Conversion in Barre is the Exporter of the Year

- Junapr in Charlotte is the Woman-Owned Business of the Year

- Parro's Gun Shop in Waterbury is the Veteran-Owned Business of the Year

- Boston Tailoring & Cleaners in St. Albans is the Family-Owned Business of the Year

- CQ Strategies in Burlington is the Minority-Owned Business of the Year

- Lex Osler of QOR360 in Burlington is the Young Entrepreneur of the Year

- Vermont Gatherings in Essex Junction is the Microenterprise of the Year

The Keenes and the other Vermont small business winners will receive their awards during the 2023 Vermont Small Business Awards Ceremony co hosted with Vermont Business Magazine slated for June 15. The ceremony is open to the public and registration will be available in May.

For 60 years, the President of the United States has issued a proclamation announcing National Small Business Week recognizing the critical contributions of America’s small business owners. As part of National Small Business Week, the SBA takes the opportunity to highlight the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs, small business owners and others from all 50 states and U.S. territories.

About the U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration is an agency for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government. The SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit