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They say a journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step, and this applies as much to dividends as it does to...well, journeys.

Every dividend aristrocrat had to start somewhere, paying a humble dividend to loyal shareholders. And though 2011 will not be remembered as a fantastic year for the stock market, the economy or politics, it was a good enough year for a small group of companies to pay their first dividend.

These 5 companies paid their first dividends in 2011, and hopefully, will continue to increase them in the future.

Escalade, Inc. (NASDAQ:ESCA)

Escalade, Inc., is engaged in the manufacture and sale of sporting goods and office products. The company declared it's dividend on August 15, 2011, with this press release.

The $0.25 quarterly dividend is an annual payout of $1.00, and at the current price of $5.21, the stock yields 19.2%

Kingstone Companies, Inc. (NASDAQ:KINS)

Kingstone Companies, Inc. formerly DCAP Group, Inc., offers property and casualty insurance products to small businesses and individuals in New York State through its subsidiary, Kingstone Insurance Company.

The company announced its dividend with its second quarter results, on August 11 of this year. The $0.03 quarterly payout is equal to $0.12 a year, and at the current price of $3.20 the stock yields 3.8%

DSW Inc. (NYSE:DSW)

DSW Inc. is a United States branded footwear specialty retailer. DSW manages its operations in three operating segments: DSW stores, dsw.com and leased departments.

On August 10 of this year, DSW declared a quarterly dividend of $0.15 a share, or annual payout of $0.60. In addition, the board authorized a special, one time $2.00 dividend to be paid with quarterly payout on September 15. At the current price of $53.03, the stock yields 1.1%

Allied Motion Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ:AMOT)

Allied Motion Technologies Inc. is engaged in the business of designing, manufacturing and selling motor, servo motion and optical encoder products to customers worldwide.

The company declared the $0.02 dividend here on Aug. 4, 2011. At the current price of $5.75, the stock yields 1.4%

Amgen, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN)

Amgen Inc. is an independent biotechnology medicines company. Amgen discovers, develops, manufactures and markets medicines for illnesses.

The company declared awhile ago its intention to be the first biotech dividend payer, and announced the $0.28 a share quarterly dividend with its second quarter earnings release. At the current price of $55.17, the stock yields 2%.

This list provides general information, not individually targeted personalized advice. Investors should assess for themselves whether the advice is appropriate to their individual investment objectives, financial situation and particular needs before making any investment decision.

Source: 5 Companies Paying Their First Dividend In 2011