Nominees from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam will compete for the title of the National Small Business Person of the Year, SBA’s signature award. One from each will be selected. Nominees must demonstrate success in business as well as contributions to their local communities. Previous award winners include Superstition Meadery, Landmark Pest Management, Maui Brewing Company, Equator Coffee & Teas, Pacifica, and Missouri Star Quilt Company.
Who is eligible to be nominated for this award?
Nominees for this award must meet both of the following eligibility requirements.
- Any legal resident of the United States or its Territories who owns 51% of a business and operates a small business for a minimum of three years prior to being nominated may be nominated. Partners who jointly own and operate a small business may be nominated as a “team” so long as the number of individuals in the team nomination does not exceed four (4); and
- Individuals who have received at least one type of SBA assistance such as, but not limited to, an SBA loan, SCORE counseling, Small Business Development Center (SBDC) assistance, Veteran’s Business Outreach Center (VBOC) assistance, Women’s Business Center (WBC) assistance, government contracting assistance, disaster assistance, Emerging Leaders Initiative, or Boots to Business training.
Who is NOT eligible to be nominated for this award?
- Individuals who have received the Small Business Person Award at the State level within the past three years;
- Elected officials;
- Individuals or teams who own or operate a business defined as “other than small” (i.e. large businesses) for its primary industry under the applicable SBA size standards; or
- Individuals or firms who are currently suspended or debarred by the Federal government.
Who may submit nominations for this award?
- Individuals or organizations dedicated to the support of the small business community in the United States such as trade and professional associations and business organizations may submit nominations for the Small Business Person of the Year award.
- Individuals may self-nominate.
How to apply
What information must the nomination package contain?
Nominations must contain the information below. Incomplete nomination packages will not be considered.
- A completed SBA Form 3300, Award Nominee Background form. For “team” nominations, a background form is required for each team member;
- A completed Authorization, Grant & Release of Materials form. For “team” nominations, a release form is required for each team member.
- A completed SBA Form 3301, Small Business Person of the Year nomination form.
- An original 8 in. x 10 in. or 5 in. x 7 in. photo of the nominee or a digital photo – at least 300 dpi is required; photocopies are not acceptable. For “team” nominations, a photo of each nominee or group photo is acceptable; and
- Additional supporting documentation deemed significant by the nominator, including news clips, letters of recommendation, nomination letter (if not self-nominated), and other evidence of the appropriateness of the nomination. Supporting documentation may not exceed 10 pages. Videos will not be considered.
Where are the nominations to be sent?
All nominations must be submitted electronically to the upload link for the District Office where the nominee is located. Nominations should be scanned and submitted as one full document. Photo should be submitted as a separate attachment.
When is the deadline for nominations?
Nominations must be submitted by 4:00 p.m. ET on December 7, 2023.
How is the winner selected?
What are the evaluation/selection criteria?
In evaluating the nomination packages, the judges will look at the following criteria:
- Staying power — a substantiated history as an established business; including but not limited to expansion, exporting, addition of territories, or growth in square footage occupied;
- Growth in number of employees — Increases over the three years (total for the period, rather than year-over-year increases) must be in excess of growth in Gross Domestic Product as determined by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (www.bea.gov);
- Increase in sales, net profit, and net worth for the three prior calendar years, that is, 2020, 2021 and 2022;
- Response to adversity — examples of problems faced in the nominee’s business and the methods used to solve them; including any COVID-19 related issues; and
- Contributions to community-oriented projects — evidence of the use of his/her personal time and resources towards community-oriented projects.
What are the selection procedures?
Small Business Persons of the Year Award winners will be selected at the State and National levels.
- In those states served by a single SBA district office, the district office will select the State winner.
- In those states served by more than one SBA district office, each district office will select a district level winner and the State winner will be selected at the regional level. The regional office will select the State winner.
- SBA districts that serve more than one state will send their top nominee for each state for a runoff decided by the SBA regional office. The following areas are affected:
- The Washington DC Metropolitan Area District Office will select a nominee for both Northern Virginia and Suburban Maryland to compete in a runoff against the Richmond District Office and Baltimore District Office nominees, respectively. The state level winners for VA and MD will be selected by the Regional Office. Nominees who are not selected as state winners may be recognized as District-level winners.
- The Kansas City District Office will select a nominee for both Missouri and Kansas to compete in a runoff against the St. Louis District Office and Wichita District Office nominees, respectively. The state level winners for MO and KS will be selected by the Regional Office. Nominees who are not selected as state winners may be recognized as District-level winners.
- Nominees located in Washington State, Oregon, and Idaho will be judged according to their state, not their service area by SBA office. For example, nominees located in Southeast Oregon will be judged by the Portland District Office even though they may be in the Boise District Office service area.
- The National Small Business Person of the Year will be selected by the Administrator based on, but not restricted to, the recommendations of a panel of judges of federal employees.
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