Looking for a way to help your business stand out, gain credibility, and generate positive PR? Winning a business award is a great way to do just that. Whether you have a small budget and are looking for awards programs that have free submissions, or you have a budget and are willing to pay to enter there are many options to choose from. Below you will find 5 annual small business awards that you can apply for and win now.

Best in Biz Awards


The Best in Biz Awards are the only independent business awards program that are judged by prominent members of the press. Judges include people from the Associated Press, the New York Times, and Wired. Applications are accepted until November each year and are open to companies from the United States and Canada. Businesses can submit applications for multiple categories, however, there is a cost to the business for each submission. To apply for the Best in Biz Awards, click here. To see the categories awards are given and view who the past winners have been click here.

Dream Big Awards


The US Chamber of Commerce partners with Chase for Business to recognize the best American small businesses. The Dream Big Awards honors the achievements of American small businesses and the contributions they make to their country’s economic growth. Award categories include small business of the year award, emerging business achievement award, sustainable business achievement award, minority-owned business achievement award, veteran-owned business achievement award, women-owned business achievement award, and the young entrepreneur achievement award. To be eligible, a business must be for-profit and operate in the United States, have less than 250 employees or a gross revenue less than $20 million, and provide in kind and/or financial support to their community. The winner of the Dream Big Small Business of the Year Award receives a $25,000 cash prize, a one-year paid membership to the US Chamber of Commerce, a promo video played at the Dream Big Gala, and a web sticker to display on their website.

While the 2020 winners have already been selected, you can get more information about the 2021 awards by signing up for their email list here.

The Stevie Award


The Stevie awards are the world’s premier business awards and were created to recognize and generate public awareness of excellence in the workplace worldwide. Every year the American Business Awards gives out The Stevie Award in various categories such as management, public relations, new products, marketing customer service, and more across eight different competitions. While many of the categories  require an entry fee, not all categories do. If you are on a budget, review the entry fee page here to see if you could enter in any of the free or lower cost categories. If you are interested in applying for a Stevie Award, entries for the 2021 American Business awards are now being accepted and are accepted through March 10, 2021. To enter, click here and request your 2021 entry kit. If you have additional questions, go to the frequently asked questions page which can be found here.

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Best of Small Business Awards


The Best of Small Business Awards is the largest annual business recognition program and “America’s most prestigious honor” that celebrates small to mid-sized businesses. There are twenty-six “Best of Small Business” categories to choose from including entrepreneur of the year, best customer service, best small business of the year, best business coach, and best start-up of the year. Nominations are accepted until October 22, 2021, and public voting begins on November 12, 2021. Winners of the 2021 Best of Small Business Awards will be announced in late December 2021. Click here to nominate your business for the Best of Small Business Awards today.

EY Entrepreneur of the Year


The EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award is a unique and global program with the goal of supporting entrepreneurs by recognizing their achievement among individuals and companies that demonstrate vision, leadership, and success. The program has been in existence for over 30 years and operates in more than 60 countries around the world. Each year, regional winners are announced and then compete for the coveted spot of Entrepreneur of the Year. There is no cost to submit a nomination, however, businesses should be in existence for at least two years to be considered for this award. To learn more about this award go to the frequently asked sections page here. Click here to nominate your business for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year award.

While winning a business award can do amazing things to build the credibility of your business, the simple act of submitting an entry for an award can benefit your business as well. Working through the nomination form can help show your employees that you value the work they are doing and think the work they are doing is award-worthy. Additionally, collecting the stories required for the award entry can help you reflect on your business and put together stories that can be leveraged for marketing materials. Even if you don’t win the award, you can be armed with a deeper understanding of what it would take to win an award that can help you do better if you choose to enter to win an award in the future. All in all, the process can be inspirational and give you something to work and strive for.

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