Have you ever thought of entering to win a small business award? It may not be top of mind as you run your day-to-day business operations, plan out your marketing strategy, field customer service questions, and try to turn a profit. But winning an award can help your business stand out in new ways: it gives you an instant credibility boost, creates excitement, and helps you generate some positive PR. We think that’s worth an entry!

It’s time to rev up your competitive spirit and get your business name out there. Here are 6 major small business awards waiting for you to win them, in order of entry deadlines for 2022:

National Small Business Week Awards

Organized by the U.S. Small Business Administration, the National Small Business Week awards honor entrepreneurs and small business owners who are creating jobs, driving innovation, and contributing to the nation’s global competitiveness.

  • Award categories: Small Business Person of the Year, Exporter of the Year, Phoenix Awards for Disaster Recovery, Federal Procurement Awards, Awards for SBA Resource Partners, Small Business Investment Company of the Year, and a District Office Award
  • When to apply: By January 11, 2022
  • Website: https://www.sba.gov/national-small-business-week/awards

The Stevie Awards: American Business Awards

The American Business Awards recognize excellence across a variety of categories, including public relations, customer service, new products, and more. There are hundreds of specific award categories that you can submit an entry for, so look for those that highlight what your business does best. Note that the Stevie Awards also has separate awards programs for Great Employers, Sales & Customer Service, and Women in Business

EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award

This global awards program honors dynamic and visionary entrepreneurs across nearly 60 different countries, with regional winners going on to compete for the coveted “Entrepreneur of the Year” award. The award is open to businesses that have been in operation for over two years.

Best in Biz Awards

These independent business awards are judged by distinguished members of the press, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, and Forbes. U.S. and Canada-based businesses are eligible to apply.

  • Award categories: Awards across 100 categories, including Best Place to Work, Most Customer Friendly Company, Most Innovative Company, and more.
  • When to apply: May 2, 2022 – July 29, 2022
  • Website: https://www.bestinbizawards.com/

Dream Big Awards

The US Chamber of Commerce highlights U.S. small businesses that are doing good in their communities, with a $25,000 grand prize for the winners. To be eligible, businesses should have fewer than 250 employees and gross revenues less than $20 million.

  • Award categories: Emerging Business, Minority-Owned Business, Veteran-Owned Business, Woman-Owned Business, Young Entrepreneur Business, LGBTQ-Owned Business, Community Support and Leadership Award
  • When to apply: By June or July of 2022 (sign up on the website for further details).
  • Website: https://dev.uschamber.com/major-initiative/dream-big-awards

BIG Awards for Business 

The BIG Awards for Business, organized by the Business Intelligence Group, is an open source awards program highlighting the companies, people, and products that are making an impact. (It’s also worth noting that the Business Intelligence Group also has other awards programs that highlight themes like Public Relations and Marketing, Sustainability, Excellence in Customer Service, Best Places to Work, and Big Innovation Awards).

  • Award categories: Start-up of the Year, Small Business of the Year, Company of the Year, Green Company, New Product of the Year, Product of the Year, Green Product of the Year, Case Study of the Year, Small Business Executive of the Year, Executive of the Year, Woman of the Year, Entrepreneur Award
  • When to apply: By October 14, 2022
  • Website: https://www.bintelligence.com/big-awards-for-business

By Going for a Small Business Award, You’re a Winner Already

Winning a prestigious small business award can give an amazing boost of credibility, energy, and excitement to your business, but you don’t need a grand prize to be a winner. Often, just the act of submitting an entry for a small business award can nudge you to see just how great your business is already. 

First, the process of applying for a small business award shows your employees that you think their work is excellent enough to deserve recognition. It also gives you a different perspective on your business, which you may see differently after collecting stories for the award entry. These insights into what makes your business special can then also be used in your marketing materials and campaigns. 

Finally, applying for a small business award is an inspirational and exciting process. Even if you aren’t one of the winners, you’ll understand what it takes to become one—and that knowledge can propel you to improve your business in fresh ways you may not have considered before. That’s a win in our book!

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