Business Awards

Honoring KC Companies Achieving Excellence

One of our favorite things to do at the KC Chamber is give regional businesses the public kudos, recognition and encouragement that they deserve. We do this every year for amazing small businesses, companies that serve as role models in diversity and inclusion, and businesses that are going the extra mile to create a healthy workplace.

Small Business Celebration

The KC Chamber Small Business Celebration has been a business community mainstay for more than 30 years. It’s recognized as one of the largest Chamber small business celebrations in the United States. Our Celebration is a series of events where people and companies show support for the small business community within the Kansas City region, resulting in a highly competitive selection of Top 10 Small Businesses. One of these Top 10 companies is judged to be Small Business of the Year and receives the coveted Mr. K Award, named for Ewing Kauffman, entrepreneur and philanthropist, at the Small Business Awards Luncheon. To be named Small Business of the Year signifies that a company that has shown growth or sustainability of their business with strong employee relations and a record of giving back to the community.

KC Chamber Small Business Awards
KC Chamber Small Business Awards
Small Business Awards

Awards Presented

  • The KC Chamber Small Business of the Year
  • The KC Chamber Mr. K Award
  • The KC Chamber Diverse Small Business of the Year
  • The KC Chamber Entrepreneur Award
  • The KC Chamber International Business of the Year
  • The KC Chamber Legacy Award

Small Business Celebration Events

  • March 27, 2019 - Candidates’ Showcase in Sprint Festival Plaza at Union Station, presented by Bank Midwest
  • May 2, 2019 – Small Business Think Tank Breakfast featuring CEOs of the Top 10 Small Businesses, presented by Commerce Bank
  • May 23, 2019 – Small Business Awards Luncheon, presented by Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

2018 Small Business Award Winners

Blue Nile Contractors, Inc.

Charlie Hustle

IXT

Orbis Biosciences

Pro Athlete

Royal Services

Swim Zip

Veracity Consulting, Inc.

Wellington

Lead Bank

2018 Small Business of the Year and Mr. K Award

The KC Chamber’s annual Small Business Celebration came to its conclusion in 2018 with the announcement of Lead Bank as Small Business of the Year. CEO Josh Rowland was presented with the Mr. K Award, named after iconic KC entrepreneur Ewing Kauffman.
 
As a community bank founded more than 90 years ago, Lead Bank today serves a diverse clientele – rural, suburban, and urban, with its three branches located in Garden City, Lee’s Summit, and in the heart of Kansas City’s Crossroads District, working to make the bank an integral part of each community.
 
Its Crossroads location, for example, offers office space and mentoring for Launch KC entrepreneurs, a pop-up retail space highlighting a local business, developed an Impact Calculator to help businesses determine their effect on their community, and is one of the few banks to provide credit to startups and venture capital firms.
 
The bank partnered with the City of Kansas City, MO, in the “For Change” initiative, solving an unmet need for city contractors by providing special financing options, working with MBE, WBE, and DBE firms to help them grow. That led to Lead Bank’s recent selection by KCI developer Edgemoor as the bank to provide low-interest loans to MBE and WBE companies. Those loans will fill the gap between when the companies finish and payment for those projects is made – a great help to small businesses with limited financial means.

Josh Rowland Mr. K
KC Chamber Small Business Awards

Apply for the 2019 Small Business Celebration

Apply for one of our 2019 Small Business of the Year awards and the opportunity to become one of the KC Chamber's Top 10 Small Businesses.

Application Deadline

  • The deadline for applications is February 8.
  • The year’s Top 10 Small Businesses will be named in April of 2019. 

Questions?

If you have questions email hammersmith@kcchamber.com

2018 Diverse Small Business Award:  Veracity Consulting

This award is geared towards certified Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), Woman-owned Business Enterprise (WBE), Veteran-owned Business, LGBT or Service Disabled Veteran owned Small Business.

Veracity Consulting's primary mission is app development for minority and women owned small businesses. The firm is a certified minority-, woman-, and LGBT-owned business. They take the time to support and educate their employees and to advocate in the community about the importance of having a diverse and inclusive culture.

Veracity

2018 Entrepreneur Award:  Chicken 'N' Pickle

This award recognizes a company that is less than three years old and demonstrates a high level of entrepreneurial spirit, leadership, perseverance, innovation and determination. 

The idea for this company was first conceived in the Grand Cayman Islands over cold beer and jerk chicken. They’ve set a new standard for the active entertainment restaurant experience – a restaurant, concert venue, competitive sport environment, and corporate retreat venue.

Chicken & Pickle

2018 International Small Business Award: Orbis Biosciences

This award will go to a small business that recognizes the importance of entering the international marketplace and succeeds in creating a global footprint for our region.

Orbis boasts international clients in the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, India, Europe, Israel, Jordan, and Korea. Within the next ten years, Orbis plans to make their way into additional foreign markets in Africa and Asia.

Orbis Biosciences

2018 Legacy of Kansas City Award:  The Robert E. Miller Group

The Legacy of Kansas City Award honors longevity of 15 years or more in business within the KC region, with a proven record of providing quality products and/or services in the greater Kansas City metro. 

This 57-year-old, family-owned company opened their first office on the ground floor of an old two-story home. As of last year, they are one of the top12 largest independent insurance brokerage firms in Kansas City.

Robert E. Miller Group

Learn more about all of our 2018 award winning companies from the June 2018 issue of GROW KC

Past Award Winners

Past Mr. K Award Winners

This award goes to a company that has shown growth or sustainability of their business with strong employee relations and a record of giving back to the community. 

  • Alpha Energy & Electric - 2017
  • k12itc - 2016
  • BNIM - 2015
  • Bishop McCann - 2014
  • Copaken Brooks - 2013
  • Boulevard Brewing Company - 2012
  • SFP - 2011
  • Athletic Rehabilitation Center (now ARC Physical Therapy⌿) - 2010
  • Kansas City Internal Medicine - 2009
  • SunlightenTM (formerly Sunlight Saunas™) - 2008
  • ViraCor - 2007
  • Hoefer Wysocki Architects - 2006
  • S&M NuTec, LLC - 2005
  • LaserCycle InkCycle, Inc. - 2004
  • Datacore Marketing - 2003
  • Strickland Construction - 2002
  • CommuniTech.Net - 2001
  • SKC Communication Products Inc. - 2000
  • Missouri Bank & Trust Company of Kansas City - 1999
  • Marketing Associates International - 1998
  • Gould Evans Affiliates - 1997
  • Worth Harley-Davidson - 1996
  • Robert D. O’Byrne & Associates Inc. (now CBIZ) - 1995
  • Phelps Tool & Die Co., Inc. - 1994
  • Bagel & Bagel Inc. (now Einstein Bros. Bagels) - 1993
  • OTR Express Inc. - 1992
  • Big Bob’s Used Carpet Shops of America Inc. (now Big Bob's Outlet) - 1991
  • PB&J Corporation - 1990
  • Kansas City Valve & Fitting Co. - 1989
  • Cerner Corporation - 1988
  • Nicholson Kovac - 1987
  • Blankinship Distributors Inc. - 1987

Past Small Business Award Winners

In addition to the Small Business of the Year Award, the KC Chamber now presents four additional awards for small business excellence. These awards are announced at the conclusion of the Small Business Celebration, the KC Chamber’s Small Business Awards Luncheon, each May.

Criteria for each award:

Legacy of Kansas City Award: This award is directed towards honoring longevity, quality products and/or services, and community service in small businesses more than 15 years old in the Kansas City region.

Diverse Small Business of the Year: This award is geared towards small businesses that are minority-owned, woman-owned, veteran-owned, service disabled veteran-owned, or LGBT-owned that have demonstrated vision, leadership, and courage by achieving business success while overcoming obstacles and maintaining a strong sense of service for the community.

Entrepreneur Award: This award recognizes a company that is less than three years old and demonstrates a high level of entrepreneurial spirit, leadership, perseverance, innovation and determination.

International Award: This award will go to a small business that recognizes the importance of entering the international marketplace and succeeds in creating a global footprint for our region. (first awarded in 2016)

2018

  • Legacy of KC Award – The Robert E. Miller Group
  • Diverse – Veracity Consulting
  • Entrepreneur – Chicken N’ Pickle
  • International – Orbis Biosciences

2017

  • Legacy of KC Award –  Andrews McMeel Universal
  • Diverse – Webb Technology Group 
  • Entrepreneur - J. Rieger Co.
  • International - Alpha Energy & Electric   

2016

  • Legacy of KC Award –  Newmark Grubb Zimmer
  • Diverse – DuBois Consultants, Inc.  
  • Entrepreneur - blooom
  • International – Doodlekit

2015

  • Legacy of KC Award – Curry Real Estate Services
  • Diverse – Whitley Construction Company
  • Entrepreneur – ClaimKit

2014

  • Legacy of KC Award – Ace Imagewear
  • Diverse – Alpha Energy and Electric
  • Entrepreneur – Snow & Co.

2013

  • Legacy of KC Award – IDD InStore Design Display
  • Diverse – Technology Group Solutions
  • Entrepreneur – Centric Projects

Business Award FAQs

What are the criteria for Small Business of the Year?

In order to be a Top 10 or Small Business Award candidate, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Must be a for-profit business headquartered in the Greater Kansas City area
  • Employ no more than 250 full-time equivalent employees
  • Be committed to good business practices
  • Have grown or sustained employee count and/or sales
  • Have a good history of employee relations
  • Must be a member of the KC Chamber by the time of application. For membership information, contact Membership at (816) 374-5403 or krekel@kcchamber.com.

How do I apply to be Small Business of the Year?

In order to be a part of this opportunity, you will need to prepare a few items for your award application:

  • Your company history
  • Description of your corporate culture
  • Description of your company's participation in community service and employee engagement programs
  • Description of how you differentiate your company from your competitors
  • Description of where you see your company in 10 years and how you will achieve that goal

The online application will be available starting December 1, 2018. To be able to start, stop, and restart the application without losing any work, you must enable cookies in your browser before beginning, and revisit the application on the same device and in the same browser where you started it. For questions regarding the Small Business Awards Application, call (816) 374-5480 or email hammersmith@kcchamber.com 

Why should I apply?

The exposure your company gains from participating in the Small Business Celebration is unequaled in the KC region including a complimentary exhibit table at the Candidates' Showcase event on March 27, 2019, features in various media outlets, and visibility in KC Chamber publications and website. The Top 10 Small Businesses also participate in a CEO panel discussion to share best practices and insights on successes, obstacles, and company achievements with KC leaders. Additionally, you'll become well connected with fellow nominees and Small Business Award alumni.

Overall, the small business awards process provides your company the opportunity for brand exposure, access to key business leaders, team camaraderie, and strategic planning. Be sure to give the application a look. Even if you don’t think you’d qualify for Small Business of the Year, you may find yourself in the running for one of our additional awards. The Candidates’ Showcase networking alone and Chamber connections you’ll make through the process can be most valuable.

What are the criteria for the additional small business awards?

Legacy of Kansas City Award: This award is directed towards honoring longevity, quality products and/or services, and community service in small businesses more than 15 years old in the Kansas City region.

Diverse Small Business of the Year: This award is geared towards small businesses that are minority-owned, woman-owned, veteran-owned, service disabled veteran-owned, or LGBT-owned that have demonstrated vision, leadership, and courage by achieving business success while overcoming obstacles and maintaining a strong sense of service for the community.

Entrepreneur Award: This award recognizes a company that is less than three years old and demonstrates a high level of entrepreneurial spirit, leadership, perseverance, innovation and determination.

International Award: This award will go to a small business that recognizes the importance of entering the international marketplace and succeeds in creating a global footprint for our region. (first awarded in 2016)

How would I apply for the additional awards?

If your business does not meet the criteria for 2019 Small Business of the Year award, there are other ways for your business to be recognized throughout the region through the Small Business Celebration. There is only one application to fill out for all of the Small Business Awards we offer. Your application responses will determine your eligibility for any of our additional Small Business Awards and will trigger additional questions for Legacy, Entrepreneur, International, or Diverse, if applicable.

Resources for Small Businesses

The KC Chamber loves to help small businesses make important connections and find appropriate resources to help their companies grow. You can start by contacting Tayler Hammersmith, Manager of Small Business and Strategic Partnerships, at (816) 374-5480 or hammersmith@kcchamber.com.

Member Discounts

Every little bit of savings helps and the KC Chamber offers discount programs that are ideal for small businesses. You’ll want to check out our discounts on cell phones, office products, payroll services, and certificate of origin processing. You can also learn how to offer a selection of health insurance plans while still controlling your costs. Review our cost saving benefits!

Small Business Priorities

Small businesses who align with the KC Chamber will find their voice amplified in Washington D.C., Jefferson City, Topeka, and KCMO City Hall. You can browse our Public Policy Agendas to learn more about the Chamber’s specific small business priorities.

Champion of Diversity

Champion of Diversity 2018

Each year at the POWER of Diversity Breakfast, the KC Chamber presents the Champion of Diversity Award, recognizing a regional business that has made an impactful commitment to embrace diversity in their workplace, diversity supplier partnerships, and the community. This Champion of Diversity business will be able to demonstrate their organizational practices are inclusive of all people. The 2018 Champion of Diversity is Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP.