Small Business Celebration

The Small Business Celebration is a series of events that supports and celebrates the small business community within the Kansas City region. It is recognized as one of the largest Chamber small business celebrations in the United States.

What is the Small Business Celebration? 

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

Three additional awards are presented at this Luncheon including:

  • The KC Chamber Emerging Business Award
  • The KC Chamber Small Business Equity Award
  • The KC Chamber Weida Award for International Small Business of the Year
  • The KC Chamber Legacy of Kansas City Award
     

Why Should I Participate? 

The exposure your company gains from participating in the Small Business Celebration is unequaled in the KC region, including an exhibit table at the Candidates' Showcase event, features in various media outlets, and visibility in KC Chamber publications and website.

The Top 10 Small Businesses will be recognized at the Top 10 Reception. The Top 10 CEOs will also participate in a conversation 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.

Small Business of the Year

Small businesses who have been nominated for Small Business of the Year can apply for the award here. For questions about this application, contact Vicky Kulikov, Director of Small Business, at (816) 374-5458.

Emerging Business

Companies in business for three years or less may apply for our Emerging Business Award. No nomination is required. For questions about this application, contact Vicky Kulikov, Director of Small Business, at (816) 374-5458.

Chase McAnulty shaking hands
2021 Mr. K Award on floor next to podium
Jeff Beeson, Evergy, presents Small Business Equity Award to Elaina Paige Thomas, The Next Paige Agency
Jeff Beeson, Evergy, and Elaina Paige Thomas, The Next Paige Agency

How to get involved

Submit a Small Business Superstar

Submit your favorite Small Business Superstars for recognition in the KC Chamber's 2021 Small Business Celebration. Be sure to submit all your favorite Small Business Superstars by February 26!

Qualify as a Candidate

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. 

Your application responses will determine your eligibility for any of our additional Small Business Awards and will trigger additional questions for Legacy, Entrepreneur, or International, if applicable.

For membership information, contact Membership at (816) 374-5403 or krekel@kcchamber.com.

Apply as a Candidate

Applications have closed April 20, 2021

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

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) 374-5458 or email kulikov@kcchamber.com.

Apply for the Mr. K Small Business of the Year Award

The KC Chamber’s 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 Greater Kansas City region. To be an award recipient signifies that a company has shown growth or sustainability of their business with strong employee relations and a record of giving back to the community.

Apply for the Emerging Business of the Year Award

The newly redesigned Emerging Business of the Year Award is given to a Greater Kansas City business of under 3 years that showcases Kansas City’s entrepreneurial spirit. Candidates show great growth potential, unique value propositions, and/or a breakthrough technology, all while being actively engaged in our local community.

Dates to Remember

  • April 2, 2021, 9:00-10:00 am & April 14, 2021, 2:00-3:00 pm - Application Workshops: After you have taken some time to look through the application, join us to get your questions answered! Learn from past winners, past Top 10, and past judges best practices to fill out your application.
     
  • Friday, April 30, 2021 - Application Deadline 5 pm - Deadline to submit application to receive a spot in the Virtual Candidate Showcase (think Shark Tank style) and proceed into  awards competition.
     
  • May 25 & May 26, 2021, 11:30am-1:30 pm - Virtual Candidates’ Showcase, Presented by American Century Investments
     
  • June 10, 2021 - Top 10 Small Business Reception, Presented by Bank Midwest
     
  • June 24, 2021 - Small Business Awards Luncheon, Presented by Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
Eric Wollerman, President of Honeywell; Connie Zack, Sunlighten; Aaron Zack, Sunlighten
Eric Wollerman, President of Honeywell; Connie Zack, Sunlighten; Aaron Zack, Sunlighten
Andrew Dowis, CEO, Pro Athlete Inc.; Jannae Gammage, The Market Base; Milad Ghasempour, The Market Base
Andrew Dowis, CEO, Pro Athlete Inc.; Jannae Gammage, The Market Base; Milad Ghasempour, The Market Base
Heather Rollins, Dept. Vice President Individual & Group Sales, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Kansas City; Connie Zack, Sunlighten; Aaron Zack, Sunlighten
Heather Rollins, Dept. Vice President Individual & Group Sales, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Kansas City; Connie Zack, Sunlighten; Aaron Zack, Sunlighten

Learn more about the 2021 Small Business Awards Luncheon

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 Vicky Kulikov, Small Business Director, at (816) 374-5458 or kulikov@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.

Our Sponsors