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.

Four additional awards are presented at this Luncheon including:

  • The KC Chamber Diverse Small Business Award
  • The KC Chamber Emerging Business Award
  • The KC Chamber Weida Award for International Business
  • 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 on March 19, 2020, 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.

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 Tayler Hammersmith, Director of Strategic Partnerships, at (816) 374-5480.

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 Tayler Hammersmith, Director of Strategic Partnerships, at (816) 374-5480.

Small Business Celebration 2018, Small Business Award of the Year Winner, 2018
Small Business Celebration 2018, Mr. K Award
Small Business Celebration 2018, Table with Food and Flowers

How to get involved

Nominate a Candidate

Nominations have closed for the 2020 Small Business of the Year

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. 

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.

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

Apply as a Candidate

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) 374-5480 or email hammersmith@kcchamber.com.

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

  • Thursday, January 9, 2020 - Application Workshop: 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.
     
  • Thursday, January 30, 2020 - Application Workshop: 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, February 7, 2020 - Application Deadline 5 p.m.: Deadline to submit application to receive a complimentary table at the Candidates' Showcase.
  • Thursday, March 19, 2020 – Candidates’ Showcase in Sprint Festival Plaza at Union Station, Presented by American Century Investments

  • Wednesday, April 29, 2020 – Top 10 CEO Panel Reception featuring CEO’s of the Top 10 Small Businesses, Presented by Bank Midwest

  • Thursday, May 28, 2020 – Small Business Awards Luncheon, Presented by Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

Small Business Celebration 2018, Sponsors
Small Business Celebration 2018, Chicken and Pickle, 2018
Small Business Celebration 2018, Host Panel

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, Director of 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.

Learn more about the Candidates' Showcase

Learn more about this year's Small Business Award candidates!

Our Sponsors