KOSBE Awards Now Accepting Small Business Entries for 2014

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KINGSPORT – The Kingsport Office of Small Business Development & Entrepreneurship (KOSBE) today invites small businesses to submit entries in the 2014 Annual KOSBE Awards.  The regional competition is open to clients, Chamber Members, as well as non-members alike.  Any legally established for-profit small business, with fewer than 150 employees and annual sales not to exceed $10 million dollars is eligible, including businesses located in Sullivan, Grainger, Hamblen, Hancock, Hawkins or Washington County.  Home-based, online and agriculture businesses are also welcome.  The deadline for entries is 11:59:59 EST on September 30, 2014.

The competition is divided into 10 eligible divisions, including:

1.  Business Excellence -10 (under 10 employees reporting 2013)

2.  Business Excellence 10+ (10 or more employees reporting 2013)

3.  New Business (in business for not more than 36 months)

4.  Young Entrepreneur (owner is under 40 years of age)

5.  Small Manufacturer/Fabricator (must make or assemble a product)

6.  Woman-Owned Business (must be at least 51% woman-owned)

7.  Veteran-Owned Business (must be at least 51% veteran-owned)

8.  Multiple Store/Franchise (locally owned and operated multiple store/franchise)

9.  Gazelle Business (high growth company that has increased revenues by at least 20% annually, for at least 4 years or more)

10.  IMPACT (for an outstanding individual and small business advocate who is nominated by a business entering the contest in one of the preceding categories or a past award winner)

Key changes for the 2014 KOSBE Awards include:

§  New Category: Gazelle Business, a high growth company that has increased revenues by at least 20% annually, for at least 4 years or more

§ Separate application for IMPACT Award; application fee includes one ticket for nominee; must be nominated by a current business contender or past award winner

§  Introduction of social media hash tag: #KosbeAwards14

§  New URL: www.kosbeawards.org

§  Easy online application form/survey

§  Expanded New Business Category: now includes newborn

§  Post-Interview feedback to be provided to all small business applicants to help them improve and focus growth

At a special recognition event on Thursday, December 11th, from 6 to 9 PM, at The Club at Ridgefields in Kingsport, Tennessee, winners will be revealed.  Prior to the awards ceremony, Jim Bailey, Veteran News Anchor and Director of News and Public Affairs at ABC19 / WKPT-TV, will conduct a live interview with entrepreneurial guest speaker, Gerald OConnor, President of Impact Plastics located in Erwin, Tennessee.

Selections will be made by an expert panel of judges based on an in-person interview and how well the entries meet the judging criteria: customer relationship strategy, story of success overcoming adversity, community involvement, financial strength, best practices, marketing creativity and presented strategies for growth.

Tickets are $65 per person and must be purchased in advance in person at the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce, or by calling (423) 392.8811. This event has been sold out for the past four consecutive years.  Seating is limited and early ticket purchases are recommended.  All ticket sales are final and non-refundable.  The public is invited to attend.

Sponsors include: Centurylink, Cumberland Marketing, Dykes Trucking, F & L Limo & Livery, Phil’s Dream Pit, Barberitos of Kingsport, ChamberZone, East Tennessee Eye Care, Eastman Chemical Company, Food City, Hair Benders Salon, Hunter Smith & Davis Attorneys at Law, Pathway Lending, Mickey Baker Photography, Kingsport Times News, Times Digital Group, Triten Insurance, The Business Journal, Thompson Metal Services, VIP Seen Magazine, Wilson Worley Moore Gamble & Stout PC, Holston Valley Broadcasting Group, Advicoach, Beyond Engagement Social Media Solutions, Fish Window Cleaning, SunTrust Bank, and The Angel Roundtable.

Event Partners include: Action Rentals and Sales, Express Signs, Flowers by CopperCreek, Holston Distributing Company, Lake Pointe Advertising & Awards, Pristine Springs, The Club at Ridgefields and Sams Package Store.

About KOSBE Awards
Inaugurated in 1994, the Annual KOSBE Awards is the longest running and most recognized small business-focused awards program in the Tri-Cities area.

About KOSBE
The mission of KOSBE is to be the go-to organization in the Tri-Cities for small business owners and entrepreneurs who want to start or grow their business, by creating and developing the right tools and resources and cultivating the right partnerships.

KOSBE is proud to be the Kingsport Affiliate Office of the TSBDC at ETSU.  The TSBDC Network is comprised of over 40 locations throughout the State of Tennessee, whose primary function is to provide counseling services and educational opportunities to entrepreneurs and for profit new and existing small businesses.

The cooperative agreement between KOSBE and East Tennessee State University is partially funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). SBAs funding is not an endorsement of any products, opinions or services. SBA funded programs are extended to the public on a non-discriminatory basis. Additional funding is provided by the Tennessee Board of Regents and the state of Tennessee.

To learn more, please call 423-392-8811, or visit www.kosbe.org.