KOSBE Broadens Eligibility for 2011 Awards Competition

Kingsport, TN, September 30, 2011 --(PR.com)-- The Annual KOSBE Awards Committee has announced the only exception to the official rules, which pertains solely to the Innovation Award.

According to KOSBE Executive Director Aundrea Wilcox, “This will be the only category in the new 2011 competition that allows a business that has not been in business at least 12 months to compete. This could mean that an emerging startup or an entrepreneur with only an idea (not yet officially started) may be competing against an already established company - but only in this category. We want small businesses to think bigger and that’s why this category will be wide open.”

This change is a clear indication that contest officials want to encourage and recognize highly creative people and help foster more innovation in small business, which can be a new method, idea, product, etc. But bear in mind that innovation is not just about inventions. Wilcox further specified, “Business owners can use the latest technology to turbocharge and even transform their business. If this is happening locally, we want to hear about these experiences.”

KOSBE Awards will be given in celebration of small business in the following 10 categories:

Business Excellence (under 10 employees)
Business Excellence (10 or more employees)
New Business (in business 12—36 months)
Young Entrepreneur (owner is under 40 years of age)
Innovation Award
Small Manufacturer (or fabricator)
Impact Award (can only be nominated by a business competing in any of the above categories)

For more details regarding the selection process, download the application at Kosbe.org. Applicants are not required to provide financial data on their application, but judges may ask for further details or an alternate demonstration of financial strength later. All information and documentation provided will be kept in the strictest confidence.

Overall, the contest is open to Kingsport Chamber members and non-members who meet the following general eligibility requirements:

Legal resident of the United States
At least 18 years of age at the time of entry
Legally established for-profit small business
A corporation, limited liability company, partnership or sole proprietorship - home-based businesses may also apply
Doing business in Kingsport and surrounding rural areas
Entrant must hold an ownership stake in the business
Fewer than 150 employees
Less than $10M USD in sales revenue (reported for 2010)
Must have been in business at least 12 months and earned some revenue in the past 12 months
Employees of the Kingsport Chamber, KOSBE, and respective immediate family and household members are not eligible
Only one entry per business, however, multiple contest categories allowed and past winners and non-winners may re-apply

Please be reminded that there are some exceptions to these rules (particularly for the Innovation Award). Also, contenders may supplement their application with a two-minute (maximum length) video. Simply upload a video to a YouTube channel of choice, make it available to the public, and tag it with 2011 KOSBE Awards, and indicate that this has been uploaded on your application.

The entry fee is $35, which must accompany the application. This fee includes one (1) general admission ticket at the recognition and celebration event on Thursday, December 8, 2011, at BANQ (255 Broad St., Kingsport, TN 37660) from 6 - 9 p.m.

Application deadline is Friday, October 7, 2011 at midnight. Visit Kosbe.org for details.

It is the intent of KOSBE to be the go-to organization in the Tri-Cities for small business owners and entrepreneurs who want to start or grow their businesses, by creating and developing the right tools and resources and cultivating the right partnerships. In partnership with Tennessee Small Business Development Centers (TSBDC) at ETSU, KOSBE can more effectively serve the needs of entrepreneurs and small businesses. For a complete listing of services, tools and resources, visit kosbe.org.

The cooperative agreement between KOSBE and East Tennessee State University is partially funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). SBA’s 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 schedule your free confidential counseling appointment in a private setting by TSBDC-certified counselors in person, online by phone or e-mail call Marybeth McLain at (423) 392.8825 or e-mail, mmclain@kosbe.org.

For more information about the Tennessee Small Business Development Center (TSBDC) at ETSU Kingsport Affiliate Office and your Kingsport Office of Small Business Development & Entrepreneurship (KOSBE), visit tsbdc.org and kosbe.org or call (423) 392.8825. We’re social too; follow us on Facebook, Kosbe – The Small Business Connection, Twitter, @KOSBEConnection, LinkedIn group, KOSBE - The Small Business Connection and our YouTube Channel, KOSBEConnection.

Kingsport Office of Small Business Development & Entrepreneurship KOSBE
Marybeth McLain, Small Business Services Marketing Manager
(423) 392.8811