KOSBE Seeking Entries for Annual Small Business Challenge

Kingsport, TN, October 18, 2017 --(PR.com)-- The Kingsport Office of Small Business Development & Entrepreneurship (KOSBE) is seeking the best companies across the region to submit entries in the 2017 Annual KOSBE Awards. Last year, KOSBE received 31 applications and 11 companies were recognized with the prestigious award for business excellence. This year, contenders also have a chance to be selected to receive bonuses such as logo design, social media consulting, magazine advertisement, co-working space, leadership training, free business oriented memberships and more. Visit www.kosbeawards.org for the application, rules, sponsorship opportunities, and details.

The regional competition (including Sullivan, Grainger, Hamblen, Hancock, Hawkins, Washington, Unicoi, Carter, Johnson and Greene County) is open to KOSBE clients, Kingsport Chamber Members, as well as nonmembers and the public alike. Any legally established for-profit small business, with fewer than 150 employees and annual sales not to exceed $10 million dollars is eligible. Home-based, online and agriculture businesses are also welcome. The deadline for entries is 11:59:59 EST on October 31st, 2017.

This year the competition is divided into 12 categories:
1. Locally-owned and operated franchise
2. New business
3. Young entrepreneur
4. Woman-owned
5. Veteran-owned
6. Gazelle Business
7. Food excellence
8. Service excellence
9. Manufacturing/fabricating excellence
10. Retail excellence
11. Construction excellence
12. Impact award

Categories for Food Excellence, Service Excellence, Retail Excellence and Construction Excellence are newly added.

Selections will be made by an expert panel of judges based on each contender’s written application, in-person interview and how well contenders 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. All applicants will have a chance to be selected to receive an award, and or bonus prizes, as decided by the judges.

Aundrea Wilcox, KOSBE Executive Director, thinks the new judge panel is rock solid. She said, “Although we highly value the knowledge and opinions of our past longtime judges, it was definitely time to change things up. A fresh group of judges brings new blood and perspective to our event. This year’s judges bring to the table a variety of experiences related to starting businesses, managing growth, operations, recruiting and managing employees, improving cash flow and profitability, and marketing.”

At a special recognition event on Thursday, December 14th, 2017 from 6 to 9 PM, at Meadowview Marriott Convention Center in Kingsport, Tennessee, winners will be revealed. Reception entertainment will be provided by JV Squad (old-school soul and rhythm & blues, with a smidge of southern accent). Prior to the awards ceremony, past KOSBE Award winners: Fred Cooper, Founder and CEO, Kingsport Book; and Rick Jennings, CFO, Kingsport Book, will be part of a live on-stage interview.

Fred Cooper is a native of Kingsport, a product of the Kingsport City Schools and a graduate from East Tennessee State University (ETSU). His partner, Rick Jennings, is also a native of Kingsport, a product of the Sullivan County Schools and a graduate from ETSU. Both Cooper and Jennings have over 25 years of experience each in various management positions at the former Kingsport Press, and survived five mergers and acquisitions during their extensive time with the company. Finally, in 2003, they both left the Kingsport Press and founded Kingsport Book Incorporated, with four employees and a vision. Today, Kingsport Book employs 50 full time employees and produces deluxe quality hardbound books and bibles for publishers around the world. Kingsport Book is the last remaining true deluxe bindery in the U.S.

Traditionally, KOSBE Awards has been sold out early. Seating is limited and early ticket purchases are recommended. Tickets are $85 per person and must be purchased in advance online, in person at the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce, or by calling (423) 392-8811. All ticket sales are final and non-refundable. The public is invited to attend.

Sponsors include: Cumberland Marketing, F & L Limo & Livery, Phil's Dream Pit, Knoxville TVA Employees Credit Union, First Tennessee Bank, Fanatics 101, East TN Eye Care, Eastman Chemical Company, Eastman Credit Union, NETWORKS – Sullivan Partnership, Tri-Cities Military Affairs Council, Pathway Lending, Honda Kingsport, GAAM Wealth Advisors, Triten Insurance, AdviCoach, Hillhouse Graphic Design, Bridge Pointe Real Estate and Auction, SunTrust Bank, Oliver Coal Sales, Prendergast Construction, Millenium Auto Collision Repairs, among others.

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.

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 15 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). 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 learn more, please call 423-392-8811, or visit www.kosbeawards.org.
Kingsport Office of Small Business Development & Entrepreneurship (KOSBE)
Aditi Bhave, Administrative and Project Coordinator
(423) 392.8811