Call for Entries for the 24th Annual KOSBE Small Business Awards

Kingsport, TN, October 13, 2018 --( The Kingsport Office of Small Business Development & Entrepreneurship (KOSBE) is seeking nominations for local businesses to be recognized at the 2018 Annual KOSBE Awards, including locally-owned and operated:

1. Franchise
2. New business (in business less than 3 years)
3. Young entrepreneur (owner under 40 years old)
4. Woman-owned (51% or more majority owned)
5. Veteran-owned (51% or more majority owned)
6. Food (e.g., restaurants, catering, food truck, bakery, meal prep, pubs, etc.)
7. Service (e.g., accounting, travel, insurance, information, advertising, consulting, tax preparation, cleaning, towing, employment, beauty, transportation, dry cleaners, automotive, etc.)
8. Manufacturing (e.g., machining, crafts, furniture, fabricators, soaps, plastics, printing, metal, breweries, makers, architectural art, sign shops, etc.)
9. Retail (e.g., storefront, Internet, etc.)
10. Construction (e.g., remodeling, new construction, painters, HVAC, plumbers, electricians, etc.)
11. Impact (an individual who has had a significant impact on the local small business community or an individual local small business)

There is no fee to nominate a small business or individual for KOSBE Awards. The deadline for entries is 11:59:59 EST on October 31st, 2018. Small businesses may also self-nominate. Visit for the nomination forms, official rules, sponsorship opportunities, and details.

Nominations will be reviewed by an evaluation team consisting of five small business experts who will select businesses that they wish to visit based on the clarity, completeness and compelling story provided in the nomination form. Next, the evaluation team will pair up and conduct field interviews. The interviews will be spontaneous and last no more than 10-15 minutes. The evaluation team will reconvene at a later time to decide the winners, who will be announced in December, at a special recognition event on Thursday, December 13th, 2018 from 6 to 8 p.m., at Meadowview Marriott Convention Center in Kingsport, Tennessee.

Sam Booher, KOSBE Advisory Council Chairman, thinks the adjustments made to this year’s KOSBE Awards are much needed and better aligned with how entrepreneurs do things, and the way small businesses truly operate. He said, “This process is going to be a lot easier on small business owners and the judges. Now, anyone can nominate a business they enjoy doing business with. In the past, we found that there are a lot of business owners who are too busy to apply, or just don’t want to toot their own horn—so we never heard from them. It was also extremely tough on the judges, to sit in a room for eight or more hours for two straight days, to listen to Shark Tank style pitches. And, they did not have the opportunity to really see the owner and business in action. I think that pushing our judges out the door into the streets is the best way to evaluate a business. The judges need to go see what the customer is experiencing. This also takes away the feel of a boardroom inquisition. I think everyone is going to enjoy this new format a whole lot more.”

The KOSBE Awards promote economic impact by recognizing local small businesses that contribute to the tax-base of Kingsport. Aundrea Wilcox, KOSBE Executive Director said, “This year, we have refocused our recognition and celebration to Kingsport businesses, because we know that business retention and expansion is just as important as recruiting large new businesses to the region. There are over 3,500 small businesses in Kingsport that have fewer than 150 employees and less than $10 million in sales who contribute to the tax base substantially; it’s our job to recognize and celebrate them.”

Seating for KOSBE Awards 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, Phil’s Dream Pit, Millennium Auto Collision Repairs, Eastman Credit Union, Prendergast Construction Company, First Tennessee Bank, Eastman Chemical Company, Pathway Lending, Knoxville TVA Employees Credit Union, NETWORKS – Sullivan Partnership, GAAM Wealth Advisors, Sun Trust Bank, Triten Insurance, Tri-Cities Military Affairs Council, Advicoach, Hillhouse Graphic Design, Fanatics 101, East Tennessee Eye Care, Honda Kingsport, Bridge Pointe Real Estate & Auction, The Bagel Exchange and Food City 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 Kingsport.

The mission of KOSBE is to be the go-to organization in Kingsport 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.

To learn more, please call 423-392-8811, or visit
Aditi Bhave
(423) 392.8811