By Amanda Muley, Director of Membership
We have reached the halfway mark of the 2012 Small Business of the Year Awards process, thanks to much hard work by the committee and applicants. The process which started back in February began with a committee of over 50 volunteers working to secure companies as nominees for this prestigious award. To qualify for Small Business of the Year, a company must have between 5-250 employees, have been in business for at least three years, and must be located in the Tampa Bay area.
After two months of soliciting nominations, the committee secured over 250 nominations. Nominees then attended one of two information sessions where they learned more about the process and tips and techniques on how to submit a winning application. During the week of May 22-25th a panel of judges spent hours reading and reviewing each application in their respective category, narrowing down the companies and selecting the group of semifinalists.
To celebrate the hard work of these companies, the Chamber and the Small Business of the Year Committee hosted the 2012 Semifinalist Luncheon at Maestro’s at the Straz Center. The Semifinalists heard from committee members and past winners and learned about the next steps in the process. Additionally, the Chamber rolled out the theme for this year’s Small Business of the Year Award banquet – the Olympics!
The second round of judging was held last week at the Chamber. Each semifinalist company endured a 20 minute face-to-face interview with a second panel of judges. Each company was given 10 minutes to present and was then asked questions by the judges for the last 10 minutes of the interview. The scores of these interviews will determine which companies will be named finalists and advance to the next round of judging.
As we enter the second half of the SBOY process, be sure to check out the Chamber’s website on Monday to see which companies have been named the 2012 Small Business of the Year Finalists!