As part of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s National Small Business Week, the Rhode Island Small Business Development Center has announced nominations are open for the 2023 Small Business Week Awards. The award program offers Rhode Island small businesses a platform to celebrate their contributions and achievements with a wider audience.
“If you know an outstanding small business or own one yourself, I strongly encourage you to submit a nomination,” said SBA District Director, Mark S. Hayward. “You’ve worked hard and persevered over the years, and you’ve earned the right to be recognized as an award-winning small business.”
Here’s our advice to get started with the nomination process.
1. Why nominate a Rhode Island small business?
Earning a Small Business Week award can help shine a valuable light on small businesses. Specifically, it’s an excellent way to generate buzz and visibility because the SBA promotes nominees through press releases, events, social media, and email campaigns. Being nominated is a distinction that validates what you do and is a stamp of approval among industry peers. You gain instant credibility because your business is associated with a familiar and trustworthy brand, the SBA. Did you know you can nominate yourself?
2. What to expect during the award process
Once you hear from an SBA member confirming your nomination, you decide if you want to continue in the award process and get to work on submitting an official award package. Favorable award packages will include a range of materials to help your business stand out as a contender among the judges who read each application. Share supporting materials like:
- Photos and videos
- Letters of recommendation from clients and peers
- Press coverage to help judges learn about your business
- Community volunteer work
- Details on how your business is unique
From our experience, businesses that wait until the final deadline to complete their package often miss submitting enough supporting content. If you’re serious about winning, give yourself the time you need to confidently and comprehensively complete the package.
3. Consider submitting for multiple award categories
There are several award categories at the national and district level and you can nominate yourself for more than one. Here’s a look at the specific categories:
- Small Business Person of the Year
- Small Business Exporter of the Year
Rhode Island District Office Awards:
- Jeffrey Butland Family-Owned Business of the Year
- Woman Small Business Owner
- Veteran Small Business Owner
- Minority Small Business Owner
- Young Entrepreneur
- Small Business Manufacturer
- Home-based Business Owner
- Financial Services Champion
4. 2022 Rhode Island Small Business award winners
Javier Brown, owner, O2J Inc, 2022 SBA Award for Minority Small Business Owner of the Year
Twenty years ago, Javier moved from Venezuela and nurtured his dream of starting a business.
“Being nominated for the SBA award was important because it helped people recognize the work I had been putting into my business all these years,” said Javier Brown, who worked with our Associate Director Manuel Batlle over many years to grow his business. “When I talk with a potential customer, now I tell them about my award to help seal the deal.”
Javier continues to look towards future business growth opportunities and plans to get his own office building in Rhode Island one day.
Byron Delmonico, president and CEO, The Riddle Room, 2022 SBA Award for Small Business Person of the Year
In 2016, Byron opened the first location for The Riddle Room to bring his flare for art, construction, and entertainment into a cooperative gaming experience, specifically, escape rooms.
“My favorite part of winning the award was connecting with other like-minded winners,” said Byron Delmonico, who gained advice from our former Southern RI Regional Director, Josh Daly. “It has also been really great for networking. When it comes up as I network, it sends the impression I am really successful with my operations.”
Byron now has two escape rooms in Rhode Island.
After long client relationships, the RISBDC nominated both Javier Brown and Bryon Delmonico for these SBA awards, making these wins especially meaningful for our staff.
Ready to nominate a Rhode Island small business?
The deadline to submit a nomination is Tuesday, December 8, 2022, at 3:00 pm EST. Read the official nomination guidelines for specific criteria to send your nomination. The award winners will be announced during National Small Business Week from April 30 to May 6, 2023.
The Rhode Island Small Business Development Center employs a dedicated, experienced, and knowledgeable staff of business counselors and administrators who can assist you in growing your business. Register now for free, confidential business advice from our advisors here, call (401) 874-7232 to make a counseling appointment, or attend one of our free webinars.