Each year the Small Business Council of America (SBCA) honors a business person by selecting him or her as the Small Business Person of the Year. Last year, the title of this award was changed to the “Mort Harris Small Business Person of the Year Award” in honor of SBCA co-founder Mort Harris who passed away in 2015.

The Mort Harris Small Business Person of the Year for 2017 be recognized and honored in person at its 34th Congressional Awards Reception including dinner held at a place to be determined in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, May 10, 2017. The purpose of the award is to honor an American businessman or woman for outstanding accomplishments in promoting a favorable environment for the small businesses of America.

The SBCA Small Business Person of the Year Award Committee is seeking nominations from SBCA members who have been in good standing for at least one year. Nominees do not have to be members of the SBCA, but they must be U.S. citizens. If you would like to nominate someone for this Award, please send us a full biographical description of the nominee and a narrative statement providing specific information about the nominee’s qualifications for selection, together with any supporting endorsements from business and government leaders, employees, etc. Your narrative statement should include information regarding how the nominee meets the following criteria:

  • Dedication to small business in America as evidenced through promotion of a climate favorable to free enterprise.
  • Promotion of a positive image of American business through excellent business, civic or corporate leadership.
  • Leadership in advancing the interest of small business in America evidenced by efforts and accomplishments in affecting the legislative and regulatory environment.

To allow the judges adequate time to evaluate the nominees, your nominations must be received by the Awards Committee by March 15, 2017. Nominations should be mailed to: Small Business Person of the Year Committee, c/o Leanne Redstone, Small Business Council of America, 1523 Concord Pike, Suite 300, Wilmington, DE 19803. You may also email your nominations to lredstone@shanlaw.com.

The award winner will receive a SBCA stipend of up to $1,000 to pay for his or her travel expenses to Washington, D.C. and will receive national, regional and local publicity relating to the Small Business Person of the Year Award itself.

The award winner will also receive complimentary SBCA memberships for calendar years 2017 and 2018.

From time to time SBCA members request more information relating to nominees than the general criteria listed above. It is not really possible to adequately describe in advance the type of person who will receive this award year in and year out but it might be helpful to highlight a few of our past award winners.

  •  Our 2011 winner was John K. Barnard from Cleveland, OH. Mr. Bernard’s philosophy as Executive Chairman of Vita-Mix has led the company to achieve business performance excellence through customer satisfaction and operational flexibility. They do well by doing good – they value relationships with their customers, suppliers and employees and have been highly successful as a result. His outstanding efforts and accomplishments remind us why small businesses are so important to our economy and to our country.
  •  In 2013, our Small Business Person of the Year was Anthony Sblendorio, of Basking Ridge, NJ. Mr. Sblendorio started Back to Nature in 1995 to fulfill his mission to “take care of the dirt around us” or what people commonly call being green. He later opened expanded his green mission with the opening of Back to nature Home & Garden offering a new take on the traditional garden center with a wholly organic aproach, including an event center used to hold educational classes on eco-friendly topics. Anthony is well respected in his community and has spent more than 18 years creating exquisite landscapes that fuse inspired design with the values of regenerative landscapes.
  •  The recipient in 2014 was Susan Preston of Seattle, WA. Susan, a general partner of CalCEF Clean Energy Angel Fund, was recognized for her efforts in the advancement of angel investors and women entrepreneurs. Ms. Preston and her company work to help small business ideas become a reality by providing promising entrepreneurs with early-stage investments.
  •  Last year’s recipient was Troy Guard from Denver, Colorado. Mr. Guard is head chef and owner of more than nine restaurants in the Greater Denver area providing jobs for more than 400 people. His unwavering commitment to small businesses, has paid off with consumer reviews and constant growth. Troy has helped situmulate a vibrant Denver community which has seen unprecedented economic growth in a time where the nation economy has struggled.As you can see, our award winners come from many parts of the country and I encourage you to pick a member from your community and nominate him or her for the SBCA Small Business Person of the Year. Nominations should be in letter format along with any other written materials from outside sources to support your nomination.No nominations will be accepted after the March 15, 2017 deadline.