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ICSC Global Awards



The DREAM BIG Small Business of the Year Award, sponsored by Sam's Club®, celebrates the success of small business and honors its contributions to America's economic growth. The Small Business of the Year, 7 regional finalists, and 100 Blue Ribbon winners will be honored on June 14 during America's Small Business Summit in Washington, D.C.

Two ways to participate:

1. Nominate a local small business that’s making a big impact in its community.
2. Apply directly if you are a small business that’s committed to your community, employees, and customers.

While the nomination period for the 2016 awards program has ended, nomination is not required for consideration to win the 2016 DREAM Big Small Business of the Year Award. To be considered, eligible small businesses must complete the online application by Sunday, February 7.

Small businesses that are committed to their community, employees, and customers are encouraged to apply for a chance to take home the $10,000 prize.



Awards Program Timeline


Nominations due


Applications due


Press release announcing the 100 Blue Ribbon Award Winners


Online public voting for the Community Excellence Award


Press release announcing the 7 Regional Finalists


Live announcement of the Small Business of the Year at America's Small Business Summit

Awards Eligibility and Judging Criteria


Members and nonmembers of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are invited to participate. Small business applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Fewer than 250 employees
  • Revenues of less than $20 million annually in 2013 and in 2014

Award Criteria

Eligible applicants for the DREAM BIG Small Business of the Year Award will be judged on the following:

  • Business strategies and goals
  • Staff training and motivation
  • Customer service
  • Community involvement

Community Excellence Award

  • The Community Excellence Award, selected by popular vote, is awarded to one Blue Ribbon Small Business that has found notable success in the eyes of its community. It is voted on by the people that know a company best--its customers, employees, and neighbors.
  • Voting is open to the public and takes place online between Wednesday, February 17, and Friday, March 4. The CEA winner will be announced at America's Small Business Summit.


Awards and Prizes

Blue Ribbon Small Business®

  • One complimentary registration to attend the summit, courtesy of Sam's Club
  • Discounted registration of $300 for any additional registrants affiliated with the company
  • Recognition during the DREAM BIG Blue Ribbon Awards Breakfast and DREAM BIG Awards Luncheon
  • DREAM BIG Blue Ribbon Small Business Award Certificate
  • Web sticker to display on company web site

Community Excellence Award Winner

  • All recognitions given to the Blue Ribbon Small Businesses
  • Two night hotel stay during the summit at the Omni Shoreham Hotel
  • Crystal award
  • Award presentation on stage during the Blue Ribbon Breakfast

Regional Finalists

  • All recognitions given to Blue Ribbon Small Businesses
  • Two-night hotel stay during the summit at the Omni Shoreham Hotel
  • Crystal award
  • Spotlight in Free Enterprise magazine. the U.S. Chamber Quarterly
  • Production of a two-minute promo video to be played during the DREAM BIG Awards Luncheon

DREAM BIG Small Business of the Year

  • All recognitions given to Regional Finalists and Blue Ribbon Winners
  • Acceptance speech on stage
  • $10,000 cash prize