Frequently Asked Questions

What is Michigan Celebrates Small Business?

Michigan Celebrates Small Business consists of organizations that support and celebrate entrepreneurs in Michigan and have banded together to create the state’s premier awards ceremony for entrepreneurs and small business leaders. These organizations include:

A committee of executives from each of the aforementioned organizations meets throughout the year to determine needed criteria, secure sponsors and enhance protocol for the Michigan Celebrates Small Business Awards. Each year leaders in both business and government gather together to honor more than 60 of Michigan’s small business leaders. Both existing and start-up entrepreneurs are encouraged to apply for one of the 14 following awards as well as Michigan 50 Companies to Watch.

What is Michigan 50 Companies to Watch?

It is an awards program honoring second-stage companies headquartered in the state of Michigan. These companies demonstrate high performance in the marketplace or exhibit innovative products or processes. The awards program is designed to seek businesses from a wide range of industries representing all regions of the state, not just the major metropolitan areas. This is not an award of the “top 50” or “best” companies—the 50 companies selected each year make an astounding impact on Michigan’s economy by collectively providing thousands of jobs and contributing millions of dollars of revenue. In short, they tell a compelling story about the state’s diverse economic landscape.

What second-stage companies are eligible?

To be considered for selection as one of the Michigan Companies to Watch, the enterprise must meet the following for the year ending 2016:

Note: Cannot have won this award in the past.

Who can nominate a company?

Anyone may nominate a company. Nominations typically come from service providers (accountants, bankers, attorneys, public relations professionals and others); economic development offices; trade, business and community associations; the media; and universities. Past Companies to Watch award recipients are encouraged to nominate their peers. You can even nominate yourself if you meet the criteria for receiving the award.

How do I nominate a deserving company?

The nomination form will be available on September 19, 2017. Watch the homepage for the link to provide the necessary information to submit the name and contact information associated with the deserving company. Upon submitting your nomination, a notice is e-mailed to your nominee, naming you as the nominator and providing instructions on how to apply. Only online nominations will be considered.

How are award recipients selected?

Award recipients are selected by a panel of judges representing areas of economic development, banking, entrepreneurship and small business. Judges look for evidence of high growth in employment rates and revenue. In addition to being evaluated on past growth and projected success, applicants are also judged on strengths related to the established award criteria.

When can I expect to hear if my company has been selected as a Company to Watch?

All applicants will be notified by mail in late January. All applications are considered for the award throughout the selection process, so we are unable to fulfill requests about application status until the official notifications are mailed.

Event Frequently Asked Questions

Awards Gala – May 3, 2018

VIP Reception – May 2 (invitation only reception)
The invitation only VIP Reception for Michigan Celebrates awardees and a guest is black-tie optional, with the majority of guests opting to wear business attire. Gentlemen typically wear a jacket and tie, and a number of gentlemen wear a black tie. Ladies tend to wear cocktail dresses or business attire.

When is the event?

Michigan Celebrates Small Business includes a variety of events in addition to the premier awards gala. All events are hosted in the Lansing, the state capital.

Who can attend the Awards Dinner?

Anyone! The awards dinner is open to everyone who wants to celebrate and support the many great small businesses that are growing up for Michigan. Seating is limited.

When does the Awards Dinner start?

Guests will be invited into the Michigan Reception at 5:00pm. Hors D’oeuvres and drinks will be available at this time. The dinner and awards presentation will begin promptly at 6:40 pm.

Can I request a special seating arrangement?

Special seating arrangements may be made upon request. We will do our best to accommodate all seating requests. Seating requests must be made no later than two weeks prior to the Awards Dinner by contacting Mary Stier at

Are group discounts available?

Yes. We have special discounts available for individuals or organizations that would like to purchase a table (8 tickets). More information will be available when registration opens in February.

What should I wear?

The Awards Dinner is black-tie optional. Men should expect to wear at minimum a suit with a tie and women usually choose to wear a dress.

When do we receive our tickets?

Tickets are not used for admittance to the Awards Dinner. Your guest badge will act as your ticket to the Awards Dinner.

What are the guest badges for?

Your guest badge will act as your ticket on the night of the Awards Dinner. Upon checking in on the night of the Awards Dinner, attendees will receive a guest badge to identify themselves and their organization during the Awards Dinner. In order to coordinate this process, we ask that ticket purchasers provide the names and associated organizations of the guests attending the Awards Dinner.

I want to buy tickets, but do not know who is going to attend yet, do I have to fill in the guest badges?

If you are buying tickets or have bought tickets already, but do not know who will be attending, you can return to enter guest names at a later time. However, we encourage purchasers to have their guest names available when purchasing tickets.

Where should I park?

Several convenient parking facilities and meters are located within walking distance of Lansing Center, including parking lots under and north of the Lansing Center. The North Grand parking ramp is adjacent to the Radisson Hotel; pedway access to the Lansing Center is on the third level.

For more details, visit the Lansing Center parking page.

Is there a hotel you recommend?

Overnight accommodations can be made directly with:

Radisson Hotel Lansing at the Capitol
111 N. Grand Avenue
Lansing, MI 48933

To Reserve, call: (888) 333-3333 and use code SBM517 for a discounted rate.
To Reserve Online at the MCSB Discounted Rate, click here.

Reservations must be made by April 17, 2018 to qualify for the discount.

Who can I call with general questions?

If you have additional questions about Michigan Celebrates Small Business, please contact Joshua Marko at (616) 331 – 7373 or