Inspiring Progress and Prosperity
Michigan Entrepreneurs

The Awards

Michigan Celebrates Small Business seeks to recognize small businesses in variety of different industries and fields whose growth is supporting Michigan’s economy. Every small business is unique. Together with our founders, we established several different awards to honor the many different kinds of small businesses across the state. A small business may be eligible for one or all of the awards. Please click on the awards below to find out more information.

If you would like to see the 2015 winners of these awards, please click here.

Michigan 50 Companies to Watch

The Michigan 50 Companies to Watch will be recognized at the 12th Annual Michigan Celebrates Small Business event on May 5, 2016. This year’s theme is Inspiring Progress and Prosperity: Michigan Entrepreneurs and we’re looking for companies that are innovative in their fields or business practices, are achieving growth and success, and will have a breakout year in 2016. This event and awards program draws nearly 1,000 attendees and generates tremendous media exposure for the awardees each year. Hundreds of companies are nominated for the Michigan 50 Companies to Watch Awards. Self-nominations are strongly encouraged.

Eligibility Criteria for Michigan 50 Companies to Watch

This awards program is being managed by MiQuest (MCSB Managing Partner)

Small Business Awards

Innovation Award

To be eligible for this award, the product or service must have been developed by the applicant and earned revenue for the first time during the previous three years (from Nov. 2, 2011). You will be asked to provide a brief description of the following: product/service; the marketplace the product or service meets; evidence of satisfying the market need; the advantage over similar or previous versions of this product; how the product benefits Michigan’s economy; and why the product/service is unique.

The application cycle for the 2015 award is now closed.
Please check back here for the updated application process for the 2016 Small Business Innovation Award after September 1, 2015.

Main Street USA Award

This award is given to a client of the Michigan SBDC who received substantial services from the Michigan SBDC programs that have resulted in a positive impact on the company in areas like access to capital, jobs created, development and implementation of a strategic plan, entry into new markets, etc.

Considerations for the award are identified by Michigan SBDC Regional Directors and Consultants. The pool of possible awardees is narrowed down and identified early February and announced with all of the MCSB awardees in mid to late March. If you have any questions about the Main Street Award, please feel free to contact Hanna Burmeister at 616-331-7489 or

Government Contracting Award

This award goes to a client of the Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs) of Michigan. Nominations are made through the regional Michigan PTAC offices, applications are submitted and reviewed by a carefully selected judging panel. The company recognized is chosen based on a clear set of criteria, including: profitable product/service niche and follow on contract awards received. The Government Contractor of the Year will be announced mid March and recognized at Michigan Celebrates Small Business Gala Event in May.

Small Business Administration Awards

Each year the SBA’s Michigan District Office is accepts nominations for its Small Business Awards. Winners will all be honored at the Michigan Celebrates Small Business event in May. The SBA will be announcing soon the Awards that will make up the recognition program they intend to pursue for 2016. Keep a watch here for those awards listings and the process to nominate or apply for those awards. For more information immediately, you can email

The below are the Awards that were made in 2015. The categories are likely to be the same or very similar.

Small Business Person of the Year

For developing an outstanding, growing business; innovative product(s), increasing jobs, increasing sales, overcoming adversity, and community contributions. Criteria include:

Small Business Exporter of the Year

Significantly increased export sales and profits, encouraging other firms to export, increased jobs through exports, and innovative methods of creating markets. Criteria include:

SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year:

Owner will not reach 30th birthday by June 1, 2015, three-year evidence of success in sales and profits, increased jobs, innovative products, demonstrated potential. Criteria include:

Veteran Owned Small Business

A business owned by a member of the military community including Veterans, Service-disabled veterans, Active-Duty Service Members eligible for the military’s Transition Assistance Program, reservists and National Guard members. Criteria include:

Women Owned Small Business

Small business owned by 51% by a woman or women with outstanding growth, innovative product(s), increasing jobs, increasing sales, overcoming adversity, and community contributions. Criteria include: