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KOSBE accepting entries in business contest

Staff Report • Oct 17, 2009 at 12:00 AM

KINGSPORT — The Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce Office of Small Business Development & Entrepreneurship (KOSBE) is now accepting applications and nominations for its annual KOSBE business awards.

The awards will be separated into five areas of competition. One award will be presented to a young entrepreneur under age 40; one will be given for a new business in operation for at least 12 months but not more than 36 months; one award will be presented for business excellence for a company employing less than 10 people; one will be given for business excellence for a company employing 10 or more people; and one “Impact Award” will be presented to an outstanding individual and small business advocate nominated by one of the competing businesses.

Selections will be made based on reported past financial performance, growth in number of employees, business staying power and history, story of success overcoming adversity, community involvement, marketing creativity, and presented strategies for growth.

The competition is open to legal residents of the United States who are at least 18 years of age at the time of entry, or legally established small business entities carrying on business for tax purposes in the city of Kingsport. Entries must consist of no more than 150 employees, and the 2008 reported revenue of the business must not exceed $10 million.

Five businesses and two individuals were selected as winners from 38 applicants and nominations in 2008. Weston Leonard of Elixir Media Group won the Young Entrepreneur Award; Sherrie St. Germain of Café N’Orleans won the New Business Award; Charles Phillips of Flowers by CopperCreek won in the Business Excellence category for businesses with two to nine employees. Larry Burris of Lake Pointe Advertising and Awards won the Business Excellence Award for businesses with 10 to 29 employees. Peggy Helton and Sandy Jarnigan of Interim Healthcare of East Tennessee won the Business Excellence Award for businesses with 30 to 150 employees.

Charlie Dotson of TCI Group won the Impact Award after being nominated by Paige Goforth, owner and founder of Tutoring Solutions and winner of a KOSBE award in 2007.

In addition, Dr. Jerry Miller received an Achievement Award for his years of work with Holston Medical Group, which he founded in 1977.

“Last year’s event proved to be a great networking opportunity for more than 125 business leaders in our community, and we are looking forward to a record turnout this year to show support for the strength of small business in Kingsport,” said this year’s awards chairman, Angie Chapman, a partner and investment advisor representative for Integrity Capital Management.

Several changes have been implemented for this year’s awards program, including the addition of three nonlocal judges from Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the State of Tennessee Economic & Community Development Business Enterprise Resource Office and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The contest this year also requires a $25 application fee that includes one free ticket to the awards celebration event.

In addition, applicants will be encouraged (but not required) to submit a two-minute video along with their application.

Each winner will receive a KOSBE helm award on stage, recognition during Kingsport Chamber and KOSBE events, digital award emblem to display on their company literature and Web site, spotlight on Kingsport Chamber and KOSBE Web sites, recognition in the Kingsport Times-News, and one free class enrollment (valued at $800) in the two-day class titled “Achieving World-Class Results” offered by Pal’s Business Excellence Institute.

“The publicity and credibility associated with winning this competition alone is invaluable to a small business owner, and a stepping stone that can lead to the business growth and personal fulfillment that they desire,” said KOSBE Executive Director Aundrea Wilcox.

Nomination forms are available at the Office of Small Business inside the Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce, at 151 E. Main St., in downtown Kingsport, or online at www.kosbe.org. Deadline to submit entries is Oct. 30. The finalists and winners will be announced at a recognition and celebration event Dec. 10.

The title sponsor of the 2009 Annual KOSBE Awards is Southeast Community Capital. Additional sponsors include Citizens Bank, Clark & Company Development, GTS Refreshment Services, Integrity Capital Management, Kingsport Times-News, Leinbach Building Services, Pal’s Business Excellence Institute, Plastic Surgery Center of East Tennessee, Triten Insurance & Financial Services Inc., Urban Synergy, and Wilson Worley Moore Gamble & Stout PC.

For more information visit www.kosbe.org or call (423) 392-8811.

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