The 2024 Business Recognition Award Ceremony & Annual Meeting, presented by ABC57 News, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Mid-West Family Southwest Michigan, and MoodyOnTheMarket.com, returns Friday, February 16th! Doors open at 7:00 am and the program begins at 7:30 am at Grand Upton Hall located in the Mendel Center at Lake Michigan College.

We will be announcing our new Board of Directors, the new Young Professionals Board – NextGen, recapping 2023, sharing exciting news for 2024, handing out our Business Recognition Awards, and hearing a special keynote!

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2024 Award Categories

Nominations are now CLOSED! Please check back on December 15th for the official nominee announcement.

Learn more about the award categories and how to nominate an area professional for next year below. Please note, nominees must be members of the Southwest Michigan Regional Chamber.

Award recipients are announced at the event, keeping finalists and attendees on the edge of their seats.

Best New Business Award

A new, stand out business in Southwest Michigan that has already demonstrated a level of excellence in their product category and a commitment to giving back to the community.

Criteria:

  • Time Open: The business must be between 6 months and 2 years old.
  • Growth: Has already achieved growth in any, or all, of the following: jobs provided, sales made, services or products offered, and territory served.
  • Customer Service: Has already built a reputation of exceeding customer/client expectations.
  • Community Service: Has already dedicated significant time and resources to bettering the community.

2023 Nominees

  • The Aware Lab for Movement and Creativity
  • Nature Therapy of Michiana
  • Sturgis Bank – St. Joseph & Niles Banking Centers
  • Local Pour – winner
  • Mosquito Mob
  • Stacey Martin – Freelance Writer
Non-Profit of the Year Award

A 501(c)3 organization that demonstrates excellence in providing a service to our community and/or in advocating, enabling, and empowering an underserved, underrepresented or disadvantaged population in our area.

Criteria:

  • Size: The organization must have fewer than 100 employees.
  • Mission: The mission of the organization.
  • History: A brief history of the organization.
  • Service Provided: A description of the services provided and the population they seek to benefit.
  • Excellence: The organization has demonstrated excellence in any of the following:
  • Leadership abilities, strategic planning, partnerships, alliances, effective volunteer management, fundraising initiatives, successful marketing and promotion of initiatives, and effective program development.

2023 Nominees

  • Berrien Artist Guild/Box Factory For The Arts
  • SCORE of Kalamazoo/Southwest Michigan
  • Community Fun Day
  • Children’s Advocacy Center of Southwest Michigan – winner
Small Business of the Year Award

A local small business that stands out for developing an outstanding, growing business; offering innovative product(s) and/or services, increasing jobs, increasing sales, overcoming adversity, and for making significant community contributions.

Criteria:

  • Size: The business must have fewer than 50 employees.
  • Resiliency: Has demonstrated the ability to survive during tough times.
  • Culture: Has created a positive culture of employee benefits, talent development, diversity and inclusion practices, flexibility in sick-leave policies, and mentorship for its employees.
  • Growth: Achieved growth in any, or all, of the following: jobs provided, sales made, services or products offered, and territory served.
  • Customer Service: Has built a reputation of exceeding customer/client expectations.
  • Community Service: Has dedicated significant time and resources to bettering the community.

2023 Nominees

  • Villwocks Outdoor Living
  • Ravitron
  • Parrett Company
  • Full Circle Café & Espresso Bar – winner
  • Crystal Springs Florist & Greenhouse, Inc.
  • Family Physicians of Saint Joseph
Economic Impact Award

A business that has made significant contributions to the economic vitality of the region through business growth, job creation, investment in infrastructure, and participation in other endeavors that benefit that community and its residents. The company must also exemplify excellent corporate citizenship by giving back to the community in which it operates and possess a corporate culture that enhances the lives of its employees.

Criteria:

  • Size: The business must have more than 50 employees.
  • Culture: Has created a positive culture of employee benefits, talent development, diversity and inclusion practices, flexibility in sick-leave policies, and mentorship for its employees.
  • Growth: Record of growth in any, or all, of the following: jobs provided, sales made, services or products offered, and territory served.
  • Customer Service: Has built a reputation of exceeding customer/client expectations.
  • Community Service: Has dedicated significant time and resources to bettering the community.

2023 Nominees

  • Whirlpool Corporation
  • Berrien Springs Public Schools – winner
Rising Star Award

An award that recognizes a talented professional who is considered a rising star in their field and is considered a role model for others both personally and professionally.

Criteria:

  • Age: Must be between the ages of 21-40 years old.
  • Experience: Must have one (1) or more years of professional experience in your current career.
  • Community Service: Must also be involved in community, civic, church or charitable activities.
  • Talent Development: Must have dedicated time and effort to education/career/leadership development programs as a way to achieve a higher level of knowledge and expertise in their field of business.

2023 Nominees

  • Derek Niedzwiecki, ROSTA USA
  • Josh Kitchell, Mosquito Mob – winner
  • Maureen Stroud, Shinka Sustainability Consultants
The Pat Moody Award

An award that recognizes an individual or business who has made their mark in the community.

Criteria:

  • Longevity: Has 10+ years in as an established presence in Southwest Michigan.
  • Leadership: Has served their organization or community in a leadership role.
  • Customer Service: Has built a reputation of exceeding customer’s expectations.
  • Community Service: Has dedicated significant time and resources to bettering the community.

2023 Nominees

  • Tom Starks, Starks Family Funeral Homes – winner
  • Millicent Huminsky, Southwestern Michigan Tourist Council
  • Dave Bly, Horizon Bank

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