Small business is the backbone of today's economy and plays an enormous role in the success of the Tampa Bay Chamber. Twenty-two million small businesses employ half of the country's workforce. They create two of every three new jobs, generate a majority of American innovations and will lead our nation and the world through the 21st century. 

The Tampa Bay Chamber has more than 1,200 members, 90% of which have 250 or fewer employees. Our goal is to promote the interests of these small businesses by providing programs and services that encourage professional development and to help small businesses thrive. 

Small Business of the Year Awards
Signature Event

Small Business of the Year Awards

For over 40 years, the best-of-the-best small businesses in Tampa Bay are recognized in front of a 500+ person audience at the Chamber’s most spectacular celebration of the year. More than 250 companies vie annually for the chance to take home the coveted title in 5 categories: Startup, 5–20 employees, 21–50 employees, 51–250 employees, and Outstanding Leader of the Year.

Small Business of the Year Awards Semifinalist Luncheon

This luncheon celebrates the companies who have advanced in the Small Business of the Year program to the semifinalist level. The event also acts as an information session, providing them the tools and guidance for participating in the next round of the program, panel interviews.

Small Business of the Year Awards Finalist Reception

Held two weeks prior to the main event, this evening reception is hosted in honor of our Small Business of the Year Finalists, celebrating their hard work put into the process throughout the year. This is also an opportunity to show appreciation to our Small Business Committee Members.

Circle of Champions

The Circle of Champions is a semi-annual gathering of all past winners of the Small Business of the Year Awards. In spring, members of the Circle of Champions gather to learn more from past winners who are still leading change and business in Tampa Bay. It is a great opportunity to learn more about what’s impacting businesses, hear change happening in the Tampa Bay Area, and gather in a collegial environment to share with one another.

Following the annual Small Business of the Year Awards event in the fall, members of the Circle of Champions come together once again for an evening reception to welcome the new winners.

Small Business of the Year Committee

Plans and executes the nomination and selection process of the Small Business of the Year awards and obtains sponsorships for the program.

2022 Chair

Chair Caroline Black Sikorske – Sessums Black Caballero Ficarrotta, PA

Staff Contact

Staci Fraser – Senior Director, Investor Relations

Small Business Frequently Asked Questions

Where is my first stop if I am thinking about starting a business?

The Hillsborough County Small Business Information Center (SBIC) is a great resource for assistance and information on starting a business.

Are there training courses or counseling sessions available for businesses?

Both the SBIC and the University of South Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) provide training and counseling for new and existing businesses in the Tampa Bay area.

The Chamber also hosts its Competive Edge Series, a monthly educational program designed to meet the needs of our small business members.

Where can I receive general information on starting a business?

The SBDC provides great answers to questions regarding starting a business at this link.

How do I learn about minority and women-owned certification?

The SBDC has a specific web page dedicated to common questions on minority certification.

Where can I find easy steps to register my business and obtain a license?

Find steps to obtaining a Florida business license.

Small Business Week

Every year since 1963, the President of the United States has issued a proclamation announcing National Small Business Week, which recognizes the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners.

More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year.

As part of National Small Business Week, the U.S. Small Business Administration takes the opportunity to highlight the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs, small business owners, and others from all 50 states and U.S. territories.  Every day, they’re working to grow small businesses, create 21st century jobs, drive innovation, and increase America’s global competitiveness.