By: Cally Smith, Vice President of Membership & Brand Strategy

If you have spent any amount of time at a Roanoke Regional Chamber event, you have most likely heard about the Small Business Awards. This event, much like other Chamber events, is your opportunity to make connections with the business community. What you might have missed is what makes this event truly special. Here are five reasons why Small Business Awards is my favorite Chamber event:

1. Humble beginnings – The Small Business Awards ceremony started in 1986 as a lunch program with less than 50 attendees. Fast forward 30 years, and this event is the Chamber’s most attended banquet program with nearly 600 attendees each year.

2. Missed Connections – So I know we constantly talk about networking (I know I’m kind of over that word too) however this event is a lot different. Every single year I meet new people at Small Business Awards – whether you consider yourself a networking novice or a networking expert you will find kindred spirits and quite possibly that elusive contact you have been trying to connect with for weeks.

3. American Hustle – Roanoke is home to some incredible entrepreneurs. From multigenerational family businesses to one person shops with a big dream, the Small Business Awards has them all. Learning about the exceptional work these business owners are doing makes it easy to be proud of your hometown. Many of our nominees have been participating in the Small Business Awards for 10+ years. This night is our opportunity to celebrate their accomplishments and put them in the spotlight.

4. We Heart the Arts – Our region is home to a vibrant community of arts and culture organizations. The Small Business Awards ceremony pays homage to this community and our other not-for-profit organizations by highlighting them alongside the small businesses. I’m so glad I don’t have the difficult job of choosing a winner among these remarkable organizations … unfortunately there cannot be an 18-way tie.

5. 5 Star Review – My favorite thing about Small Business Awards is the way businesses are selected to participate. This year, business leaders in our region identified nearly 300 businesses as deserving of being named the 2018 Small Business of the Year. I love seeing businesses build each other up by taking the time to say “you deserve to be recognized,” and that is what Small Business Awards is all about.

The good news is, you still can make the Small Business Awards your favorite Chamber event too. Make sure you experience this event with us on November 1 by registering today. You know you need dinner anyway….