Rural-Owned Small Business of the Year

Following are evaluation/selection criteria for the Rural-Owned Small Business of the Year Award

  1. Evidence of success as measured by sales and profits.
  2. Increased employment opportunities created by the nominee’s business.
  3. Development and/or utilization of innovative or creative business method.
  4. Demonstrated entrepreneurial potential necessary for long-term business success and economic growth.
  5. Other accomplishments demonstrating effectiveness in improving the environment for the creation and expansion of businesses owned and operated in rural areas.
  6. SBA assistance to help the business grow preferred but not required.  This includes assistance by one of the resource partners such as SCORE, Grace Hill WBC, Veteran’s Business Resource Center, or the Small Business and Technical Development Center.

In evaluating the nomination packages, the judges will look at the following criteria:

  1. Staying power — a substantiated history as an established business; including:
    • Number of years in business; minimum three years.
    • Sustained expansion, addition of territories, growth in square footage occupied.
    • Steady growth in net worth as evidenced by total assets less total liabilities on fiscal year end annual balance sheets over three years.
  2. Growth in number of employees — a benchmark to judge the impact of the business on the job market.
    • Sustained over a minimum of three years.
    • Increase over the three years must be in excess of growth in Gross National Product.
  3. Increase in sales and/or unit volume — an indication of continued growth over the last three years.
    • Consistent growth in net income as evidenced by fiscal year annual profit-and-loss statements for a minimum of the last three years.
  4. Current and past financial performance — financial reports substantiate an improved financial position of the business.
    • Profit-and-loss statements for the last three years, reflecting sustained upward growth.
    • Balance sheets for the last three years, showing consistent increase in net worth and/or partners’ return.
  5. Innovativeness of product or service offered — an illustration of the creativity and imagination of the nominee.
    • Specific description of uniqueness of product or service.
    • Explanation of how product or service fits a niche not being adequately addressed by the competition.
  6. Response to adversity — examples of problems faced in the nominee’s business and the methods used to solve them, including:
    • Specific description of financial, physical, legal or other crisis.
    • Substantiation of the threat to the continuity of the business.
    • Defined actions taken by the nominee to resolve the crisis.
  7. Contributions to community-oriented projects — evidence of the use of his/her personal time and resources, including:
    • Listing of specific contributions of money, time, or resources to charitable causes.
    • Membership in councils boards and clubs providing support and services to the community.
  8. If applicable, a description of the products exported and markets served.