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Announcing the 2011 Small Business Influencer Champions

2011 Small Business Influencers - August 23, 2011 -- With 520 nominations, over 125,000 votes and thousands more Tweets and Likes, Small Business Trends and are happy to announce the Small Business Influencer 2011 Champions and Honorees. Congratulations to all nominees who participated – being nominated is itself an honor.

The Small Business Influencer 2011 awards -- sponsored by BlackBerry, Infusionsoft and Sage -- is an opportunity for individuals, companies and organizations in North America to be recognized for their commitment to small businesses. (Read more about the Awards... )


The selection process involved two stages: voting by the community (weighted at 40%) and voting by a panel of Judges (weighted at 60%).

The criteria for judging included the following:

"... a person, company or other organization that has made a meaningful and lasting impact on the North American small business market. Impact may mean (i) providing products widely used by significant numbers of small businesses, or (ii) influencing significant numbers of small businesses by being a thought leader, or (iii) providing information or services of note to significant numbers of small businesses."

The first consideration involves the numbers of small businesses influenced.

The second consideration is the way and to what extent the nominee impacts a small business.

Let’s take the fictional example of a company that sells electricity to millions of small businesses. Clearly they touch millions. But how much did that electricity-selling company influence those small businesses to be successful – either in increased efficiency, sales or profitability, or by empowering them to enter into and stay in business, or by influencing their thinking and behaviors, or by revolutionizing the way they could do business, or through other means? These are the types of questions considered in the judging process – we looked for nominees that not only reached small businesses but where the nature of the impact was significant.

Choosing only 100 Small Business Influencer Champions was beyond challenging; it was a grueling process. After all, the small business market in North America is huge. There are countless thousands who meet the above criteria – whether internationally, within their countries, within their local communities, or within their industries. One can be an “influencer” and have a giant impact within a small town or a narrow vertical industry. While for some, the numbers of small businesses they reach may not be large as others, the depth of the impact they have could be a signal of their influence.


With 520 nominees, it was tough to choose. Many were very close. Because there could only be 100 in the Champions list, we created a separate category of honorees who were very close in votes, as well as those who did not get a large popular vote but surely deserve recognition. That list of Honorable Mentions is here.


Drum roll ... congratulations ... to the following official list of 100 Small Business Influencer Champions (in alphabetical order):

Abrams, Rhonda
America's Small Business Development Center Network
Armstrong, Mario
Babson College
Ball, Alison
Barone, Lisa
Bates, Cindy
Bellamkonda, Shashi
Berry, Tim
Better Business Bureau
Black Enterprise
Blumenthal, Mike
Borders + Gratehouse
Brelsford, Harry
Brodsky, Norm
Citrix Online
Clark, Brian
Connolly, Joe
Constant Contact
Cornwall, Jeff
DeBaise, Colleen
Delaney, Laurel
Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp
Eberson, Ilana
Emerson, Melinda
Fenn, Donna
Goltz, Jay
Greene, Patricia
Gregory, Alyssa
Hewitt, John T.
HP MagCloud
Inc. Magazine
It's Your Biz
Jantsch, John
Kahn, Richard K.
Kerrigan, Karen
Kukral, Jim
Kurtz, Rod
Lawson, John
Lesonsky, Rieva
Levin, Robert
Marks, Gene
Mask, Clate
McCabe, Laurie
McCray, Becky
Merlino, Nell
Miller, Sharon
Mills, Jerry L.
National Federation of Independent Business
Nilssen, David
New York Times
O'Berry, Denise
O'Hara, Pamela
OPEN Forum
Ploeger, Nancy
Popick, Janine
Ramberg, JJ
Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center
Roth, Carol
Shah, Dharmesh
Shaheen, Jennifer
Shane, Scott
Shephard, Bob
Shinder, Marcy
Simonds, Lauren
Simmons, Michael
Stanleigh, Sean
Startup Nation
Strauss, Steve
The Guardian Life Insurance Company
University at Buffalo School of Management Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Verizon Wireless
Wall, Aaron
Wall Street Journal
Ward, Missy
Ward, Susan
Weltman, Barbara
Wood, Cheryl
Yancey, Ken


To grab an Award Badge to display to show you are a Champion, visit our Awards Badge page for a selection.

Celebrate with us at the official Awards Gala on September 13th from 6-9pm at the New York Institute of Technology Auditorium on Broadway in New York City. Influencers, nominees, judges, members of the media and the small business community will join together for an evening of celebration, networking and fun. Click here for more information on the event.

Champions, Honorable Mentions and Judges: for VIP registration to the event, please email [email protected].

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