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Welcome to the 2015 Small Business Influencers Awards produced by Small Business Trends and Smallbiztechnology.com (collectively referred to as "we" or "us").
The six main Influencer categories are as follows:
• News Outlets (media companies, newspapers, magazines, broadcasting companies)
• Corporations (providers of products and services to the small business market, and non-profit organizations, educational institutions, and advocacy and support organizations)
• Journalists (individual journalists, reporters, editors, broadcasters, bloggers, podcasters, freelance writers)
• Leaders (executives, academics, government officials, or key employees who are part of organizations serving the small business market)
• Experts (mavens, authors, speakers, consultants, advocates, professionals such as lawyers or CPAs)
• Apps (software applications, software as a service or SaaS, mobile apps, tablet apps)
In addition, there will be 2 special categories: for Small Business Marketing Campaign of the Year, Small Business Growth Story of the Year. These two special categories are designed to showcase situations where small business influencers have helped their clients or customers achieve great results.
To be eligible, people must reside in or organizations must be based in North America. Entrants must be involved in supporting, assisting, serving or enabling small businesses, through products, services, information and/or expertise used by those in the small business market.
Final judging will be based on the impact on and degree of influence that nominees bring to small businesses.
A person or organization may be nominated in one main category (i.e. the same person or organization will not be included in more than one category). A nomination may also be submitted for the same person or organization in the two special categories. If a person or organization is nominated in more than one main category, we will decide in our sole discretion, the appropriate category in which to place them. There is no fee and no purchase is required to submit a nomination or vote. The nomination period runs from July 1, 2015 at 3:00 pm Eastern time through October 15, 2015 at 2:59 pm Eastern time (New York time).
There will be a period for the community to show their support through voting, from October 16, 2015 at 3:00 pm Eastern time through November 5, 2015 at 2:59 pm Eastern time (New York time). Any person may cast votes. One vote per nominee per person is permitted. You may vote for as many different nominees as you like.
You may vote for yourself, your organization and your favorite Influencers, and then use the share buttons and badges to encourage your networks and followers to do the same.
It is permissible to encourage others to vote for you, your organization or any nominee. However, you may not buy votes or promise or reward people with monetary compensation in exchange for voting. Violation will result in disqualifying votes and/or complete disqualification, as determined in our sole discretion, and our decision is final.
We reserve the right to disqualify community votes that are machine-generated or follow an "unnatural" voting pattern, or show other irregularities, as demonstrated by our server logs. The decision to allow or disqualify votes for irregularities will be made in our sole discretion, and our decision is final.
Our esteemed Judges in a given year are not eligible for inclusion on the same year's Top 100 Influencer Champions list, but will be deemed "Influencers Emeritus." The Judges are tasked to vote for persons and organizations who, in their opinion and judgment, have accomplished something to influence the small business community in a meaningful way. Judges have agreed to abstain from voting for persons, companies or organizations in which they have a financial interest.
Top 100 Champions
The Top 100 Influencer Champions is a judged Award taking into account the contributions of the nominee based on the Judges’ knowledge and experience. One of many factors the Judges take into account will be the level of community support.
The Judges may in their discretion determine that an additional number receive "Special Mentions."
Even though there are six main categories, in order to achieve Top 100 Influencer status, there will not necessarily be equal representation from each of the six categories.
The two special categories will each have a winner.
The official Judges' announcement of winners will be made in November 2015.
In addition to the Top 100 Influencer Champions, there will be Community Choice Awards given to the top 5 popular-vote getters in each of the six main categories. The Community Choice Awards are a special recognition based 100% on the number of popular votes, and are separate and distinct from the Top 100 Champions.
The Community Choice Awards are based solely on the popular vote. The top 5 vote getters in each of 6 main categories will be named as Community Choice Award winners. The Community Choice Award winners will be recognized online and are permitted to display an official Community Choice winner’s insignia.
For the 2 special award categories - Marketing Campaign and Growth Story - only the top vote getter in each special category will be named a Community Choice Winner.
Champions, Special Mentions and Community Choice winners will receive, according to their respective designation, the following:
- Recognition online and in press releases.
- The right to display winner and nominated Web badges
- Champions may purchase an award trophy.
- Champions, Special Mentions and Community Choice winners are eligible to purchase additional trophies, reprints, photographs and other official indicia of their winner status.
We reserve the right to extend the nomination and voting period (e.g., if the website experiences technical difficulties and people are unable to nominate or vote for any extended period; that would be one reason among other possible reasons which could warrant extending the voting period).
We also reserve the right to edit nominations and place them in a category which is different from the category originally submitted.
We also reserve the right to screen nominations and, in our editorial judgment, not include on the website's official nomination list, persons and organizations which have been nominated by someone in the community, if insufficient contributions to the small business market appear in the submission. We apologize if this offends anyone, however we do not have an unlimited amount of space on the website which can be dedicated to the nominations.
We also reserve the right to add to, delete from and amend these rules at any time and without prior notice and to waive any and all provisions in these rules and any irregularities in the operation of this initiative.
Updated: September 3, 2015