Dream Big Awards
ASBN recently attended the Small Business Master Class in Atlanta presented by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and had the privilege of speaking with Megan Trzcinski. Megan is Senior Manager, Member Relations for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and leads the charge for the 2018 Dream Big Awards.

The Dream Big Small Business of the Year Awards Program celebrates the success of small business and honors its contributions to America’s economic growth. If eligible, applicants will be considered for the Dream Big Small Business of the Year Award as well as take home $25,000 to contribute to the growth of their own small business.

Be sure not to miss this opportunity to be honored among the best. Entries are due July 20, 2018. To find out more about the awards, eligibility, and submissions, please visit https://www.smallbusinessseries.com/dream-big-awards/

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT

Jim Fitzpatrick: We’re with Megan Trzcinski, who’s with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Welcome to ASBN.

Megan Trzcinski: Hi, thanks so much for having me.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah, so we hear so much about the big dream awards. For the people that are watching right now, tell us what that is, what it means, and-

Megan Trzcinski: Sure.

Jim Fitzpatrick: And how they can get involved?

Megan Trzcinski: Sure, so the dream big awards are put on annually by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and it’s really to celebrate the hard work and achievements of small business owners from across the country. So whether you be a woman-owned business or veteran-owned business, we just want to highlight the ways that you’re promoting economic growth in America, and all the hard work that you put work into your community locally, nationally, all that good stuff.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure, sure. So this is for businesses that are currently up and running. This isn’t for somebody that’s, it’s not for start-ups, per se.

Megan Trzcinski: Correct. We have a category called our emerging business award. It’s for companies who’ve been around for one to three years.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Okay.

Megan Trzcinski: And so it’s celebrate those start-ups, as well as companies who are legacy who are family-owned, multi-generational.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah.

Megan Trzcinski: You name it, we probably have an award to celebrate it.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah, and is there any limit of the size of these companies?

Megan Trzcinski: Sure, so we ask that they be a small business that has 250 employees or less.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Okay.

Megan Trzcinski: And that you make under $20 million per revenue 2016 and 2017, and so you can have a company that has 300 employees but you make a little bit over, excuse me, you make a little bit under $20 million per year in revenue.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right.

Megan Trzcinski: Or you’re a company that has 15 employees and you’re making a little bit over $20 million per year.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Okay.

Megan Trzcinski: So it’s that, it’s an or, not really an and.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Okay, got you. You’ve just rattled off an entire-

Megan Trzcinski: I know.

Jim Fitzpatrick: There’s so many different companies that fit into that.

Megan Trzcinski: Yes, yes.

Jim Fitzpatrick: So there’s a lot that, so talk to us a little bit about what somebody has to do in order to register and qualify.

Megan Trzcinski: Sure, sure, so we have a website. It’s uschamber.com/dreambig. On there you’ll find our application. It takes about 45 minutes and it’s really to tell us your story.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Okay.

Megan Trzcinski: So how you got started, number of employees you have.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right.

Megan Trzcinski: Your local and state chamber involvement, what you do with your community, your employee benefits that you provide whether it be flexible work schedule, a foosball table in the conference room.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right.

Megan Trzcinski: Healthcare. It’s really, we want to hear from you and learn more about what you’re doing as a small business.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Okay. In addition to giving back to the community, I would imagine that’s a big part of it too?

Megan Trzcinski: Yes, it is, it is. We have actually last year’s winner from Iowa, Golden Openings. We were just so impressed with the ways that they gave back to their community, whether it be through non-profit fundraisers or literacy events. They just really did some great stuff. It was amazing to see their hard work.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Oh, that’s great, that’s great. So talk to us about the selection process.

Megan Trzcinski: Sure, so we have a panel of judges who review the applications. They’re academics and professionals as well as small business owners themselves.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Okay.

Megan Trzcinski: And they look to see are you a business that’s growing? Are you giving back to your community? Are you involved with your local or state chamber? Are you doing something unique for customer retention? They look at it all organically and whole and go from there.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah, sure. And right now is a great time to either start a business or be in business.

Megan Trzcinski: It is.

Jim Fitzpatrick: With all of the economic indicators out there.

Megan Trzcinski: Yes, we actually just released Q2 of our small business index with MetLife, and we saw that optimism is once again rising.

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s great.

Megan Trzcinski: We’re hopeful that small business owners talk with their CPAs to sort of see how they can get the benefits and the recent changes in tax code, and sort of reinvesting in their business.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah, that’s been a huge thing.

Megan Trzcinski: It has been.

Jim Fitzpatrick: And for the people that don’t know what the U.S. Chamber of Commerce does, kind of give us the 101 because I know there might be some business owners-

Megan Trzcinski: Sure.

Jim Fitzpatrick: And entrepreneurs that are watching today that go, “We’re familiar with our local chamber of commerce.”

Megan Trzcinski: Yes.

Jim Fitzpatrick: “But maybe not the U.S., so talk to us about that.”

Megan Trzcinski: So we advocate on behalf of business at a federal level, and so if there’s a federal regulation that’s, you know, impacting our small businesses, we go and we talk to the leaders on the hill and say, “Hey, you know, did you know that Sally down in DeKalb can’t open up her bakery because it’s this random amount of feet from a curb that makes no sense,” or you know-

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right.

Megan Trzcinski: Those sort of things, the federal regulations.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah, sure. I know you guys are on the forefront of all things business in D.C. You’re doing a great job.

Megan Trzcinski: Thank you.

Jim Fitzpatrick: For those people that want more information about the dream big awards, we’ll have that on our website. In fact, they’re going to be able to click onto a web banner-

Megan Trzcinski: Great.

Jim Fitzpatrick: That we’ll have set up that will take them over to your website for them to go ahead and register and such, so that’s great. What is the deadline by the way for this?

Megan Trzcinski: So deadlines for applications are July 20th.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Okay.

Megan Trzcinski: And one thing that I’d be silly not to mention, the winner of the dream big small business award-

Jim Fitzpatrick: Ah! Let’s talk about that. Yeah.

Megan Trzcinski: They will receive a $25,000 cash prize.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Nice.

Megan Trzcinski: So, I mean it is big.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah.

Megan Trzcinski: And you also receive some national recognition. There’s a big gala in Washington, D.C. in conjunction-

Jim Fitzpatrick: Oh, that’s great.

Megan Trzcinski: With the small business summit, so it’s a moment to celebrate.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure.

Megan Trzcinski: And to party.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah, but $25,000, man-

Megan Trzcinski: Yes.

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s not just a, that’s not just a, you know, a trophy for your mantel. This is the real deal.

Megan Trzcinski: Right, right. We’ve had some folks who have been able to reinvest in their business whether it buy new equipment.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure.

Megan Trzcinski: Be able to hire a new employee.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure.

Megan Trzcinski: So it’s a great program. I’m so proud to be a part of it.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah. Or if you’re just a small business owner and need a great vacation.

Megan Trzcinski: Yes, yes.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Take the 25 grand for that too.

Megan Trzcinski: Yes.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Well, Megan Trzcinski, thank you so much for joining us on ASBN.

Megan Trzcinski: Thank you so much for having me.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Really appreciate it.

Megan Trzcinski: So great.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Hopefully we can have you back as the event gets closer.

Megan Trzcinski: Yes.

Jim Fitzpatrick: And kind of do a follow-up.

Megan Trzcinski: I’d love that. Thanks so much.

Jim Fitzpatrick: It would be great. Thank you.

Megan Trzcinski: Thank you.

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