The Small Business of the Year awards coincide with National Small Business Week which recognizes the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners.
Small businesses account for approximately 85% of the Hampton Roads Chamber’s total membership and we do everything possible to ensure their success. The Small Business of the Year Awards is one of many ways we support our small business members.
The Hampton Roads Chamber is the premier pro-business organization serving as an Impactful Advocate, Powerful Economic Partner, Inspiring Ignitor, and Regional Collaborator in order to set the conditions for other businesses to be successful, large and small.
2022 Small Business of the Year Award Nominations
The Hampton Roads Chamber and the Small Business Development Center of Hampton Roads are proud to provide special recognition to the Hampton Roads small business community by presenting an award to one business from each of the five Southside cities and one from the Peninsula.
One small business of these six will then be chosen as the 2022 Hampton Roads Chamber Small Business of the Year. Small businesses are the backbone of our local and national economies, representing more than 95 percent of all employers, creating three-fourths of all new jobs, and accounting for more than one-half of the nation’s gross domestic product.
For more than 30 years, the Hampton Roads Chamber has recognized one exceptional small business owner for his or her tireless work and embodiment of the spirit of enterprise.
Deadline for all Nominations is January 14, 2022
Application deadline for all nominees is February 17, 2022
A business must meet the following requirements to receive the 2022 Hampton Roads Chamber Small Business of the Year Award:
Small Business of the Year
250 employees or less as established in the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS)
Gross revenues of less than $10 million in 2021
Be in business for more than three consecutive years
Eligible applicants will be judged on the following:
Financial performance and business history
Staff training and motivation
Customer service and satisfaction
Business plan or strategies and goals
Strategy for growth
Nominating and Judging Process
Small businesses are encouraged to apply directly for the award. In addition, associations, financial institutions, and other companies may nominate small businesses that meet the award’s requirements. Judging is done by a committee of experts after all applications have been received.
For more information on the 2022 Hampton Roads Chamber, Small Business of the Year Awards contacts Lianna Arbitter.
If you choose to Download the Application, submit your completed application to:
Hampton Roads Chamber
Attention: Lianna Arbitter
101 West Main Street, Suite
800 Norfolk, VA 23510
All applications must be received no later than February 17, 2022, by 5:00 PM to qualify.
The 2021 Hampton Roads Chamber Small Business of the Year Awards pays tribute to the small business community. Six finalists representing each of the five Southside cities and the Peninsula will be recognized at the awards presentation luncheon being held in May during National Small Business Week for his or her business’s accomplishments and community involvement.
At this ceremony, the overall regional winner will be announced from these candidates and will be placed in consideration for the U.S. Chamber Small Business of the Year Awards Competition.
The overall regional winner will also receive a gift packet from the Hampton Roads Chamber valued at $10,000.
- Small Business Application-Specific questions pertaining to application questions– contact Jim Carroll at 757.664.2595 for more info.
- February 17, 2022 - Application Deadline - All applications due by 5:00 p.m.
- May 2022 - Hampton Roads Chamber Small Business Awards Luncheon held during National Small Business Week.
2021 Hampton Roads Small Business of the Year
A panel of judges selected a Small Business of the Year from each of the five cities of South Hampton Roads and one from Western Hampton Roads. The business with the highest cumulative score will be announced as the Hampton Roads Small Business of the Year at the event. Thank you to Southern Bank, our Small Business of the Year Awards Presenting Sponsor.
2020 Small Business of the Year: Hubbard Peanut Company
And the winner is… The Hubbard Peanut Company! The Hampton Roads Chamber announced the 2020 Hampton Roads Small Business of the Year winner at a ceremony on July 16. Lynn Rabil said "These are daunting times. There are a lot of distractions that can pull you. If you are able to lean together with an organization like the Chamber, what seems to be a mountain is a hill." Her son, Marshall Rabil, accepted the award on stage.
The judging committee was impressed with this strong family-owned company's growth. Based in Sedley, Virginia, The Hubbard Peanut Company (Hubs Peanuts) was named the Small Business of the Year for Western Hampton Roads. This year, they are expanding their operations to a retail-based community hub in Franklin's former Farm Fresh building.
2020 Suffolk Small Business of the Year
The Suffolk Small Business of the Year is Music Makes You Happy Entertainment. What started as a DJ company in Suffolk with one employee has grown to include offices in Richmond and Coastal Virginia and currently employs ten people. From 2011 to today, Chris Rice and his team have been bringing the party to Virginia events.
2020 Norfolk Small Business of the Year
The Norfolk Small Business of the Year is Phillips and Peters, PLLC. Kim Phillips and her partner Corrynn Peters established their family law practice ten years ago. They intentionally set out to create an environment of teamwork amongst their attorneys and staff to best serve their clients. Their motto is "Helping you move forward."
The Hampton Roads Chamber also honored Kim Phillips with the Leadership Award for her significant impact on workplace culture, commitment to the community, and leadership. "It’s easy to lead during good times. Now we have to make tough decisions every day."
2020 Virginia Beach Small Business of the Year
The Virginia Beach Small Business of the Year is Inter-Op. Bruce Hacker started the company in 2004 as a software development firm. As a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy who served as a Navy supply and logistics officer before entering civilian life, he knew how to pivot. His creative team was able to shift to new ventures after the economic recession of 2009. By reworking the business model, they emerged a more robust and better company than before. Inter-Op now has 65 employees who work across five states.
2020 Portsmouth Small Business of the Year
The Portsmouth Small Business of the Year is Warrant Realty. Michael Steverson and Richard Barbee met 30 years ago while serving in the Coast Guard. In 2013, they used all their military training to create Warrant Realty. Seven years later, they have grown to nine agents and are operating in two local cities. The core values of the US Coast Guard are Warrant Realty: Honor, Respect, and Devotion to Duty.
2020 Chesapeake Small Business of the Year
The Chesapeake Small Business of the Year is Array Digital. This award-winning website design and digital marketing agency generates awareness for companies throughout Hampton Roads. Formed in 2017 with the merger of two companies, both partners wanted to control their lives and create magic for their customers.
Top-to-Watch for 2020
2020 Non-Profit of the Year
Mercy Chefs of Portsmouth is the 2020 Non-Profit of the Year. The judges were impressed with their passion for serving meals for victims, volunteers, and first responders.
2020 Entrepreneur of the Year
Caroline Taylor of Taylor Made Diagnostics is the 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year. The judges cited her growth in helping industrial and commercial customers meet their compliance needs by developing a mobile health service to keep employees at work. “My words of encouragement to those on the cusp, apply discipline and consistency. Fall down 7 times and get up 8. Pray every day.
2019 Small Business of the Year: The Dirty Buffalo
Pictured left: 2019 Hampton Roads Small Business of the Year - The Dirty Buffalo
2018 Small Business of the Year: SimIS, Inc.