Deadline Today for This Year’s Small Business ROCK STARS Awards

Kim Wade

Monday, October 31st, 2016

We all recognize that small businesses are an important part of our state’s economy, but did you know that almost 98 percent of the businesses in Georgia employ fewer than 100 employees? 

That’s why the Small Business ROCK STARS recognition is returning for its fourth year.  This awards program is sponsored by the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) and the Georgia Economic Developers Association (GEDA) to recognize the outstanding, unique and impactful small businesses in Georgia. 

According to Mary Ellen McClanahan, Director of Entrepreneur and Small Business for GDEcD, the ROCK STARS recognition salutes the risks, innovations, outreach and impact of small businesses. 

“Instead of focusing on jobs and investments, we are focusing on the unique approaches these companies use to take them to the next level,” she said. “Maybe they have started exporting goods … or maybe they are using a new marketing approach or adding a complementary new line or reached out through social media and really increased their revenue by bringing in new hires and bringing more spending to an area. It all comes down to the unique approaches they took.”

McClanahan added that the competition is two-pronged: it raises awareness of small business throughout the state, and it also helps the small businesses who apply to do some research on the services offered to them through state programs and incentives.

“It has worked,” she said. “We have received more and more nominations each year, and we and the ROCK STARS get more press each year.”

Aside from the award, the ROCK STARS receive publicity like radio interviews, photos on websites and features in future print advertising. 

“I also have companies send me news as to what has happened since they received their ROCK STARS award … and there are so many successes. … They get to tell their stories, and they are still rock stars; it’s a fantastic story.”

The deadline to enter is Oct. 31. To nominate yourself for the Georgia Small Business ROCK STARS awards, small businesses need to go to and fill out the form. 

McClanahan said the entries are viewed by five judges, separately. The entries receive points based on a scale of one to five based on specific criteria and how they may have reached out to state or local resources. 

“We don’t pre-select a certain number of winners but we see who rises to the top,” she explained.  Last year there were five winners that did just that.  

For more information on the awards, go to