Small business award now provides $50K in cash and prizes, chance for winner to pay it forward

New for the seventh annual Indie Award, independent businesses have a chance to not only reinvest in themselves through a $5,000 cash prize and a branding, advertising and public relations makeover, but also to pay it forward through a $1,000 cash donation to their favorite small business group. Independent We Stand, sponsored by Stihl Inc., invites both the public and business owners to help promote the importance and strong economic benefits of “buying local.” The winner will receive a prize package valued at $50,000.

Getting involved is as easy as nominating locally owned small businesses that go above and beyond to support their communities through charitable donations and community outreach. The web-driven small-business-of-the-year contest also gives supporters the opportunity to acknowledge businesses that exceed customer service expectations and grow their local economies. This year, the winner will have the chance to give back through the award.

“What better way is there for an independent business to increase its impact than by giving to the very organizations that help them succeed in their communities?” said Bill Brunelle, co-founder of Independent We Stand. “This year, in addition to a much larger prize package featuring an extensive marketing makeover and $5,000 in cash, our winner gets additional bonus cash to share. We want to help bolster the efforts to grow small business, just like our members do every day in their communities, by helping the winner not only grow their own business but pay it forward, too.”

Anyone can nominate a small business at Voting begins as soon as a business is nominated. Votes can only be submitted once every 24 hours. Any locally owned and operated business in the United States is eligible to enter the contest. Nominate and vote at The nomination phase and initial voting run through Nov. 12.

In addition to $5,000 in cash and $1,000 for the winner’s favorite small business group, the winner of the 2017 Indie Award will receive:

  • Branding, advertising and public relations makeover from an independent advertising agency — The Meridian Group
  • 12-month subscription and three months of free managed marketing services from SnapRetail (valued at $1,696)
  • $1,000 Stihl equipment certificate
  • Three-day/two-night retreat and branding workshop in Virginia Beach, Va. (valued at $1,000)
  • Plaque to display at winner’s business
  • Public relations and social media recognition
  • Quarterfinalists receive an Independent We Stand Premium Membership, for life

Nominations and quarterfinalist voting runs through Nov. 12. Quarterfinalist voting begins on Nov. 20 and ends on Dec. 10. The announcement of The Indie winner will be made on Dec. 13.

Previous winners include:

  • A.Dodson’s: a retail and gift shop with three locations in Virginia featuring a round-up program for charities of its customers’ choosing
  • Trio Hardware: a hardware and paint shop located in New York that proudly sponsors local sports teams and a high school robotics team
  • Life’s Memories & More: a scrapbooking store in Massachusetts whose charitable crafting efforts include supporting the military through a greeting card program and knitting scarves for breast cancer awareness

To nominate and vote for your favorite small business, visit