Each year, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce hosts the Dream Big Awards to honor the achievements of small businesses across the country. These awards highlight small business contributions to American economic growth and perseverance in the face of a challenging environment.

“This year’s finalists show that through ongoing challenges, the creativity and can-do attitude of small business owners and entrepreneurs is stronger than ever,” Tom Sullivan, Vice President of Small Business Policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement. “[The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is] proud to host the Dream Big Awards and celebrate the very best in American small business."

To be eligible for the Dream Big Awards, a small business must be for-profit, operating for at least one year primarily within the U.S., and have less than 250 employees or have gross revenues of less than $20 million for both of the previous two years.

A total of nine awards were given for the Dream Big program on October 18, 2022. Eight winners were chosen from a record 3,000 applicants for individual business category awards, and one business won the prestigious Small Business of the Year award, which comes with a grand prize of $25,000.

Small Business of the Year: Carbon Rivers (Knoxville, TN)

Carbon Rivers is helping build a sustainable, green economy by recycling and upcycling glass fiber from various production and end-of-life waste streams. Founded by engineers and scientists, Carbon Rivers maintains and cherishes deep relationships with local industry partners and regional research institutions. These partnerships help the company provide innovative products, ideas, and solutions for automotive, energy, safety, and security industries in both the public and private sectors. Earlier this year, Carbon Rivers even collaborated with the U.S. Department of Energy on an initiative to recover and repurpose glass fiber from composite materials from things like wind turbine blades, marine vessels, and building materials.

“If you have a vision, if you have something that is marketable and you really want to make a global impact … if you want to be a disruptor in your region and in your industry, do not give up, because it’s worth it,” said David Morgan, Chief Strategy Officer of Carbon Rivers.

If you have a vision, if you have something that is marketable and you really want to make a global impact … if you want to be a disruptor in your region and in your industry, do not give up, because it’s worth it.

David Morgan, Chief Strategy Officer, Carbon Rivers

Small Business Achievement Award Winners

In addition to Small Business of the Year, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce named the following businesses as this year’s eight small business achievement award winners.

Community Support: Frank Gourmet Hot Dogs (Buffalo, NY)

Frank Gourmet Hot Dogs is passionate about making better hot dogs while bringing people in the community together. The restaurant has been making its custom brand of signature hot dogs for years, all while working with small business agriculture partners.

Emerging Business: Status Co. Leather Studio (Enterprise, AL)

With a curated collection of full-grain and top-grain leather bags and accessories, Status Co. Leather Studio represents the new era of socially responsible brands. The company is committed to providing high-quality, handcrafted products that are ethically made, durable, and earth-friendly.

Green/Sustainable: LUX Catering and Events (Salt Lake City, UT)

LUX Catering and Events is an award-winning, full-service catering and events company whose team boasts a combined lifetime of experience. As a certified B Corporation, LUX also meets the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.

[Read more: Starting a B Corporation? Here's What to Know]

LGTBQ-Owned: Crom Rehabilitation (Houston, TX)

Crom Rehabilitation provides comprehensive physical therapy and rehabilitation services in a practice deeply rooted in diversity, equity, and inclusion. This facility was among the first to offer unique physical therapy programs for the LGBTQ+ population. The Texas-based practice also partners with Legacy Community Health to provide rehabilitation services for people living with HIV.

Minority-Owned: Cha Community (formerly Waco Cha, LLC) (Waco, TX)

As Asian Americans with Chinese and Taiwanese immigrant backgrounds, the owners of Cha Community (formerly Waco Cha) had difficulty finding the beloved food and drinks of their childhood while living in central Texas. After a season of learning to cook and build community through food and tea, Cha Community was born.

Veteran-Owned: Tacoma Trophy (Lakewood, WA)

Tacoma Trophy is a retired-military, family-owned business that prides itself on being “unlike other trophy stores.” Using the latest equipment in the industry, Tacoma’s skilled team strives to transform customers’ ideas into products they’ll be proud to display.

Woman-Owned: The Pad Climbing (San Luis Obispo, CA)

Twenty years ago, The Pad Climbing was started in a small self-storage warehouse by a co-op of people who “just wanted something cool to do.” Today, the company offers climbing and functional fitness lessons across three locations, with a mission of lowering barriers to entry: The Pad Climbing offers different programs, including adaptive techniques, as well as “pay another way” financial options.

Young Entrepreneur: Beeing2gether, LLC (Louisville, KY)

Beeing2gether, LLC doesn’t just raise and breed its own honeybees; it also strives to build a sense of community around nature, food habits, and overall health. The company has also partnered with local beekeepers and farmers throughout Kentucky to help provide raw and authentic honey, made in Kentucky.

Learn more about the 2022 Dream Big Awards here.

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