Amazon names finalists for small biz awards

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology

An e-tail titan is also hosting “real world” sales events for small online retailers.

Amazon has announced the finalists for its first-ever Small Business Spotlight Awards, established to honor top entrepreneurs and small businesses across the country selling in Amazon’s stores. Amazon customers will select the Small Business of the Year, Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year, and Small Business Owner Under 30 of the Year by voting through Friday, Nov. 8.

Since Sept. 20, more than 1,300 U.S. small businesses have nominated themselves for the awards. Six finalists have been selected per category, based on their origin story and company vision; customer-centricity; and product innovation, selection and value. The finalists are:

Small Business of the Year:
•    Ayoba-Yo, a South African-style meat snacks company based in Fairfax, Va.
•    Baking Steel Company, which produces pizza baking steels and griddles, based in Cohasset, Mass.
•    Damhorst Toys & Puzzles, maker of wooden toys, based in Hermann, Mo.
•    EcoBark Pet Supplies, a sustainable pet products company based in Largo, Fla.
•    nutpods, which makes non-dairy, unsweetened creamers, based in Bellevue, Wash.
•    Ravenox, a ropes and hardware company based in Mount Vernon, Wash.

Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year:
•    1818 Farms, which produces bath and beauty products, based in Mooresville, Ala.
•    EazyHold, maker of grip cuffs for people with disabilities, based in Simi Valley, Calif.
•    Nerdbugs, which makes organ-shaped plush toys, based in Madison, Wis.
•    OBIA Naturals, a natural hair and skin care company based in Dallas.
•    Soul Insole, which makes foot rehabilitation products, based in San Diego.
•    Ultimation Industries, manufacturer of conveyor systems, based in Roseville, Mich.

Small Business Owner Under 30 of the Year:
•    Bedtime Bulb, maker of sleep light bulbs, based in Philadelphia.
•    Habit Nest, which makes journals to build good habits, based in Los Angeles.
•    Joe Chocolate Co., which produces caffeine-infused chocolates, based in Seattle.
•    Player Ten Games, a party games company, based in Austin, Tex.
•    Renova Medical Wear, maker of clothing for postoperative patients, based in Weehawken, N.J.
•    Watex Green Living, which makes urban garden products, based in Lake Forest, Calif.

Winners from each category will receive a prize package including six months of dedicated Amazon account management, Sponsored Products advertising credits, promotion on, and a trip to Amazon’s Seattle headquarters. Winners will be announced later this year.

Amazon is also hosting Small Business Spotlight markets on Tuesday, Oct. 15 in Nashville at the Acme Feed & Seed venue and in Washington, D.C. at the District Wharf. The events will give dozens of small business selling partners the opportunity to interact in-person with consumers and to sell their products. Customers nationwide will be able to participate in the events by watching small business interviews and presentations on Amazon Live. 

Additionally, as part of the day’s focus on small businesses, the Amazon Treasure Truck will be in more than 20 cities today, featuring a special offer on a wine preservation system from Coravin, a Massachusetts-based small business found in Amazon Storefronts.

“Small businesses across America and around the world are both our partners and our customers,” said Nicholas Denissen, Amazon VP of small business. “They are at the heart of our business and key to our success. That’s why we continue to invest billions in the infrastructure, tools and programs, such as Storefronts and these awards, to help them reach more customers and grow.”

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