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About the Awards

About the Awards

SAVE THE DATE!  Saturday evening, February 24, 2018 – 17th Annual Awards Dinner & Gala. Tickets on Sale Jan. 1, 2018!

About the 25 Under 25® Awards

As part of its 10-year anniversary celebration in 2002, Thinking Bigger Business Media Inc. launched the annual 25 Under 25® Awards to recognize 25 outstanding Kansas City businesses with under 25 employees.

Until the 25 Under 25® Awards, no formal recognition program existed in the Kansas City area that specifically targeted businesses with fewer than 25 employees. Yet this segment of business comprises the largest number of companies both locally and nationally, with roughly 83 percent of Kansas City area and 86 percent of businesses nationwide employing 19 or fewer employees.

With the establishment of the 25 Under 25® Awards program, small businesses are being recognized for the significant role they play in the Kansas City economy. The 25 Under 25® Awards program is not just about honoring individual businesses—it’s also about opening the public’s eyes to the economic, social and community impact of small businesses.

Awards Criteria & Selection Process

  • Employ fewer than 25 full-time employees (or full-time equivalents)
  • Operate a for-profit business for three or more years
  • Be located within the Greater Kansas City area

Nominations are accepted from the business community from August to mid-October each year. Qualified nominees complete an application and provide additional support materials that are reviewed by a panel of third-party judges from the business community. The panel of judges reviews the applicants and selects the final 25 honorees according to the following:

  • Financial stability
  • Ability to overcome obstacles/adversity/challenges
  • Community involvement/service
  • Distinguishing or defining characteristics/qualities
  • Company vision

The 25 finalists are announced in mid-December, and events are scheduled from January through March of the following year to honor the finalists. Honorees are profiled in a special 25 Under 25® supplement in the February issue of Thinking Bigger Business magazine and are invited to be guests on the “Smart Companies” radio show. In addition, a pre-gala dinner is held for the honorees in mid-February. The events culminate in a black tie optional awards Dinner & Gala held in late February or early March. The 25 Under 25® Dinner & Gala features a cocktail reception, Wall of Fame, dinner and awards presentation, and live band with dancing.

 25 Under 25® Signature Events

The annual 25 Under 25 Awards features three signature events:

  • The Alumni Reunion – Held each year in mid-January, the Alumni Reunion gives previous classes of winners the opportunity to reconnect with each other and meet the new class. By invitation only.
  • VIP Reception – The VIP Reception is a pre-gala event for the 25 honorees, sponsors, judges, and the 25 Under 25®advisory committee. Held in mid-February each year, this event is an opportunity for the 25 finalists to meet fellow honorees and other VIPs associated with the 25 Under 25® event. By invitation only.
  • Awards Dinner & Gala – The evening extravaganza features a networking reception, Wall of Fame, sit-down dinner and a choreographed awards ceremony highlighted with music and video featuring the honored companies. Live band and dancing follows. In addition to honoring the 25 winners, we also present the Entrepreneurial Legacy Award. The Legacy award is presented to an individual in the community whose contributions have created an environment in which entrepreneurs can thrive. Dress: Black tie optional; formal business attire. Open to the public.

Additionally, alumni are invited to attend special events throughout the year to stay connected, share ideas, and learn new business strategies.

Photo and Video Highlights

Enjoy 25 Under 25 event photo and video highlights from previous years.

Special Print Supplement

Thinking Bigger Business prints a special annual 25 Under 25® supplement in the February issue of its monthly magazine.

For information about placing congratulatory ads or messages to the honorees, please contact an account executive at (913) 432-6690(913) 432-6690 or send an e-mail to kscanlon@ithinkbigger.com.



  1. (913) 432-6690
  2. PO Box 754
        Shawnee Mission, KS
  3. editor@ithinkbigger.com


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