Awards and Recognition


Throughout the year, the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce recognizes outstanding companies and individuals through the following awards and recognition programs:


The nomination and selection process varies for each award. Find details below, or contact Keegan Trofatter for additional information.


Human Resources Professional of the Year & Human Resources Rising Star

Each year, the S.C. Chamber and South Carolina SHRM State Council recognize the state’s top human resources professional. The award is given to an individual in the human resources field who has made significant contributions to both their organization and the community. In 2020, they will also present the 2nd annual Human Resources Rising Star award.  This award is given to an individual with fewer than 10 years' professional experience in human resources who has already made an impact.  The finalists and winner will be recognized at the Human Resources Reception in the fall of 2020. Details to be announced soon.

2020 HR Professional of the Year Application

2020 HR Rising Star Application

Safety Awards

The Safety Awards are presented annually based on companies achieving a commendable lost workday case rate during the previous calendar year. The S.C. Chamber honors the award winners with a luncheon in March. Safety Award winners represent companies across South Carolina that have made workplace safety a priority.

Submit your 2020 application here to be considered for the 2021 award cycle. 


Small Business Awards

The S.C. Chamber partners with the U.S. Small Business Administration, the S.C. Department of Commerce, the South Carolina Small Business Development Centers, SCORE, and the S.C. Manufacturing Extension Partnership to recognize local business leaders in several categories annually.  Categories include: Veteran Business Leader of the Year, Female Business Leader of the Year, Minority Business Leader of the Year, and Young Entrepreneur of the Year.  

SC awards categories are: Female Small Business Person of the Year, Minority Small Business Person of the Year, Veteran Small Business Person of the Year, Young Entrepreneur of the Year, and Exporter of the Year. For description, guidelines click here. Nominations are due directly to the SBA in January annually for all awards. 

National awards categories are: Small Business Person of the Year, Small Business Exporter of the Year, Small Business Development Center Excellence and Innovation Award, Women's Business Center of the Year Excellence Award and 8(a) Graduate of the Year Award. These awards are evaluated at the state and national level. 


Best Places to Work in South Carolina

The S.C. Chamber, the publishers of SCBIZ, and the Best Companies Group join each year to produce the Best Places to Work in South Carolina program. This initiative is dedicated to identifying and recognizing South Carolina’s most innovative and top-notch employers. Those companies selected as “Best Places to Work” are recognized and honored during a reception and dinner held annually in August. The award is open to all South Carolina for-profit and not-for-profit organizations with at least 15 employees working in South Carolina. Upon completion of the assessment process, all participating companies will receive an Employee Feedback Report, which details the results of their specific survey. Similar reports can cost thousands of dollars if initiated independently.  

To see video of the 2019 "Best Places to Work" Awards click here.


Applications for the 2020 award have closed.  Applications for the 2021  awards cycle will open in January 2021. To be notified when the process is live, please use this form.


Workforce Innovator Awards

The S.C. Chamber of Commerce’s Workforce Innovator Awards seek to recognize the individual efforts of businesses to meet this pressing need.

During its annual Workforce Development Symposium, the S.C. Chamber honors companies that have implemented unique private sector workforce development solutions. Awards are granted based upon business size: small (fewer than 300 S.C. employees), medium (301 to 999 S.C. employees), and large (1000+ S.C. employees).

A panel of judges selected from the S.C. Chamber’s Education & Workforce Committee reviews each nomination and selects the winners based on the these criteria:

Innovation (50%) – Utilizing new ideas in workforce development;
Teamwork (25%) – Using teamwork in the design and implementation of the unique training; and
Concept Sharing (25%) – Readily sharing the training success with other companies.

Submission of additional information about the company’s program, such as letters of commendation and any relevant press, is strongly encouraged. 
Businesses seeking the award will have the opportunity to apply online. This award will be presented at the 2020 Workforce Development Symposium in September. Please contact Cynthia Bennett at 803-255-2542 with questions.


Excellence in Community and Workplace Diversity Awards

The Excellence in Community Diversity Award, established in 2013, recognizes an individual who has made significant contributions to expanding the cause of diversity awareness in South Carolina, past and present. Individuals are judged based on education, military and/or civil service, non-profit service, community outreach and individual volunteers.

The Excellence in Workplace Diversity Award recognizes companies for their significant contributions to the advancement of South Carolina through diversity initiatives and inclusion efforts. Criteria considered in selecting the winners include diversity initiatives, effectiveness and applicability/replicability. All South Carolina companies are eligible to apply.

 Nominations are open until September 30, 2020. Please click HERE to apply.


South Carolina’s Business Leader of the Year

The S.C. Chamber’s Business Leader of the Year is chosen based on leadership in South Carolina and the embodiment of personal success. Other criteria include a business record based on ethical conduct and corporate responsibility, public service, contributions to the preservation of South Carolina’s government and commitment to creating a positive business climate to improve the state’s economy. This award is selected annually by a committee of S.C. Chamber Board Members and is awarded at the Annual Summit.


Public Servant of the Year

The S.C. Chamber’s Public Servant of the Year award recognizes an individual who has served, or currently serves, as a key official in state government and has contributed to the overall well-being and health of the state as a whole. This award is selected annually by a committee of S.C. Chamber Board Members and is awarded at the Annual Summit.


Sgt. William Jasper Freedom Award

Established in 1984 by the South Carolina Chamber, the Sergeant William Jasper Freedom Award, named for the Revolutionary War patriot, recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the freedom of South Carolina and the nation. This award is selected annually by a committee of S.C. Chamber Board Members and is awarded at the Annual Summit.


Business Advocate of the Year

Throughout the legislative session, the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce alerts legislators to key votes on issues affecting the business climate in our state. The annual Legislative Scorecard compiles these votes, and legislators who score a 90% or above are awarded the Chamber’s prestigious Business Advocate award for their jobs-friendly voting records.


Boeing Veterans Leadership Award

The Boeing Veterans Leadership Award program is designed to highlight a non-profit organization that has shown an outstanding commitment to South Carolina's veterans and their families. Veterans bring a unique set of skills and thought diversity to the workforce and also experience unique challenges as they transition from military to civilian life. South Carolina has the 8th largest population of active duty military and 18th largest population of veterans. Join the business community in celebrating organizations that are furthering systems level changes benefiting veterans in the workplace.

Nominations for the award will be open until September 30, 2020. Please click HERE to make a nomination for the Boeing Veterans Leadership Award.