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 Meredith Williams 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 2019, 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 early September 2019. Details to be announced soon.

Nominations for the 2019 award will be open until May 31, 2019. Please click HERE to make a nomination for the Human Resources Professional of the Year and HERE for the Human Resources Rising Star. 

Registration details will be released by May 2019.


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.

Applications for the 2018 awards are now closed. To apply for an award using your 2019 safety record, please check back January 2, 2020 to submit your application. To view a list of the 2018 winners, click here.


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 2018 "Best Places to Work" Awards click here.


Applications for the 2019 award have closed. For an overview of the application process, view 2019 Program Timeline. Applications for the 2020 awards cycle will open in January 2020. 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:

  1. Innovation (50%) – Utilizing new ideas in workforce development;
  2. Teamwork (25%) – Using teamwork in the design and implementation of the unique training; and
  3. 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 in 2018 should apply on-line before August 13, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. Please contact Cynthia Bennett at  803-255-2542 with questions.


Manufacturing Employee of the Year

The S.C. Chamber gives these awards annually at a celebration on National Manufacturing Day in October.  Employees are nominated for awards in five categories, based on the different job functions within companies: administrative, engineering/information technology, production, production support, and supervisory. Awards are selected by the Manufacturing Steering Committee. The 2018 nomination process is open until September 3, 2018. Please click HERE to apply today. 

The South Carolina Manufacturing Employee of the Year Award was created to focus attention on the important contributions manufacturing employees make to their employers, customers and communities. The award showcases employee contributions in the areas of innovation, teamwork, community service and leadership. Any full-time employee working in any position/title in the South Carolina manufacturing industry may be nominated by anyone. Self-nominations are encouraged.

A panel of judges selected from the S.C. Chamber’s Manufacturing Steering Committee will review each nomination and select the winner based on these criteria:

  1. Innovation (25%) – Presenting new ideas and helpful suggestions;
  2. Teamwork (25%) – Consistently assisting and working with fellow employees in group or team projects;
  3. Community Service (25%) – Volunteering time and/or other resources to give something back to the community; and
  4. Leadership (25%) – Setting a good example or being a positive role model for other employees.


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.

The 2019 awards will be presented at the 40th Annual Summit November 20-21, at Wild Dunes Resort. Nominations are open until August 1, 2019. 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.