Family and Private Business Awards Resources

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The Goering Center Family and Private Business Awards honors the accomplishments and contributions of family and private businesses across the Cincinnati Tri-State region. These businesses are making an impact on not just our economy, but our entire community. For these awards, small companies have just as much an opportunity to win as the big businesses. Success is determined not by your company’s size but by the relative size of your impact.

Why Enter the Family and Private Business Awards?

Nomination alone is an honor for the business. These awards are an effective way to bring recognition and appreciation for your efforts. Employees, clients and potential clients can share in your success and overall team efforts. Putting your accomplishments to paper is a great process of self-evaluation. In addition, third party evaluation of your efforts by our independent panel of judges assists in benchmarking and establishes impartial credibility for your work.

Why nominate a family or private businesses? Why not enter your own business?

  • A nomination itself is an honor for the business.
  • Award programs are a means of bringing attention to the good deeds that you do in your community and industry – a chance to shine in your niche and in our community.
  • These programs serve as an opportunity for credible recognition of your efforts.
  • Award programs are really fun. They can elevate workplace morale and increase employee motivation.
  • Promote your nomination and your win. This is a marketing opportunity to raise your company’s profile, increase brand awareness and broadcast your achievement – spread the word, tell the world.
  • Putting your accomplishments to paper is a rewarding and beneficial exercise that can serve to strategically evaluate your company and assess your accomplishments, inspiring us to achieve excellence.
  • The selection process serves as a third party evaluation of your accomplishment and can be benchmarked against your competition. This evaluation acts in support of your business as an industry leader or expert in the field.
  • You will receive an independent seal of approval and recognition of quality, adding third party credibility to your business, often setting your company apart from the competition.
  • Free promotion and added credibility; we will promote your participation in a grand manner via our website, press connections and social media.
  • This program provides multiple opportunities where you can meet like-minded professionals, leaders and experts from a variety of fields.
  • The excitement of the award ceremony is electric and really intensifies if you are named one of the winners!

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Tips on Applying for a Family and Private Business Award

This year the award’s criteria focus on highlighting your company’s biggest breakthrough in 2016 and the corresponding community impact. Be certain to define your success, how you achieved it and by what means did it benefit our community.

Judges will be reviewing hundreds of applications looking for great business stories, the individuals behind them and the impact that was made on our community. Being shortlisted for these awards ultimately depends on the content and quality of your entry. You can always enlist the assistance of a skilled writer to complete your entry and assist you in sharing your story.

Pointers for Success:

  • Be passionate. Treat the awards as if you were servicing a client. Use the same attention to details and deadlines.
  • Start as early as you can. Plan to complete your entry ahead of the scheduled deadline so that you can have time for review and any final enhancements. Write your entry completely offline so that you have a permanent record of your entry.
  • Know what is required, completely answer each question and provide all requested support materials. Be precise and succinct with your answers, while fully addressing all portions of the question.
  • Be objective. Select your best project, your most compelling work or a venture that really stands out.
  • Get everyone on board. Tell the boss, the family and the employees that the company is entering these awards – get their buy-in and support and encourage their input.
  • Be yourself. Write as if you were writing to one person and use your natural tone of voice – be you!
  • Answer the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How. Clearly state the objectives, describe the resources, share the process, define the direct impact and highlight the innovations.
  • Find the differentiators and the value of your actions – answer what success is. Instead of a list, tell a story, share what worked and what didn’t, and tell why and what you learned.
  • Use facts, share statistics, compare before and after and demonstrate the benefits.
  • Put your objective, plan and performance in the context of your industry; it is rare that a judge will be intimately familiar with your marketplace. Make it easy for them to see why you were successful.
  • Include testimonials that state your success. Get your clients involved, did your efforts benefit them as well? Invite them to tell your story.
  • Test your links, verify your attachments and confirm the reception of your entry.
  • Ask a co-worker, family member and/or impartial external person to review your entry.

FAQs for Applying for a Family and Private Business Awards

Frequently Asked Questions:

What businesses qualify? Any family or private business that is in the greater Cincinnati Tri-State area can apply. That includes businesses in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.

Family Owned: Business in which two or more family members are employed in the business, share ownership, or are primary decision makers; the business family has majority ownership; and are not publicly traded.

Privately Held: An individual or non-related individuals own more than 50 percent of the company.

Do I need to be a member of the Goering Center to apply for an award? No, anyone can enter. You do not need to be a member of the Goering Center, but we do hope you would consider joining us. Everyone that enters the competition is measured to the same standards. There is no special treatment for being a member.

I am a small business, really small – what chance do I have to win an award versus the larger companies that are entering? For these awards in particular, small companies have just as much of an opportunity to win as the big businesses. Success is not determined by your company’s size but by the relative size of your impact. Our judges look at results in correlation with reach, resources and strategy.

What is the deadline for entry? The deadline for applications is Thursday, June 15, 2017 at 5:00 p.m.

How much does it cost to enter? There is no fee to enter the awards competition.

I applied in the past but did not win. Can I reapply? Yes, you can. As the business focus for the competition changes each year, prior year’s applications are not kept – a new application must be completed.

How much information is needed? It is important to fully answer all parts of the question. Use the space provided and supply enough detail to tell your story in an informative manner.

How detailed should my entry be? Be as specific as you can, use statistics and examples to tell your story. When reporting on growth or change share the numbers and be assured that all financial information is kept strictly confidential.

Who are the judges? Our independent panel of judges are representatives of the banking, law, accounting and private business community. It is important to note that our sponsors are not the judges. Our four judges volunteer their time to read over the hundreds of applications and select the finalists and winners.

What are the judges looking for? Each year the judging criteria are retargeted to highlight one or more of the Goering Center’s Family and Private Business Best Practices. However, there are consistent elements that are identified across all entrees, every year:

  • Is there a compelling story to share?
  • What is the success, how is it measured, is it supported?
  • Is the entry complete, are all the questions fully answered?

What happens after I apply? You will receive an email confirmation that your application has been received. If you do not receive an email confirmation, contact the Goering Center at If there are any questions on your application we will reach out to you. The 75 Semi-finalists will be announced in late June.

What happens after I am named a Semi-finalist? All Semi-Finalists will participate in an exclusive video interview at a time and place to be announced. Three film crews will be stationed throughout the venue and the 12 finalists and 6 winners' videos will be featured at the Awards Gala. Your company will be featured in a special Semi-finalist supplement in the August 25th edition of the Business Courier. You will be asked to provide an electronic photo for this special edition. The photo can be of your family, facility, your employees, or simply your company logo.

When are the awards announced? Of the pool of 75 Semi-finalists, 12 Finalists and 6 Winners will be announced Academy Award style at the gala on September 12th at JACK Cincinnati Casino. The names of all Finalists and Winners are kept in sealed envelopes and closely guarded until then. The gala will feature a reception in the ballroom for all of our Semi-finalists with drinks, hors d’oeuvres and social time from 5:30 until 7:00 p.m. Awards will be presented at 7:00 p.m. All Semi-finalists receive discounted tickets to the gala which is sold out every year.

Is the gala black tie? No. Business attire is recommended.

What can I expect as far as promotion if selected as a semi-finalist? There are multiple opportunities to promote your success with these awards. We will share press-releases, offer social media recognition and post all semi-finalists, finalists and winners in our newsletters

Still can't find the answer? Contact us at with your questions and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.

The Family and Private Business Awards is made possible through the generosity of our corporate sponsors Cushman & Wakefield, Fifth Third Bank and USI Insurance.