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HOUSTON, TX – The Houston Citizens Chamber of Commerce (HCCC), the nation’s second oldest African-American chamber, is accepting nominations for its prestigious 17th Annual Pinnacle Award, Upstart Award and Advocate Award ceremony held Friday, October 14, 2011 at Hilton Americas Hotel.

For the past 16 years, the Chamber has hosted the Pinnacle Awards honoring excellence, tenacity and dedication of entrepreneurialism in the African-American business community. The Houston Citizens Chamber of Commerce established the Pinnacle Awards in 1994, and is celebrating 17 years of recognizing outstanding African – American businesses. The Pinnacle Awards are the most prestigious awards in honor of Black-owned businesses.

The Pinnacle Award
All companies nominated for the Pinnacle Award may have met the many challenges facing businesses and found a way to positively impact the communities and industries they serve. They are professional, capable and are committed to maintaining a high quality business operation worthy of the Pinnacle Award.

Pinnacle Award nominees must be:
1) 51% African American owned
2) a for profit business for a minimum of three years
3) located in the Greater Houston Area or surrounding cities
4) member of the Houston Citizens Chamber of Commerce at the time of submission of application.

The Advocate Award
The Advocate Award was created to honor organizations that have been true champions for African-American small businesses in the Greater Houston Metropolitan area. These organizations diligently work to ensure the stability and growth of small businesses through its diversity supplier programs, community outreach and education.

The Advocate Award recipient shares the Houston Citizens Chamber of Commerce vision to enhance the quality of life in the African-American business community and is committed to empowering, doing business with and/or providing business opportunities to African-American businesses.

The Advocate Award nominee or nominator must provide information on the following:

1. Provide evidence of this company’s formal supplier diversity program.
2. Provide name and title of individual responsible for contracting with minority owned businesses.
3. Provide a list of certified MBE vendors involved in this company.
4. Describe the nominee’s proactive interaction with MBE firms such as meeting with them, understanding their capabilities, activity helping them secure business at the Company and other companies, and participating in mentoring activities.
5. Submit a list of organizations in which the corporation participates and retains memberships that may impact minority entrepreneurs.
6. Please provide evidence of direct dollars spent with minority owned businesses, and African-American owned businesses as a separate figure.
7. How has the company’s minority participation improved over the last five (5) years?
8. Submit evidence of the company’s community outreach efforts in the African-American community.
9. The company’s inclusiveness program, if applicable.

The Mack H. Hannah, Jr. Upstart Business Award
The Mack H. Hannah, Jr. Upstart Business Award recognizes a burgeoning business on the path to entrepreneurial greatness.

The award package includes:
The Mack H. Hannah, Jr. Upstart Business Award
$2,500 Cash Equity Injection
Corporate Branding Package
Business Advisory Consultation
Business Profile in Chamber Newsletter

Upstart Award nominees must be:
1) 51% African American owned
2) a for profit business in operation for no more than two years
3) located in the Greater Houston Area or surrounding cities.

Nominee applications are available at Deadlines for all awards are Monday, August 1, 2011 at 5 p.m.

About the Houston Citizens Chamber of Commerce

Since 1935, the Houston Citizens Chamber of Commerce has served as an advocate for African-American business owners and professionals in the Houston area. Seventy-five years later, the organization’s mission and vision has flourished, reflecting the needs and growth of its members. HCCC has provided value to members, area businesses and the community and has remained committed to assisting African-American businesses succeed within the local community.

With much of the nation’s attention focused on the economic state of the country, HCCC has kept the needs of black business owners on the forefront, proving itself to be a premier organization focused on the prosperity and growth of Black entrepreneurs. Today, the Chamber remains focused on how to impact and provide advocacy, awareness and access to African-American businesses within the community.

For additional information visit or contact HCCC President Eric Lyons at 832.350.4222.

Contact: Brandale Mills
Telephone: 832-368-4424

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