New York, New York and Cleveland, Ohio (PRESS RELEASE – July 22, 2011) – Small Business Trends and SmallBizTechnology.com are proud to announce that the voting has commenced in the first annual Small Business Influencer 2011  awards. There are 520 nominees in five categories: news outlets, corporations, journalists, leaders, and small business gurus. Nominees were selected through an online nomination process that began on May 25, 2011. Voting will continue through August 9, 2011.
The Small Business Influencer initiative excitement began to build quickly drawing several sponsors including premiere sponsor, BlackBerry, as well as category sponsor, Infusionsoft.
In addition, the social media response has been gratifying. “There’s been so much social media buzz about the initiative that we decided to hold a discussion and give others the chance to share their excitement in a Tweetchat that will be held on Monday, July 25, from 7-8pm Eastern time, on Twitter. This will provide the community with the opportunity to further highlight the importance of the millions of small businesses that drive today’s economy” states Anita Campbell, Co-Founder of Small Business Influencers 2011. “You can participate in this Twitter chat by joining us on Twitter — search on the hashtag #BBSMBChat and weigh in with your tips, insights and ideas. Or follow the action by searching the hashtag.
“Until now, there has not been a national award to honor small business influencers across those organizations, companies and individuals who are influential to small businesses in North America through the products, services, knowledge or support they provide to the small business market,” said Co-founder Ramon Ray, Editor & Technology Evangelist of Smallbiztechnlogy.com.
As of July 9, 2011, the voting and judging process of the initiative commenced with more than 30,000 votes cast by the public within the first week of the voting process. The initiative will culminate in the announcement of the Top 100 Small Business Influencers in mid-August, 2011. They will be honored at an awards event in New York City on September 13, 2011. In addition to receiving publicity, the Top 100 will also be entitled to use branded “Top 100” insignias on their marketing materials and websites.
To find out more about the Small Business Influencer Initiative, visit the website at: SMBinfluencers.com . Or follow the action on Twitter, at: @SMBinfluencer or using the hashtag #SMBinfluencer.
Smallbiztechnology.com  is a media company that produces online content and live events educating small and mid-sized companies on how to strategically use technology as a tool to grow their businesses. Original content published on the site includes news, feature articles, interviews and video about technology for growing businesses. Smallbiztechnology.com also produces online and live events including 12 Hours of Tech for Growing Businesses, the Small Business Technology Tour, the Taste of Technology Small Business Series, and the Small Business Summit.
About Small Business Trends, LLC
Small Business Trends  LLC is in the business of providing information, news, advice and online community to small businesses and entrepreneurs. The company was founded in 2003 and is based in Ohio. Its flagship website, Small Business Trends, is one of the leading sources of commentary, information and online community touching over 2,000,000 small businesses annually.