Chicago, IL – The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, Mesirow Financial and The PrivateBank are pleased to announce today that the 5th Annual James Tyree Emerging Business Leadership Award has been doubled to $50,000 in 2016. Applications are now being accepted for the prestigious award, which is presented annually to a high-growth entrepreneur that is philanthropically active in the Chicago area.

“Now in its fifth year, the  James Tyree Emerging Business Leadership Award has grown in stature as past winners have gone on to remarkable success,” Theresa E. Mintle, president & CEO of the Chicagoland Chamber. “We are thrilled about doubling the award money this year and proud to partner with Mesirow Financial and The PrivateBank to honor Jim Tyree’s legacy and continue to support Chicagoland’s entrepreneurial and startup communities.”

The winner, who will be announced at the Chicagoland Chamber’s 112th Annual Meeting in June, must display philanthropic values and be active in the local community.

“Not only was winning the Tyree Award a great thing for Horse Thief Hollow, it was a great thing for Beverly and the South Side of Chicago. The award helped enable us to expand and provide further support to the local businesses, artists and musicians who feature their work at Horse Thief Hollow,” said Neil Byers, Owner of Horse Thief Hollow and winner of the 2015 Tyree Award. “Without the support of the Chicagoland Chamber and my community, I would not be in the position I am today.”

John Roa, Founder and CEO of ÄKTA and winner of the 2014 Tyree Award, saw his digital design company named to the Inc. 500 list fastest-growing private companies in America just months after winning and eventually get acquired by Salesforce in 2015.

“This award is really a testament to the Chicagoland Chamber’s, and City of Chicago’s, clear appreciation for small companies like ÄKTA that are creating jobs, offering high-value products and services, and further establishing this city as a tier one ecosystem for entrepreneurship,” said Roa. “I’m proud that ÄKTA, and now Salesforce, can be a part of the award and Jim Tyree’s enduring legacy.”

The open application period will run February 15 through March 21, 2016. During a kickoff reception on Thursday, April 14 at Mesirow Financial, 12 finalists will pitch their businesses to a panel of judges while a live audience vote determines which finalists advance. A private panel of judges will convene in May to evaluate the remaining finalists.

Click here to see award criteria and to apply for the award.

About the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce
The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce combines the power of people with our legacy of leadership and business advocacy to drive a dynamic economy. We focus on delivering value for our members, making Chicagoland a world-class place to live and work. Visit

About the James Tyree Emerging Business Leadership Award
The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Mesirow Financial launched the James Tyree Emerging Business Leadership Award in 2012 in memory of Jim Tyree, former Chairman and CEO of Mesirow Financial and Chairman of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce from 2007-2010. The Tyree Award was created to recognize and encourage local entrepreneurs and small businesses to continue to grow and create jobs in the Chicagoland region.