Twelve Chicago-area small businesses have advanced to the semi-final round of judging in this year’s competition for the $50,000 James Tyree Award. The award is presented annually by the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce to a high-growth small business with a commitment to philanthropic values.

The James Tyree Emerging Business Leadership Award is named in honor of the late James Tyree, a beloved Chicagoan and the CEO/Chairman of Mesirow Financial, who passed away in March of 2011. Mesirow is a sponsor of the Award, along with The PrivateBank.

The following twelve of Chicago’s brightest small businesses will each pitch their mission and business strategies at a Kickoff Reception on April 12th at Mesirow Financial.


Beyond Design



Dill Pickle Food Co-op

Fort Knox Studios/2112

inQUEST Consulting

Inverom/Innova UEV


LimeRed Studio

Mawi Learning

North Shore Exchange


Tiesta Tea Company

Past Tyree Award winners have gone on to remarkable success, including expanding nationally, winning other major awards, and even landing on the Inc. 500 list of fastest-growing companies. Two past winners are among the judges next Wednesday.

A video about the James Tyree Award can be viewed and downloaded here. Business professionals in the public can register here to attend the Kickoff Reception on April 12th.