Chicago, IL – The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, Mesirow Financial and The PrivateBank are pleased to announce today that first prize for the 6th Annual James Tyree Emerging Business Leadership Award is $50,000. Applications are now being accepted for the prestigious award, which is presented annually to a high-growth entrepreneur who is philanthropically active in the Chicagoland area.

“Now in its sixth 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 to double the award money again this year, and are 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 113th Annual Meeting on June 6th, must display philanthropic values and be active in the local community. 

“The entire process of the James Tyree Award was a life changing event not only for me personally, but also for Vanille. Our business has grown, customers are coming from all areas of Chicago and our employees have been provided with health benefits,” said Sophie Evanoff, owner of Vanille Patisserie, the 2016 Tyree Award winner. “The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce opened so many doors to incredible people who are always ready to provide help and perspectives. We are now positioned to make Vanille a national “brand.”

“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.”

The open application period will run February 13 through March 17, 2017. During a kickoff reception on Wednesday, April 12 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 for 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 Award for Emerging Business Leadership
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.