James Tyree Award finalists Dan Golden and Steve Krull of Be Found Online deliver their pitch as the judges look on.

The top 12 finalists for the 2015 James Tyree Emerging Business Leadership Award were selected on April 22 during a live pitch event at Mesirow Financial, sponsor of the award. The finalists were voted into the next round of judging through a combination of attendee voting via mobile phone and a panel of judges.

The 2015 James Tyree Emerging Business Leadership Award is presented annually to the leader of a high-growth small business that best represents the spirit and values of the late Chicagoland Chairman and business leader James Tyree.

The 12 finalists for the 2015 award are as follows:
• Andrea Sreshta, LuminAID Lab LLC
• Andrew Lutsey, Local Foods
• Brian Leonard, Cardio Partner Resources
• Charles Smith, CS Insurance Strategies
• Chris Ruder, Spikeball Inc.
• Dan Golden & Steve Krull, Be Found Online
• Marvin Korves, The SMB Help Desk, Inc.
• Melissa Ballate, Blue Daring
• Neil Byers, Horse Thief Hollow
• Prashanth Mahakali, PMPC ARCHITECTS
• Sharon Schneider, Moxie Jean
• Tom Cullen, LaunchPad Lab

During the 2015 James Tyree Award Kickoff Reception at Mesirow Financial last night, 18 finalists delivered pitches in front of a crowd of 165 attendees. A panel of former Tyree Award winners and finalists served as Shark Tank-style judges while the audience voted via mobile phone.

Next, a panel of judges (consisting of Mesirow Financial, James Tyree Foundation and Chicagoland Chamber leadership) will independently review and score the finalists’ original applications and narrow the field to four. A private panel of judges will convene in May to evaluate the four remaining finalists.

The winner will be announced at the Chicagoland Chamber’s Annual Meeting on June 9 at Navy Pier. The winner of the 2015 James Tyree Award will receive $25,000, compliments of Mesirow Financial, and business services from the Chicagoland Chamber.