If you are a small, mid-sized or even large tech company, receiving a highly sought-after award  will boost your company’s credibility among investors, attract top talent, and help you stand out above the competition. 

Plus, many publications that offer these awards will profile a company after it wins to give the company more recognition and visibility. 

Earning a local or national award will help solidify your company as an industry innovator and leader. Microsoft, Tesla and Apple all started somewhere–and awards certainly helped them gain credibility and momentum. 

Aside from the free marketing, increased credibility, networking opportunities, and boost in employee morale and motivation, awards will help benchmark a company’s success. Plus, it simply feels good to win!

CNBC Disruptor 50

The CNBC Disruptor 50 list recognizes fast-growing, innovative startups on the path to becoming the next generation of public companies. The award champions companies who are using breakthrough technology to transform industries. Last year’s list included big names like Airbnb, DoorDash, and Snowflake — all of which went public. In fact, eight companies in total from CNBC’s 2020 Disruptor 50 have gone public since being recognized, which aligns with the purpose of the prestigious recognition. 

Any private, independently owned companies founded after January 1, 2005 are eligible to apply and will have to meet criteria across several categories that takes qualitative quantitative data into account.

The deadline for 2021 submissions is Friday, Feb. 19, 2021 at 3 pm ET. Winners will be notified in April and the list will be announced in May.

Inc. 5000

The Inc. 5000 Award honors private, fast-growing companies of all sizes in America. This prestigious award celebrates entrepreneurial success and innovation by ranking companies on overall revenue over the course of three years. A few companies to gain national recognition from the Inc. 5000 list include Dell, Microsoft, Pandora, LinkedIn, Zillow, 7 Eleven and Swyft’s own client, ClearDATA!

To apply, one must be an independent, privately-owned business in the United States. One must also meet the revenue requirements set over the course of a three year period with a minimum revenue standard set in the first year and minimum growth percentage. Benefits include national and global recognition, credibility with prospects and investors, networking opportunities, and an individual profile featured on the Inc. website. The top 500 are featured in the September issue of the magazine. 

Application for this award will be from April to May of next year. The list will go live in August, announcing the honorees and the Inc. 5000 Conference and Gala takes place in October. 

Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies

The Most Innovative Companies is an award honored to companies who not only demonstrate innovation within their business, but also in their industry and their broader culture. The award is not limited to company size but rather based on creativity and inventiveness. In order to apply for the 2021 award year, the innovation must have been implemented between September 2019 and September 2020. 

There are 42 categories ranging from advertising to wellness. In addition, Fast Company gives awards based on the global region, for example ‘Most Innovative Company North America’ or ‘Most Innovative Company Asia-Pacific’. Some companies who have been honored to be on Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies list include White Claw, Tesla, Canva, Rothy’s, Calm, Snap and more. Over 400 applicants are chosen to be honored.

The 2021 award is accepting applications until September 18, 2020. Applicants will be notified of their award status in late February after a team of Fast Company’s editors and reporters evaluates submissions. In late March 2021, winners will be announced and published on the website. 

Deloitte Technology Fast 500

The Deloitte Technology Fast 500 list offers highly credited ratings that rank companies in technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences, and energy tech. This honorable award was created to recognize the most innovative tech companies in North America. The ranking system is compiled from both the applications and public company database research. Some companies that have received this award in the past are AuditBoard, SentinelOne, iLearningEngines Inc., and UiPath. 

Requirements for this award include active business operations for four years or more, headquarters in North America, ownership of intellectual properties or proprietary technology, and fiscal year revenue growth over a three year period, measured by percentage. The deadline for this award is already closed but submissions for the 2021 year will open early next summer. Winners are announced in November 2020. 

EY Entrepreneur Of The Year

Founded by EY, the Entrepreneur of the Year Award is given to the country’s most innovative entrepreneurs. The program is a celebration of entrepreneurship with a focus on those who are leading their for-profit businesses to success. To be considered for the award, individuals must be the founder or top executive of their company and have been in that role for at least two years. The award categories span several industries including technology, consumer and retail products, and distribution and manufacturing. 2019 recipients include Kabir Barday of OneTrust, Stephen Hawthornthwaite of Rothy’s, Inc., and Mike Massaro of financial services company Flywire.

Though the 2020 nomination process has already passed, nominations for 2021 will likely open at the end of this year.


The SIIA CODiE Awards focus on business and education technology. Since 1986, the CODiE  Awards has made it their mission to promote, protect, and inform the industry of the most notable technological innovations. There are over 50 categories across the business technology and education technology sectors. The award process consists of an initial nomination followed by two rounds of interviews to determine winners. 

Past recipients have been SpendHQ in the Big Data Tools, GoToConnect, and Imagen Video Management Platform. Several products can be submitted in one award year, however each product must be submitted separately. The nomination period for the CODiE Awards starts in January. The award announcement and celebration takes place in May.

SXSW Innovation Awards

If you live in the Austin area, or any other area around the world, you may have heard of the popular festival and conference, SXSW. The SXSW Innovation Awards welcomes companies from around the globe to submit their tech developments in hopes of being selected as finalists. Finalists are then invited to the conference  to demonstrate their project for attendees and Innovation Awards judges. 

Products submissions must have been launched or redesigned the calendar year prior to the festival. Submissions are judged on creativity/innovation, form, function, and overall experience. Winners of the SXSW Innovation Awards in the past include MacSpec pen by the Eberlin Lab at the University of Texas at Austin, Swarm AI by Unanimous AI, and Aira- Visal Interpreter by Blind by Aira. 

Though information for the 2021 competition has not been released yet, the Finalist showcase will take place in March of next year. 

About Savannah Burns: Savannah is a marketing and communications intern for Swyft, which has been listed as one of the best PR firms in Austin and Houston and a top digital marketing agency in Denver since its founding in 2011. Swyft recently opened a satellite office where it offers PR in San Francisco.

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