CINCINNATI -- Strategic HR, Infintech and Process Plus LLC were honored as the Tri-State's top small businesses by the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber of Commerce Thursday.
The annual award program was held at Millennium Hotel Cincinnati downtown.
Keynote speaker Clay Mathile waxed philosophic on his leadership of the Iams Co., a premium pet food manufacturer that grew to $1 billion in annual sales before selling to Procter & Gamble Co. in 1999.
"An entrepreneur is someone who will work for 16 hours a day to avoid working eight hours for someone else," said Mathile, who operates a family foundation in Dayton and the management-training nonprofit, Aileron, in Tipp City.
Mathile stressed the importance of employee training, outside advisors and professional management techniques, like those developed by Peter Drucker and William Edwards Deming.
"If I ran a popcorn stand on Fountain Square I would have an outside board," he said. "That's how important I think it is."
The chamber honored area small businesses in several categories.
Strategic HR won 'Small Business of the Year' in the small company category for firms with up to 15 employees. Payment service provider Infintech won in the 16-50 employee category. Process Plus is an architectural and engineering firm in Forest Park. It won the small business award for companies with 51 to 250 employees.
Information technology firm Ingage Partners LLC was named the 'Emerging Business of the Year' after achieving 60 percent revenue growth last year.
The Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance won the 'Nonprofit Business of the Year' award for nonprofits with up to 40 employees. The alliance operates programs to install energy-saving e upgrades in area homes.
The award for nonprofits with up to 250 employees went to Camp Joy, which provides leadership training for schools and businesses.
The 2013 'Community Involvement Award' went to Modern Office Methods for a program that delivers technology makeovers to area nonprofits.