2012 Small Business Influencer Awards: Q&A with Co-founder Ramon Ray, Editor & Technology Evangelist

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Last year we sponsored the 2011 Small Business Influencer Awards, and this year we’re very excited that we are sponsoring the event again as it’s back for another round. It was a pleasure to work with both Anita Campbell and Ramon Ray, the co-founders of the program, and I’m looking forward to this year’s event. The Small Business Influencer Awards recognize leading influencers in the small business market for all of their contributions and support. Influencer categories include News Outlets, Corporations, Media, Leaders, Experts, and Apps. You can nominate an influencer (or yourself) over at www.smbinfluencer.com. (North America only, see the official rules).

I caught up with Ramon to chat about this year’s awards as well as his work as an editor and technology evangelist, not to mention being the founder of www.smallbiztechnology.com. Check out our chat below:

[Biz Blog]: Hi Ramon, it’s great to be working with you again. Can you share a little about the Small Business Influencer program and what it seeks to accomplish?

First of all a big, big thanks to Research In Motion® (RIM®) for supporting small businesses over the years – this Small Business Influencer Awards programs is one big way to continue to show this support. THANK YOU.

Also a really big shout out for Anita’s leadership in this initiative – she’s like small biz rock star number 1.

So about this neat initiative: There is a lot of focus on small businesses in North America, in politics, and in our society overall. Everyone knows a small business owner. There is also lots of focus on the organizations that help small businesses. However, what we don’t see much of are the hardworking and often unsung heroes who influence small business owners! These influencers cut across all industries, business types, business sizes, revenue and demographics.

Our goal with the Small Business Influencer awards is to identify and shine the light on influencers of small businesses – hence, the small business influencer awards!

[Biz Blog]: When can a person nominate, vote, and attend the awards gala?

The nomination process is open now – they can head over to www.smbinfluencer.com to nominate themselves or someone else. The nomination process closes on July 15th, 2012. Voting begins the next day – July 16th through August 5th. An eligible person can vote once per day per nominee. The top 100 small business influencers will be announced in mid-August, and then we’ll have a fabulous award ceremony in New York City on October 17th, 2012!

[Biz Blog]: What’s changed since last year? Any new additions to this year’s program that you’re excited about?

Much of it will be the same – nominating, voting and an awesome award ceremony. But a few things have changed. We’ll be hosting the awards at the NY Business Expo and Conference in NYC at the Jacob Javits Convention Center.

We also have some great new judges this year – I don’t want to call them out name by name here or mention just one, but they’re rock stars in their own right and amongst their peers for sure.

[Biz Blog]: Tell me about your work in the small business community. What does “technology evangelist” mean to you?

Well, I LOVE helping small businesses succeed – first and foremost. From being a technology consultant many years ago, to my roles as a technology evangelist – that is, evangelizing about how awesome technology is for small businesses to help them grow, to help them save time, save money, boost productivity and deliver better customer service. I love what I do – helping small businesses succeed.

[Biz Blog]: I’m a big fan of www.smallbiztechnology.com. Tell me about this initiative and how it’s impacted the SMB community.

Well thank you I’m a big fan too [:)]. But really, Monday to Friday you can visit Smallbiztechnology.com and find the latest and greatest information about technology with insight, interviews, news or tech products for your small business. It’s been around for many years, and I’m happy to have several writers who also contribute to other great sites.

[Biz Blog]: I’m also clearly a proponent of mobility in business. I’m curious, what are some mobility trends that you’re currently seeing in small and medium-sized businesses?

I see faster wireless broadband being adopted and smaller computing devices, as overall practical, becoming even more powerful devices. Finally the world of apps and online applications is going to continue to explode on mobile devices. The business owner who can leverage local and social and mobile is going to have a BIG edge as well.

[Biz Blog]: Thank for joining me today Ramon, see you in New York at the gala!

Are you a member of the small and medium-sized business community? Who has influenced your business the most? Head over to www.smbinfluencer.com to nominate them for a 2012 Small Business Influencer Award!

About Luke Reimer

@Luke_Reimer is an Enterprise Marketing Manager at BlackBerry helping to design, launch, and manage enterprise marketing programs - particularly concerning content across digital mediums. Beyond spreading BlackBerry goodness in enterprise communities, you can find Luke cooking up a storm, out on his motorcycle (when Canadian weather allows), or digging into a good science fiction book.

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