In partnership with the Phoenix Suns, FirstBank is hosting the return of the Small Business Empowerment Awards. This season-long program is designed to strengthen marginalized communities and minority-owned businesses across the Valley, through financial and promotional support. Check out the winners below:

Small Business Empowerment Award Winners

“Los Suns Small Business MVP” Winner- Notambox

Notambox is a family-owned cabinetry business offering custom-made cabinets and designs in Phoenix, AZ. This leading Latino manufacturer proudly flaunts its Mexican roots and legacy passed down from generation to generation. Learn more about owner Rosa Sanchez’s familial passion for woodworking.

“Black Excellence Award” Winner– Big Red’s Hot Sauce

Established in 2011, Big Red’s Hot Sauce is a family-owned company based out of Phoenix, AZ. From bottled hot sauce to smoked nuts, owner Paul Ford shares his passion for bold flavors and endless pursuit of the American Dream. See Paul’s reaction to winning the “Black Excellence Award” below.

“ORIGINATIV Entrepreneur Award” Winner– Native Art Market

Located in Scottsdale, AZ, Native Art Market was created to provide a safe and affordable space for Native Americans to sell handmade goods. The mother-and-daughter duo, Denise Rosales and Heather Tracy, opened the market in 2018. It has since generated millions of dollars for Native artists. Learn more about their journey to entrepreneurship below.

“EntrepeneuHER Award” Winner– Samurai Comics

In a male-led industry, Samurai Comics is a woman-owned comic bookstore with several locations across the Valley. Owner Moryha Banks shares her desire to create a safe place to grow the “nerd culture.” See how this recognition has encouraged Moryha and future women entrepreneurs to follow their dreams.

What are the Small Business Empowerment Awards?

  • Each nominated business has the opportunity to win a $5,000 grant and promotional recognition from FirstBank and the Suns.
  • A total of six small businesses are selected throughout the season, each corresponding to a specific category.

What are the six categories and nomination periods?

  1. AAPI Business Award
    1. Nominations are open to Asian American and Pacific Islander-owned businesses in Arizona.
    1. Entry period: March 13- April 13, 2024
  2. Business of Pride Award- Nomination period has ended.   
  3. EntrepeneuHER Award- Nomination period has ended.  
  4. Black Excellence Award- Nomination period has ended.
  5. ORIGINATIV Entrepreneur Award- Nomination period has ended.
  6. Los Suns Small Business MVP- Nomination period has ended.

Visit to learn more or nominate a deserving business.  

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