PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – As entrepreneurship continues to grow post-pandemic, the United States Chamber of Commerce has launched a competition for small businesses across the country to apply to become “America’s Top Small Business.”

The 2023 America’s Top Small Business Awards will honor small business achievements and their contributions to the economy. Ten small business finalists will be selected from seven regions in the U.S. for a trip to Washington D.C. and a chance to win $25,000. Applications for the America’s Top Small Business Awards are open through June 7.

The awards come as the U.S. has seen small business growth after the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, there were 5.1 million business applications filed in the U.S in 2022 — including new business applications in Oregon.

“We see that there was a 26% increase in new business applications filed last year, compared to pre-COVID, and that represents over 49,000 new business applications filed in Oregon last year,” said Thomas Sullivan, vice president of small business policy with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber is also working to help small businesses after a survey, in partnership with MetLife, found inflation topped the list of small business owner concerns.

“For me, what was really eye-popping is that inflation has topped the list of concerns for five consecutive quarters. So, we’re doing everything we can with Congress and the White House to reverse that trend, bring inflation down so that small businesses can go back into growth mode,” Sullivan said.