Inc. Best in Business Category Definitions
AI & Data (New for 2023): Companies that provide clients solutions based in artificial intelligence, data science, and machine learning.
Advertising and Marketing: Public relations firms, marketing companies, ad agencies, and companies that are involved with web-based promotions, inducing people to click on ads, and keeping track of those who do.
Business Products: Public relations firms, marketing companies, ad agencies, and companies that are involved with web-based promotions, inducing people to click on ads, and keeping track of those who do.
Business Services: Companies that sell services primarily to other businesses.
Coaching & Career Development: Companies that provide services, tools, and coaching to guide employees in their career development.
Construction: Companies that put up buildings, normally as contractors, as well as companies that sell or install elements such as windows, doors, and flooring, and infrastructure such as plumbing and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.
Consumer Products: Companies that primarily make, distribute, or sell products to consumers.
Consumer Services: Companies that primarily make, distribute, or sell consumer services.
Crypto & Blockchain (New for 2023): Companies that primarily make, distribute, or sell consumer services.
E-commerce: Companies that provide software as a service and/or hardware allowing companies to receive digital payments from their customers.
Economic/Financial Equity: Companies that have excelled in responsibly growing sustainable wealth and/or closing wage gaps specifically for under-resourced communities and the middle class.
Education: Companies that provide instruction or coaching, or sell educational materials, or whose primary market is schools or universities.
Energy: Companies that source or provide power for business and residential customers, as well as companies that provide specialized services to energy firms. This category also includes consultancies that help clients reduce their energy consumption.
Engineering: Companies that provide engineering and related services, including construction or architectural work, and that manage engineering projects for clients.
Environmental Issues: Companies that are making great strides in improving local, national, or global environmental conditions.
Environmental Services: Companies whose primary focus is on restoring or maintaining clean and safe environments.
Events & Experiential: Companies that organize and host in-person and virtual gatherings for consumers and businesses.
Franchise (New for 2023): Companies that offer branded products and services to franchisees, typically in exchange for an upfront fee and annual licensing fees.
Food and Beverage: Companies that manufacture, sell, or distribute food or beverages or offer related services. Includes meal-delivery services.
General Excellence: Open to all companies effecting extraordinary change, often across multiple sectors
Government Services: Companies that provide consulting services—especially IT, health care, and procurement—used primarily by government entities.
Health Products: Companies that provide products strictly to the health care market, such as makers or distributors of nutritional supplements and makers or distributors of medical devices.
Health Services: Companies that provide services strictly to the health care market, such as operators of medical facilities, including nursing homes.
Human Resources: Staffing, payroll, executive-search, and outsourcing companies, as well as firms involved with employee or management training.
Insurance: Companies that sell insurance products or help the insurance industry in different forms of risk mitigation.
IT Management: Companies whose primary business is the outsourced management of software, servers, printers, security, etc.
IT System Development: Companies that create processes that enable their clients’ information technology to perform to its capacity.
Logistics and Transportation: Freight shipping, trucking, and other companies that move products and people, as well as brokers of those companies’ services and providers of services to the industry.
Luxury (New for 2023): Companies that provide highly refined products and services to an exclusive clientele.
Management Consulting: Companies that provide advice and expertise to help organizations solve problems or improve performance.
Manufacturing: Companies that make both intermediate and finished goods for sale to businesses and consumers.
Media: Companies whose primary business is creating or distributing content in any kind of communications medium.
Pandemic Response: Companies that have had an outsized impact on the local, national, or global Covid-19 response this year.
Pets (New for 2023): Companies that provide products and services to people who own pets.
Public Relations (New for 2023): Companies that help brands craft messaging, communicate with the public and their customers, and gain media coverage.
Real Estate: Includes real estate developers and brokers and those providing services to brokers, buyers, and sellers. Also includes real estate-related investment firms.
Recycling: Companies that dedicate substantial time and resources to repurposing glass, plastic, and paper.
Retail: Companies that sell products and services directly to consumers, either online or at brick-and-mortar stores.
Security: Companies that provide physical security—guards, locks, heavy doors, barriers, surveillance systems, armored trucks.
Software Development: Companies that create software for businesses or individuals.
Software as a Service: Companies that deliver cloud-based software applications on a subscription basis.
Sustainability: Companies that dedicate substantial time and resources to developing or encouraging business practices that reduce reliance on fossil fuels.
Telecommunications: Companies involved with transmitting voice, video, or data on a mass scale and companies that sell services primarily to telecom firms.
Travel & Hospitality: Travel agencies, tour operators, and other companies that help facilitate travel, as well as hotel companies and leisure destinations such as amusement parks
Wellness Products: Companies that primarily make, distribute, or sell products that aim to increase quality of life.
Wellness Services: Companies that primarily make, distribute, or sell services that aim to increase quality of life.
Correctional Re-Entry Services: Companies that dedicate substantial time and resources to helping the formerly incarcerated re-enter society.
Food Insecurity: Companies that dedicate substantial time and resources to feeding the hungry.
Mental Health Advocacy: Companies that dedicate substantial time and resources to improving mental health.
Sheltering the Homeless: Companies that dedicate substantial time and resources to providing shelter for those without homes.
Veteran Support: Companies that dedicate substantial time and resources to supporting America’s veterans.
Youth Entrepreneurship: Companies that have made significant investments in training and supporting rising entrepreneurs, aged 21 and under.
Lean and Mean: Open to companies whose gross revenue is projected as under $5 million in 2021.
Prosperous and Thriving: Open companies whose gross revenue is project between $5 million and $50 million in 2021.
Robust and Powerful: Open companies whose gross revenue is projected as over $50 million in 2021.
On the rise: Open to companies who have been in business for under 4 years that have made a great impact in their fields and in our society.
Established Excellence: Open to companies who have been in business between 5 and 14 years that have made a great impact in their fields and in our society.
Enduring Impact: Open to companies who have been in business for over 15 years that have made a great impact in their fields and in our society.
• Super Early Rate Application Deadline ($495): July 21
• Early Rate Deadline ($695): August 18
• Final Application Deadline ($895): September 15
The 2023 Inc. Best in Business awards are now closed.
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