NFIB Dissertation Award



The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Doctoral Dissertation Award in Entrepreneurship and Independent Business is one of the Entrepreneurship Division's two doctoral dissertation awards. The NFIB Award was established through the original sponsorship of Entrepreneurship: Theory & Practice, and the continuing sponsorship of the NFIB Research Foundation. Its purpose is to recognize and honor outstanding doctoral research in the areas of Entrepreneurship & Independent Business.


The principal focus of the NFIB Award is on research that deals with entrepreneurs, and potential entrepreneurs, with the founding, management, growth and development of independent new ventures, with small business, family business, and minority business, and/or with the support systems (other than venture capital) that help facilitate the development of such business. Specifically excluded from the NFIB Award are dissertations dealing primarily with high-potential ventures (see the Heizer Award Call).


The Award itself will consist of a cash prize of $2,500 and an Award plaque commemorating the winner's outstanding research effort.


Two criteria will be used to evaluate all the NFIB Award entries. They are:

  • The degree to which the entry fits the specific focus of the NFIB Award described above; and
  • The overall quality of the entry with respect to its literature survey, model development, hypothesis generation, research design, sample and/or site selection, data gathering methods, variable definition and measurement, data analysis methods, findings and conclusions, limitations and implications for both theory and research in entrepreneurship and independent business.

[Note: Unlike the Heizer Award, the other Entrepreneurship Division Dissertation Award, NFIB Award winners need not have well developed implications for practitioners - provided, of course, that they fit the other specifications of the NFIB Award described above.]


The 2019 NFIB Dissertation Award is open to authors who, in calendar year 2018, completed all requirements for their doctoral degree, as supported by documentation from the awarding institution. This includes any public defense; coursework; revisions, etc. that are prerequisites for earning the degree. Exempt from this rule is the completion of any academic ceremony of 'graduation' or 'promotion' that is customary, but not a requirement for degree completion. In cases where any part of the degree requirements remain unresolved, submission should be submitted the following year.


Submitters should provide (electronically, see below):

  • evidence of completion (see “Eligibility” above);
  • one MS-Word or PDF document including: (a) a 1 page/500 words Abstract; (b) a 20-page/12,000 words summary of the dissertation. These page and word limits should be adhered to strictly and include everything (reference list, figures, tables, appendices, etc.). Please use one-inch margins and 12-point font.


Submissions should be sent electronically no later than 5:00 pm, Eastern Standard Time (UTC -5 hours) January 31, 2019 to Dawn R. DeTienne

(Entrepreneurship Division Chair-Elect).  Please enter NFIB Award in the subject line.

Finalists for the NFIB Award will be notified by early May, 2019. To remain in the competition, finalists will be required to send a full electronic copy of their dissertation in the exact form it was evaluated for the doctoral degree by a (tight) deadline specified at that point. The winner of the NFIB Award will be required to provide two print copies of the dissertation.



Authors can submit their work for consideration for only one of the Division's dissertation awards. Thus, those who submit for the NFIB Doctoral Dissertation Award cannot simultaneously nominate their work for the Heizer Award, and vice versa. It is strictly the submitter's responsibility to submit to the Award which best fits the nominated work. We strongly advise that you read carefully the criteria for each award before making your submission.