Tell Your Story to a Huge Audience, Maybe Even Win Some Cash

    By | Small Business

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    When’s the last time you won something? FedEx began accepting applications this week for its annual Small Business Grant Contest, which will award a total of $100,000 in prizes. U.S. for-profit businesses that have been in continuous operation at least 6 months and employ between 1 and 50 people have until May 30 to enter. 

    At press time, 79 businesses, including a California alpaca breeder, a Wisconsin paddle maker, and a Flint, Mich., streetwear brand (pictured) had entered.

    Ten winners will get FedEx grants and help growing their business. A $25,000 grant will go to the Grand Prize winner. Another business will win $15,000, and eight more will win $7,500 each. Winners will be chosen by voting, to take place from May 17 to June 13 online at fedex.com/grantcontest and via social media platforms. On June 20, FedEx will announce the top 100 finalists, who will be asked to answer via public YouTube video, “What is your passion as an individual and business owner and how is that passion reflected in your business?” Following judging, winners will be announced July 11.

    Win or not, the contest is a chance for your business to gain some publicity. FedEx offers entrants the opportunity to share their stories and achieve national recognition while simultaneously rallying support from local communities.

    More than 1 million votes poured into the contest in 2015. Grand prize winner In Blue Handmade, an Asheville, NC, leather goods maker, used its $25,000 prize and the support of FedEx shipping services to increase its production capacity, expand its product line, and grow from a one-woman operation to an 11-person company. Now, with products in more than 300 boutiques and shops nationwide and an e-commerce site, In Blue Handmade ships worldwide.

    Shark Wheel inventor David Patrick, another 2015 winner, calls winning the FedEx Small Business Grant Contest the single best thing that ever happened to his company, which makes square skateboard wheels. "The relationships that we created, the things that we got out of winning, have been the pivotal things that have changed our company from being a startup to being a growing, running business,” Patrick said in a YouTube video about the contest.

    To enter, write a short profile, upload four photos of your business or product and your logo, and, if you wish, submit a 60-second “elevator speech” video. For tips on creating a winning entry and getting votes, check out what past winners say they did right.  

    image: GoodBoy Clothing
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