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The following is a sponsored post:
With more than a 1,000 small businesses participating in The Small Business Challenge the for the past two months, the public gets the chance to select their top three companies with the most potential for growth and economic stimulation.
The Small Business Challenge, a funding competition tailored to small businesses looking to expand, announced its top 10 finalists on Friday November 16th. With a total prize of $50,000 in cash and marketing at stake, each of the 1,000+ small businesses was required to make a public pitch and receive at least 100 votes from the public in order to qualify for the finals.
“After seeing such innovation and immense job creating potential from the competitors, we are proud to announce the top 10 finalists of The Small Business Challenge. These have all shown a strong entrepreneurial spirit and from the very beginning took the SMB Challenge ideals to the next level. We want to encourage the public to support our small business and vote,” said Maurice Lopes, founder and CEO of EarlyShares.com, a sponsor of the contest.
The top 10 finalists each represent a different community from opposite corners of the United States, including Colorado, New York, Texas, California, Florida, Illinois, Georgia, Virginia and Washington D.C. Each company shares an uncanny entrepreneurial drive and commitment to grow its business, epitomizing success stories at the heart of America.
Furthermore, a variety of industries are represented on the short list of candidates (from a fishing equipment guru to a nurturing preschool in South Florida). The finalists symbolize a full spectrum of small businesses in America. Undoubtedly, their touching success stories and desire to flourish is what captivated the vote of over 30,000 people.
“We saw a great commitment from companies that campaigned arduously throughout the competition, their aspiration to grow against economic limitations gave us a bird’s eye view of the situation in the country. There is a tremendous need for funding from successful small businesses in America and through this contest we wanted to give each company the opportunity to voice this at a national level. Social media also played a big factor of this challenge,” adds Lopes.
The 10 finalists are:
Array Organics (2 employees), Roswell, Ga. – Array Organics is a manufacturer of organic skin care products with plans to expand into nutrition and cuisine. The company would use the prize money to fill several new positions over the next 18 months.
BirdBox (5 employees), Boulder, Co. – Birdbox is a service that collects all a user's photos and videos from different devices and social media sites and stores them in one "nest" for online viewing and sharing. The company would use the prize money to create two new jobs.
CharlieDog and Friends (2 employees), Rye, N.Y. – CharlieDog and Friends has created the world's first plush dogs and cats based on real-life animal shelter adoption success stories to raise money and awareness for America's homeless animals. The company will use the prize money to secure workshop space in Port Chester, N.Y.
HelpFindCare.com (5 employees), Austin, Tx – HelpFindCare.com is an online service that helps individuals and families find the perfect in-home care for aging loved ones. The company would use the prize money to hire several assistants to expand outside of Texas.
Little Heroes Learning Center (14 employees), Doral, Fla. – Little Heroes is dedicated to providing a high-caliber preschool program in a "homelike" environment to children, parents and staff. The company would use the prize money to hire a curriculum assistant.
Mystery Tackle Box (3 employees), Chicago, IL– Mystery Tackle Box is a subscriber-based fishing lure company that helps people discover new products every month. The company would use the prize money to hire new employees.
Strategic Hospitality Group (6 employees), Miami, Fla – Strategic Hospitality Group provides hospitality and restaurant consulting services. Founded by veteran chef and Miami Heat food-service provider Michael B. Jacobs, the company would use the prize money to open a small gourmet sandwich shop in Miami.
Jesse Dean (2 employees), Lancaster, Ca – Jesse Dean is a full service design and custom gear company, specializing on turntables to skate boards. The company is expanding and would use the prize money to hire more staff.
Flypt (2 employees) Washington, DC – Flypt is a marketplace connecting entrepreneurs, freelancers and small business owners interested in trading products and services. Members join the website, create listings for what they have and need, and engage with each other to make trades, or Flyps. Winning will help Flypt get more recognition for their great product and improving their solution.
Humdinger Foods, LLC (1 employee) Hillsboro, OR – Humdinger Foods is a family-owned and operated business that distributes Kettle Korn to local retailers, at corporate events and as concession services. The prize will help this company expand their local non-profit fundraising program as well as acquire better packaging equipment and add more staff.
“We’re excited to see who the public thinks has the most potential to stimulate the U.S. economy,” says Lopes. Each person that registers to vote has the chance of selecting 3 their favorite companies. Help America’s small businesses grow!
EarlyShares.com, lonelybrand and CometAds are the sponsors of the SMB Challenge.