Memphis-based FedEx Corp. has announced the launch of its 7th annual Small Business Grant Contest that offers grants and services to ten U.S. based small businesses worth $220,500, the largest sum since the contest was established in 2012.
In addition to the grants, winners will also receive an additional dollar amount in credit to use towards FedEx Office print and business services to help run their businesses, as well as packages designed to help them with website optimization, design thinking, social media, and print expertise. Specifically, the 2019 FedEx Small Business Grant Contest prize packages include:
• Grand prize: One (1) winner of $50,000, plus $7,500 in FedEx Office print and business services;
• Silver prize: One (1) winner of $30,000, plus $5,000 in FedEx Office print and business services;
• Bronze prize: Eight (8) winners of $15,000, plus $1,000 in FedEx Office print and business services
“We know it’s difficult for even the most promising of small businesses to grow and scale, especially at the beginning of their lifecycle,” said Scott Harkins, senior vice president, Customer Channel Marketing at FedEx. “That’s why we are proud to offer our top ten winners so much more than just the funds to help them grow their businesses. This year, our winners will receive much needed expertise and advice on some of the most fundamental and critical aspects of building a viable and sustainable business – and we will stay on with them as a trusted advisor as they take their businesses to the next level.”
The 2018 contest garnered nearly 665,000 votes and attracted more than 7,800 candidates from across the United States. Grand Prize winner Rumi Spice, a small Chicago-based business that sources and brings to market premier saffron from the fields of Afghanistan, was founded by former Army officer Keith Alaniz and two friends who, while serving in the war-torn country, realized the need to provide economic alternatives to opium farming for the Afghan people.
In the year since they took home the grand prize in the FedEx Small Business Grant Contest, Rumi Spice has used its winnings to greatly improve their supply chain logistics, as they transport the saffron out of Afghanistan and bring it to Chicago where it is then packaged and sent to Michelin star restaurants and consumers all over the U.S.
Over the past seven years, 24,000 businesses have entered the contest in the U.S. alone. The contest has now grown from one country to eleven countries and the grant pool for the U.S. contest has grown from $50,000 to $220,500 in total cash prizes.
The 2019 FedEx Small Business Grant Contest is open to U.S.-based for-profit small businesses that have fewer than 99 employees and have been operating for six months or more. To enter, participants must visit www.fedex.com/grantcontest and enter their contact information, write a short profile about their business, and upload four photos of their business or product, including their logo.
While not required, participants also have the option of submitting a 90-second “elevator speech” video to supplement their entry.
The contest entry period is open from February 19 to March 25, 2019, with voting to take place from February 27 to April 1, 2019.