WASHINGTON, March 22, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today SCORE, a national nonprofit dedicated to mentoring small business owners, announces the winners of The American Small Business Championship. Sponsored by Sam's Club, the program provides expert training, resources and networking opportunities to small business owners. A total of 103 winners representing 48 states will now compete for a grand prize of $25,000, to be awarded at the SCORE Awards Gala in Washington, D.C. on September 16, 2016.
Finalists will each receive a $1,000 Sam's Club gift card, an all-expense-paid trip to one of three SCORE training events, SCORE mentorship for one year, and promotion throughout the year to showcase the company's story – all thanks to a grant from Sam's Club, the membership club for the small business community. To enter the contest, all applicants submitted written, video and photo entries that illustrated what dream they would be able to achieve if their business won the championship. Finalists were selected by online voting and a panel of judges comprised of small business experts.
The winners' stories of dedication, passion and challenges overcome demonstrate the pursuit of the American dream. Three such companies include:
Copiosity: Silver Spring, MD
Dianne Harrison and Cynthia M. Clarke co-own Copiosity, a luxury greetings, paper product design and lifestyle brand. Together, they hand-create beautiful specialty cards, gift wrap and stationery that make communications and special occasions more unique and meaningful. Beginning with nothing more than an idea and the self-confidence to pursue it, Dianne and Cynthia turned small donations from friends and family into a scaled growth of 80% from seven active product lines sold by six national retailers. Dianne states the driving motivation behind their work: "Our dream is to show by our example how women and minorities with little money can use sheer determination and resources to become successful entrepreneurs."
Lynx Services Northwest: Caldwell, Idaho
Jeffrey Katz owns the specialty transportation business Lynx Services Northwest, LLC. The company provides safe and discreet transportation for individuals traveling between medical hospitals and mental healthcare facilities at any time of the day or night, primarily in the Treasure Valley of southern Idaho. Now in its third year of operation, the business has grown threefold since its founding. Jeffrey says, "We take pride in treating our clients with dignity and respect, while providing the best possible patient experience."
MicroGirl Organics: Dubuque, Iowa
Laura Klavitter founded MicroGirl Organics in response to a chef who challenged her, "If you can grow microgreens, I will buy them." One month later, she sold her first crop of microgreens to his restaurant. Within a year, she was distributing her microgreens to three restaurants weekly. Never content to keep her success for herself, Laura now educates teenage agriculturalists about growing microgreens with limited space and resources. Laura says, "As my business grows, I want to bring in teens who are looking for an alternative option to traditional careers, and build them as entrepreneurs."
View the full list of winning businesses at championship.score.org.
"This year's American Small Business Champions are particularly commendable, given that they were chosen from among our largest group of accomplished applicants," said SCORE CEO Ken Yancey. "By partnering with Sam's Club, we are proud to provide additional support for these Champions, as they fulfill their dreams of small business success."
"Each Champion represents the passion and dedication it takes to own and manage a small business. We saw stories from wide variety of businesses and each one was truly unique and inspiring – from bakery owners to photographers to financial advisors," said Tracey Brown, Senior Vice President and Chief Member Officer for Sam's Club. "Sam's Club is committed to helping small business owners overcome obstacles by providing resources and helping them save money and time. We look forward to seeing all of the Champions take their business to the next level so they can grow and realize their dreams."
Regional Training Events
SCORE and Sam's Club will also host free symposiums in Phoenix, Chicago and Washington, D.C. for small business owners looking to improve their social media, marketing and business skills on the following days:
- Phoenix: Tuesday, March 15
- Washington, D.C., Tuesday, April 26
- Chicago: Thursday, May 5
To register for these local training events, visit www.score.org.
Since 1964, SCORE has helped more than 10 million aspiring entrepreneurs. Each year, SCORE's 10,000 volunteer business experts provide free and low-cost small business mentoring, workshops and education to 500,000+ clients in more than 300 chapters. In 2014, SCORE volunteers provided 1.2+ million hours to help create over 45,000 jobs and 55,000 small businesses.
For more information about starting or operating a small business, call 1-800-634-0245 for the SCORE chapter nearest you. Visit SCORE at www.score.org. Connect with SCORE at www.facebook.com/SCOREMentors and www.twitter.com/SCOREMentors.
About SAM'S CLUB
Sam's Club, the nation's eighth largest retailer and a leading U.S. membership club, offers savings and surprises to millions of members in 653 U.S. club locations and at SamsClub.com. The Sam's Club Giving Program, established by the Walmart Foundation in 2008, is dedicated to micro- and small business prosperity. Sam's Club and The Sam's Club Giving Program have invested more than $18 million in national and local programs dedicated to improved training, education and increased access to capital for small business owners. For more information on national or local giving by Sam's Club or The Sam's Club Giving Program, visit SamsClub.com/giving.