FedEx Announces Fifth Annual Small Business Grant Contest

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Ginjan BrosTen small businesses could be the recipients of grants and services equaling a collective prize pool of $120,500 compliments of FedEx Corp.’s Small Business Grant Contest. It is the largest sum since the contest’s inception five years ago.

For the first time this year, the winners will also receive an additional dollar amount in credit to use towards FedEx Office print and business services to help run their businesses. The awards will include:

·         Grand prize: One (1) winner of $25,000, plus $7,500 in FedEx Office® print and business services
·         Silver prize: One (1) winner of $15,000, plus $5,000 in FedEx Office print and business services
·         Bronze prize: Eight (8) winners of $7,500, plus $1,000 in FedEx Office print and business services

“At FedEx, we are committed to empowering diverse individuals and communities across the country. Through our Small Business Grant Contest, we’re able to help passionate small business owners from all types of backgrounds become effective leaders in the business community,” Bonnie Voldeng, director of Go-to-Market and Content Strategy at FedEx, told TNJ Senior Editor Sergie Willoughby.

The 2016 contest attracted candidates from across the United States and garnered more than 400,000 votes.  Grand prize winner Ginjan Bros., a small business that develops and brings to market traditional African drinks, is run by two entrepreneurial brothers originally from West Africa.  Through the $25,000 grant and support of FedEx shipping services, Ginjan Bros. was able to ramp up production, both to fill their current orders and produce enough inventory to support expanded distribution.  They also put a portion of the cash prize toward securing organic and GMO-free product certifications. 

The brothers also plan to expand their e-commerce business, now that they are aware of the resources FedEx offers to help small businesses with packaging and logistics.

“Being recognized like this means the world,” said Mohammed Diallo of Ginjan Bros. “Something like this — winning a grant like this — could only happen in America.  We are living the American dream right now.”

Over the past four years, 13,000 businesses have entered the contest in the United States alone.  The contest has now grown from one country to nine countries and the grant pool for the U.S. contest has grown from $50,000 to over $120,000 in total prizes.

The 2017 FedEx Small Business Grant Contest is open to U.S.-based for-profit small businesses with fewer than 99 employees and operating for six months or more.

The contest entry period is open from February 21 to March 29, 2017, with voting to take place from March 1 to April 5, 2017.   Following a judging period, winners will be announced on April 25, 2017 on FedEx’s website.