Grant Program Offers Millions for Small Business Innovation (KTVA.com Exclusive)
ANCHORAGE – Just a week into National Small Business Month, entrepreneurs nationwide have the chance to compete for a multi-million dollar pie courtesy of Chase and LivingSocial.
Monday, the global financial firm and the social commerce company announced the launch of “Mission: Small Business,” a $3 million grant program open to companies with less than 100 employees and at least two years of operations under their belts. According to a recent report published by the Kaufmann Foundation, entrepreneurship nationwide is at an all-time low, with new businesses dipping below eight percent of total businesses for the first time in 2010.
By offering grants of $250,000 to up to a dozen businesses across the country, program directors said they hoped to provide vital small business capital and encourage marketing innovations and the resultant economic growth.
“Small businesses are the economic engine of this country, and LivingSocial's goal is to help energize their connections with people seeking new and exciting experiences in their communities," said Tim O'Shaughnessy, the website’s CEO and co-founder.
Business owners are required to describe their business, community involvement and plans for growth in order to apply for the grant. While finalists will be judged by a panel of small business experts, consumers play a big part in the competition, too: In order to advance to be considered for an award, businesses must receive at least 250 votes on the program’s website.
Chase said it will add $5 to the grant pool for each vote of support given to the businesses in the competition, topping out at $3 million. At minimum, four winning businesses will receive a quarter-million dollar award. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is partnering with the financial firm and LivingSocial to promote the competition.
The application period for the award ends June 30, and businesses and consumers can apply and cast their votes here.