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Wal-Mart Stores’ Sam’s Club division is teaming up with small business advisor/mentor organization, SCORE, to sponsor a $700,000 grant award program to support entrepreneurs through the American Small Business Championship.
The Championship program, which provides expert training, resources and networking opportunities to small business owners from coast to coast, will award 102 small businesses – two in every state and the District of Columbia – for their sacrifice and dedication to the success of their business. The Small Business Champions will receive a $1,000 Sam's Club gift card, an all-expense-paid trip to a training event, SCORE mentoring for one year, and promotion throughout the year to showcase each Champion's story.
Prospective U.S. small business owner Champions can apply through Feb. 6, 2015, at www.score.org/championship. To be eligible, applicants must have been in business for at least one year and currently generate revenue. Applicants must complete an online application to include response to the question, "What sacrifice have you made to help your business succeed?" either with: (a) a 60-second video; or (b) a written statement of up to 250 words accompanied by a photo. Each applicant must also gather at least 100 votes for its online entry on the contest platform during the nomination period. Applicants will then advance to final judging by SCORE leadership, mentors and board members.
"Sam's Club business members tell us they need better access to training, mentoring and capital to succeed, and by working with SCORE, we can respond to these needs while taking time to reward small business owners' hard work and dedication," said Don Frieson, EVP of operations at Sam's Club. "Our associates and the communities we serve are excited to celebrate America's Small Business Champions and continue to help them save money and time every day."
The $700,000 grant from Sam's Club to SCORE not only supports the 102 Champions with resources and training, but also allows SCORE to host five regional training events for an additional 1,500 small business owners throughout 2015. The regional training events will take place in Phoenix, Ariz., Austin, Texas, Jacksonville, Fla., Chicago, Ill., and Rochester, N.Y., from March through July 2015.
"We are so grateful for the opportunity to once again work with Sam's Club to recognize the incredible achievements and perseverance of American small businesses," said SCORE CEO Ken Yancey. "This combination of funds, training and mentoring is the perfect formula to help take these stellar businesses to the next level of growth."
Nomination information for the American Small Business Championship can be found here. Champions will be announced in late February, 2015.
Sam's Club, the nation's eighth largest retailer, has 647 U.S. membership warehouse club stores. 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 $11 million in national and local programs dedicated to improved training, education and increased access to capital for small business owners.