Chase is giving twelve entrepreneurs the chance to win a quarter-million dollars in grant money to grow their small businesses.
Through the end of October, small business owners can sign up for the Mission Main Street Grants contest. The first phase of the contest requires the business to collect clicks of support from Facebook users.
They can ask family, friends and customers to show their support by visiting the Chase Mission Main Street Facebook page and voting for their favorite businesses. Businesses must get at least 250 Facebook votes to move on to the selection phase of the competition.
Judges panel and criteria
The businesses will be judged based on:
solid business management
well thought-out growth plans
likelihood of success within two years
positive impact on community
the overall level of energy and creativity behind the business
Each factor will have equal weight in deciding which businesses win. The team of experts sitting on the judges panel includes Google VP Jon Kaplan, Chance Mitchell, CEO and co-founder of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, Candace Waterman of the Women Business Enterprise National Council, and Donna Vieira, Chase Business Banking’s head of marketing and product.
Last year Chase, in partnership with Living Social, gave $250,000 in grants to 12 small companies including sustainable energy company Bright Power, recycling innovator Planet Reuse, and gourmet goody makers Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream and The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen. Almost 70,000 small businesses took part in the 2012 Mission: Small Business. Over 3 million Facebook users voted in the contest.
To enter the Mission Main Street Grants contest, businesses must be for-profit and have less than 100 full-time employees. Online businesses are eligible; companies don’t need to have a brick-and-mortar location to compete for a grant.
Companies must have been in business for at least two years to be considered, and entrants must complete an application, which includes filling out a business profile and answering a short questionnaire. Full program rules and frequently asked questions can be found here. Mission Main Street Grant recipients will be announced in January 2014.