The FedEx Small Business Grant Contest was launched in 2012 in an effort to provide small grants to passionate and innovative entrepreneurs from across the country, helping them to address a number of small business challenges, and thus helping themto take their businesses to the next level.The contest offers a total prize pool of $120,500, split between 10 U.S.-based small businesses, and includes a credit for print and business services from FedEx Office and discounts on FedEx products and services.

The Application Process

The FedEx Small Business Grant Contest is open to U.S.-based for-profit small businesses. Companies must have less than 99 employees and must have been operating for at least six months to be eligible to apply. The actual application is quite straightforward: applicants must write a short profile about their business,include four photos of their business or product including their logo. Applicants are also encouraged to submit a 90-second “elevator speech” video to supplement their entry. Winners are selected from a combo public voting/judging process, so participants are encouraged to share their participation with their social networks to boost votes. After the judging period, 10 small businesses are awarded prizes as follows:

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

This program offers FedEx Small Business Grant Contest participants discounts with FedEx. Winners will receive up to 29% on several FedEx Express services, up to 25% on FedEx Express international services, and up to 20% on select FedEx Ground and FedEx Home Delivery services. Participants will also receive up to 25% off black and white copies.

There are not restriction on how many times an applicant can reapply if they are not awarded a grant the previous application cycle.

Successes

The award has a great track record in its 6-year history. Several prior winners report having greatly expanded their businesses, using their grant for a wide variety of different small business issues. Some have reported moving to a better office space, others have used the grant money to improve their marketing reach and enhance their packing materials. Still others have been able to use the money to amp up production, allowing them to expand the reach of their business and fulfill bigger orders, thus expanding their business.

Why the FedEx Small Business Grant is Unique

While most small business grants can be very restrictive with their grant funding, this grant is unique in that it has extreme flexibility. FedEx is interested in better understanding small business problems and is using the feedback garnered from applicants to this program to try to develop better products and solutions for small businesses.

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