Owners of Competitive Edge Athletic Performance Center, Grillo Essentials and One Community Auto Honored for Extraordinary Entrepreneurial Efforts, Win $25,000 Each
WASHINGTON, D.C., Sept. 15, 2017 – Yesterday, SCORE recognized three small business owners for their extraordinary entrepreneurial efforts, naming them Grand Champions of the American Small Business Championship (ASBC). The ASBC is a national competition hosted by SCORE, made possible with a grant from Sam’s Club, to celebrate small business owners and help them access the resources required for continued business growth.
For the first time in the competition’s four-year history, three small businesses took the top honors, each winning $25,000 to help grow their businesses:
- Competitive Edge Athletic Performance Center – A minority-owned multi-sports facility in Woodbridge, Va. founded by Monte Evans, designed to train youth and focus on the “complete athlete” – which means exceling in athletics and academics. In addition to offering a multitude of sports and performance training, Competitive Edge also offers educational programs like SAT/ACT prep courses and tutoring.
- Grillo Essentials – An environmentally-friendly upstate New York business owned by Gina Grillo, who created an all-natural tick, mosquito and black fly repellent after she contracted Lyme disease and was dissatisfied with the current insect repellents on the market. With this award, she plans to continue expanding her business and educating her community about Lyme disease.
- One Community Auto – An Albuquerque-based business owned by disabled U.S. Air Force veteran Gary Peterson to help nonprofits raise money through car donations. The company takes in donated vehicles, refurbishes them and then sells them to neighbors in need of an affordable used vehicle. This not only saves the car from the junk yard, but it also gives donors a higher tax deduction and earns the nonprofit more money to complete their charity work.
In March of this year, 102 small businesses from 49 states and the District of Columbia were named finalists and awarded a $1,000 Sam’s Club gift card, an all-expense paid trip to a training and networking event in Dallas, and mentoring from small business experts at SCORE. After an in-depth review process, a panel of expert judges selected the three Grand Champions to receive a grand prize of $25,000, based on how effectively they utilized the initial prizes to grow their business.
"The American Small Business Championship, supported by Sam’s Club, is an unparalleled program driving small business growth and sustainability. We are so gratified to have three exceptionally hardworking Grand Champions this year, embodying a diverse snapshot of the American small business landscape,” said Resa Kierstein, Vice President of Development for SCORE.
The 2016 ASBC Grand Champion was Garrett Takach, co-owner of Ninja Park Obstacle Fitness Gym, who used his $25,000 grand prize to fund a training program for children with autism.
Laying the Foundation for Small Business Success
Nearly 28 million small businesses make up 54 percent of all sales and 55 percent of all jobs in the United States. Programs like the ASBC, backed by successful companies like Sam’s Club, are critical for small businesses, as the vast majority need mentorship and ongoing support to sustain growth.
“Today, we serve hundreds of thousands of small business owners each week in our club locations and online, yet our founder, Sam Walton, was once a small business owner himself. As learned through our past, we understand the challenges small businesses face and share in their aspirations for the future,” said Tracey D. Brown, senior vice president and chief experience officer for Sam’s Club. “Big businesses have an important role to play in the success of our nation’s entrepreneurs and by supporting small businesses through our collaboration with SCORE, we’re happy to support them on their journeys and help fuel their passions.”
Sam’s Club helps small businesses grow by collaborating with nonprofits like SCORE to help provide critical resources and funding. Funding from Sam’s Club and the Sam’s Club Giving Program has enabled more than 7,000 loans from CDFIs to underserved small businesses, particularly those owned by women, minorities and veterans, and has supported nearly 26,000 U.S. jobs.
For more information on the ASBC, visit http://championship.score.org. The open call for applications for the 2018 American Small Business Championship will take place in January 2018.
Since 1964, SCORE has helped more than 10 million aspiring entrepreneurs. Each year, SCORE’s 10,000 volunteer business experts provide more than 350,000 free small business mentoring sessions, workshops and educational services to clients in 300 chapters nationwide. In 2016, SCORE mentors volunteered 2.2 million hours to help create more than 130,000 jobs and 54,000 small businesses.
For more information about starting or operating a small business, call 1-800-634-0245 for the SCORE chapter nearest you, or visit www.score.org. Follow @SCOREMentors on Facebook and Twitter for news and updates on the small business landscape.
About Sam’s Club
Sam’s Club®, a division of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT), is a leading membership warehouse club offering superior products, savings and services to millions of members in more than 650 clubs in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. To learn more about Sam’s Club, visit the Sam’s Club Newsroom, shop at SamsClub.com and interact with Sam’s Club on Twitter and Facebook.