WASHINGTON, Jan. 10, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- SCORE has launched the fifth annual American Small Business Championship – a national competition celebrating the best small business owners from across the nation, made possible with funding from Sam's Club. The open call for applications kicks off today, and will reward two small businesses from every state and the District of Columbia with an all-expenses-paid trip to a training and networking workshop, national and local publicity, and mentoring from small business experts at SCORE.

Three $15,000 grand prizes will be awarded to winners of the American Small Business Championship

American Small Business Championship logo

From those 102 small business honorees, three Grand Champions will each win a grand prize of $15,000. A judging panel of small business experts will select the Grand Champions based on how effectively they utilize the initial prizes to grow their business operations or revenue.

"This program is designed to help small business owners achieve greater levels of success and sustainability through education, training, engagement with SCORE mentors and the possibility of adding funding to their business," said SCORE Vice President of Development Resa Kierstein. "We are delighted that Sam's Club has continued their support of this program, which allows us to showcase the small business owners that make up the landscape of this country."

The 2017 Grand Champions were:

  • Competitive Edge Athletic Performance Center – A minority-owned multi-sports facility in Woodbridge, VA, training youth to excel in both athletics and academics
  • Grillo Essentials – A woman-owned, environmentally-friendly upstate New York business selling all-natural insect repellents and educating the community about Lyme disease
  • One Community Auto – An Albuquerque, NM-based business founded by a disabled U.S. Air Force veteran to help nonprofits raise money through car donations

"Over the past few years, we've been proud to support SCORE and the American Small Business Championship," said Tracey D. Brown, Senior Vice President, Operations and Chief Experience Officer for Sam's Club. "We know our collaboration with SCORE has helped entrepreneurs flourish as they take their businesses to new heights. Through the years, we've not only seen the positive impact on and great achievements from small business owners, but also the growth of SCORE and the American Small Business Championship, and we look forward to another great year."

Apply to be a Champion
U.S. small business owners can apply to be a Champion through February 7, 2018 at www.championship.score.org. Champions will be announced in late March and the Grand Champions will be revealed in September.