SMB Challenge Announces Top 10 Finalists in Business Funding Contest Focused on Job Creation

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After vetting more than 1,000 small businesses over the past two months, the voting public gets the change to select top three companies with the most potential for growth and economic stimulation.

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“We’re proud and excited to announce the final stage of this competition. The 10 companies now vying for the prize money have all shown a strong entrepreneurial spirit, took the SMB Challenge ideals to the next level,” said Maurice Lopes, CEO EarlyShares

The Small Business Challenge, a funding competition that invited companies to compete for a share of $50,000 in cash and marketing resources to help grow their businesses and create new jobs, announces the top 10 companies that will move on to the final round of public voting.

Each of the 1,000 small businesses that entered the SMB Challenge was required to submit an application, make a public pitch for how the funding would create jobs, and receive at least 100 votes. The top 50 companies were named semifinalists, and a panel of judges selected the 10 finalists.

The public will choose the three winners during a voting period that starts Nov. 16 at SMBChallenge.com. The winners will be announced Nov. 26.

“We’re proud to announce that this competition has seen so many innovative ideas. The 10 companies now vying for the prize money have all shown a strong entrepreneurial spirit and took the SMB Challenge ideals to the next level,” said Maurice Lopes, founder and CEO of EarlyShares.com, a sponsor of the contest. “We’re excited to see who the public thinks has the most potential to stimulate the U.S. economy.”

The 10 finalists are:

  •     Array Organics (2 employees), Roswell, Ga. – Array Organics is a manufacturer of organic skin care products with plans to expand into nutrition and cuisine. The company would use the prize money to fill several new positions over the next 18 months.
  •     BirdBox (5 employees), Boulder, Co. – Birdbox is a service that collects all a user's photos and videos from different devices and social media sites and stores them in one "nest" for online viewing and sharing. The company would use the prize money to create two new jobs.
  •     CharlieDog and Friends (2 employees), Rye, N.Y. – CharlieDog and Friends has created the world's first plush dogs and cats based on real-life animal shelter adoption success stories to raise money and awareness for America's homeless animals. The company will use the prize money to secure workshop space in Port Chester, N.Y.
  •     HelpFindCare.com (5 employees), Austin, Tx – HelpFindCare.com is an online service that helps individuals and families find the perfect in-home care for aging loved ones. The company would use the prize money to hire several assistants to expand outside of Texas.
  •     Little Heroes Learning Center (14 employees), Doral, Fla. – Little Heroes is dedicated to providing a high-caliber preschool program in a "homelike" environment to children, parents and staff. The company would use the prize money to hire a curriculum assistant.
  •     Mystery Tackle Box (3 employees), Chicago, IL– Mystery Tackle Box is a subscriber-based fishing lure company that helps people discover new products every month. The company would use the prize money to hire new employees.
  •     Strategic Hospitality Group (6 employees), Miami, Fla – Strategic Hospitality Group provides hospitality and restaurant consulting services. Founded by veteran chef and Miami Heat food-service provider Michael B. Jacobs, the company would use the prize money to open a small gourmet sandwich shop in Miami.
  •     Jesse Dean (2 employees), Lancaster, Ca – Jesse Dean is a full service design and custom gear company, specializing on turntables to skate boards. The company is expanding and would use the prize money to hire more staff.
  •     Flypt (2 employees) Washington, DC – Flypt is a marketplace connecting entrepreneurs, freelancers and small business owners interested in trading products and services. Members join the website, create listings for what they have and need, and engage with each other to make trades, or Flyps. Winning will help Flypt get more recognition for their great product and improving their solution.
  •     Humdinger Foods, LLC (1 employee) Hillsboro, OR – Humdinger Foods is a family-owned and operated business that distributes Kettle Korn to local retailers, at corporate events and as concession services. The prize will help this company expand their local non-profit fundraising program as well as acquire better packaging equipment and add more staff.

Each person that registers to vote has the chance of selecting 3 of his or her favorite companies. Help America’s small businesses grow!

EarlyShares.com, lonelybrand and CometAds sponsor the SMB Challenge.

About EarlyShares.com
EarlyShares.com, an Equity Based Crowdfunding platform formed in 2011, creates a space which helps entrepreneurs find online funding from a crowd of investors in exchange for small amounts of share ownership. The company is sponsoring the Small Business Challenge as part of its efforts to raise awareness about Equity Based Crowdfunding and motivate small business funding. Equity Based Crowdfunding, which was legalized when the JOBS Act was signed into law in April 2012, will become a regulated investment option in 2013.

About lonelybrand
lonelybrand provides digital marketing and communications solutions for mid- to large-sized companies designed to increase brand awareness, connect with customers and shareholders, and dramatically increase digital revenue. The company offers turnkey digital blueprints and experts to execute advanced online marketing programs that allow executives to focus on what matters most.

About CometAds
CometAds is an all-in-one solution that gives advertisers, agencies and web publishers the ability to create and publish video and display advertisements quickly and economically. The powerful CometAds ad builder is perfect for users who want to create, distribute and monetize their advertising content online.

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Cristina Hermida
EarlyShares
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