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FedEx Launches Ninth Annual Small Business Grant Competition

  • Popular small business grant program is now open to applications
  • Small businesses that have been in operation for at least six months and have fewer than 100 employees are eligible to apply
  • This year’s program adds business coaching services as a prize for the top finishers

FedEx has opened its Small Business Grant Program, which aims to help small companies grow and succeed. Applicants can submit a pitch for their chance at a $250,000 pool of funding as well as additional prizes.

Grants are available to for-profit companies that have been in operation for at least six months as of Feb. 16, have between one and 99 employees, and have a shipping need. Applications will be accepted through March 9, with a public voting period running from March 10 to 24 to help select the top 100 finalists. The winners will be announced on May 10.

One grand prize winner will receive $50,000 as well as $7,500 in FedEx print and business services, while a second place winner will receive $30,000 plus $5,000 in FedEx services. Ten third place winners will each receive $15,000 as well as $1,000 in FedEx services.

New this year, the program will provide all 100 finalists with one-on-one financial coaching from the Accion Opportunity Fund, a nonprofit small business lender. These companies will also get access to the national conference of the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, up to three webinars from ICIC, and mentor matching through SCORE.

This is the second year that FedEx will recognize a Veteran-Owned Business Award Winner. It will also continue the practice of having its Entrepreneur Advisory Board, which includes former grant winners and small business owners, select an Entrepreneur Choice Award Winner.

Now in its ninth year, the program attracted more than 4,100 submissions in 2020 as well as over 720,000 ballots during the public voting period. It has grown from a small initiative that awarded $50,000 in grants to U.S. companies to a larger effort that has extended to six other countries.

Business owners can apply for the program here. Applicants are asked to prepare a short profile of their company and four photos that represent their business, and may also record a brief “elevator pitch” video.

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