National Search Underway to Identify America’s Small Business Champions; National Search Underway to Identify America’s Small Business Champions More than $125,000 up for grabs from SCORE and Sam’s Club; one winner to receive $25,000

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National Search Underway to Identify America’s Small Business Champions

More than $125,000 up for grabs from SCORE and Sam’s Club; one winner to receive $25,000


WASHINGTON, Jan. 13, — SCORE, a national nonprofit dedicated to mentoring small business owners, is teaming up with Sam’s Club to launch the 2016 American Small Business Championship. The competition is open to small business owners and entrepreneurs from coast to coast with one winner receiving a $25,000 grand prize.

Kicking off tomorrow with an open call for applications, The American Small Business Championship will award 102 small businesses, two in every state and the District of Columbia, for their dedication to the success of their business. The Small Business Champions will receive a $1,000 Sam’s Club gift card, an all-expense-paid trip to a regional training event, SCORE mentoring for one year, and promotion throughout the year showcasing each Champion’s story.

One Grand Champion will be selected from the group of 102 Champions to win $25,000. A judging panel of small business experts will name the Grand Champion based on how effectively they utilize the Sam’s Club gift card and the SCORE regional training events.

Apply to be a Champion

U.S. small business owners can apply to be a Champion through February 12, 2016 at To be eligible, applicants must have been in business for at least one year and currently generate revenue. Applicants must complete an online application to include response to the question “What dream would you be able to achieve if you were to win this Championship?” via either (a) a 30-60-second video OR (b) a written statement of 1,500 characters or less combined with a photo. Each applicant must also gather at least 100 votes for its online entry on the contest platform during the nomination period (January 14 – February 12, 2016). Applicants will then advance to final judging by SCORE leadership, mentors and board members.

About the Program

The $595,000 grant from Sam’s Club to SCORE not only supports the 102 Champions with resources and training, but also allows SCORE to host three regional training events for an additional 1,500 small business owners throughout 2016. The regional training events will take place in Phoenix, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. from March through May 2016. Visit to learn more about the events and registration.

“We are excited to work with Sam’s Club for the second year in a row and honor even more small businesses across the country for their hard work and dedication,” said SCORE CEO Ken Yancey. “The Championship is truly unique because it not only provides funds, but also access to training and mentoring so that Championship winners can take their success to the next level.”

Last year, Sam’s Club and SCORE rewarded 102 small business owners through the Championship, including Ciara Stockeland, owner of MODE, who said, “As an award winner of the Championship, I was able to attend the Summit which connected me with other SCORE clients. This was an encouragement and great learning experience. I was also able to use my award to purchase much needed supplies and technology pieces for our warehouse. Our team was thrilled to be recognized as a Champion business.”

“Every entrepreneur has a unique story of sacrifice and perseverance. At Sam’s Club, we hear these stories first hand from our business members every day. By working with SCORE again, we hope we can set them up with the training and resources they need to successfully manage their small business,” said Don Frieson, executive vice president for operations at Sam’s Club. “We look forward to celebrating America’s Small Business Champions because we know small businesses are the backbone of our economy and the cornerstone of every community.”

To learn more, apply or nominate a business for The American Small Business Championship, visit The 102 Champions will be announced in mid-March, 2016. The Grand Champion will be announced on September 15, 2016 at the SCORE Awards Gala in Washington, D.C.


Since 1964, SCORE has helped more than 10 million aspiring entrepreneurs. Each year, SCORE provides small business mentoring, workshops and education to more than 375,000 new and growing small businesses. More than 11,000 business experts volunteer as mentors in over 320 chapters serving local communities with entrepreneur education.

For more information about starting or operating a small business, call 1-800/634-0245 for the SCORE chapter nearest you. Visit SCORE at Connect with SCORE at and


Sam’s Club, the nation’s eighth largest retailer and a leading U.S. membership club, offers savings and surprises to millions of members in 656 U.S. club locations and at The Sam’s Club Giving Program, established by the Walmart Foundation in 2008, is dedicated to micro- and small business prosperity.  Sam’s Club and The Sam’s Club Giving Program have invested more than $11 million in national and local programs dedicated to improved training, education and increased access to capital for small business owners. For more information on national or local giving by Sam’s Club or The Sam’s Club Giving Program, visit

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