Consider These Tips from FedEx when Applying for its Small Business Grants
May 4th 2019
FedEx media relations pro Gretchen Mathis was kind enough to answer a series of questions WomensNet posed regarding FedEx’s small business grant contest.
The 2019 winners were just announced (April 2019), so use these suggestions to prepare for the 2020 round.
The last paragraph of Mathis’ response offers suggestions for what you can start doing now to put yourself in a great position for next year:
Would you give us some history on the FedEx small business grant program?
At FedEx, we know that small businesses are the backbone of the global economy. We launched the FedEx Small Business Grant Contest seven years ago as a way to show our support for and commitment to helping small businesses grow. After announcing this year’s winners on April 29, 2019, we have now awarded over $778,000 to more than 70 small businesses across the United States.
Are there particular types of businesses that FedEx is looking to support, or that have a better chance of winning?
No, we’re not looking for any specific type of business – but we ARE looking for small businesses that have a demonstrated passion for what they do or sell.
How important is the quality of the initial application in moving on within the competition?
The quality of the entry is the most important thing in moving forward in the contest. Your entry profile is what the voting public uses to get to know your business and potentially vote for you. It’s also what FedEx looks at to get to know you, learn more about your business, and understand your plans for growth.
Do votes from the public determine the ultimate winner or is that only one factor among several?
Votes from the public are just one factor among several in determining our winners. This year, the 700 businesses that received the highest number of votes were considered for the Top 100 Finalists. And from those Top 100 Finalists, we chose our Winners.
How important is video quality from the finalists – or is content more important than, say, camera angle?
The video is really all about the content. We recognize that not everyone is able to produce a professional grade video and we like the authenticity of a “selfie” type video.
What advice would you offer applicants to help them submit the best grant application possible?
Advice for anyone thinking about entering the contest or any pitch competition in the future is “just do it.” You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Focus on telling your story, connecting to your audience and being clear about how you would use the grant money. You’ll get great exposure for your business and get to practice perfecting your business’ story.
Thinking about past winners, what would you say they have in common as entrepreneurs?
We’ve had a diverse pool of winners each year – each with their own unique story and business. The one thing they’ve all had in common, however, is their energy and passion for their business. They believe in what they’re doing and are willing to put their all into making their business succeed.
What else should grant applicants consider when completing their FedEx small business grant forms?
In order to enter the contest, we ask you to tell us all about your business, what inspired you to get into it, what makes it stand out, and how you would use the grant to grow.
In addition to that, we do spend time looking at the social media channels of the businesses who enter the contest. We enjoy seeing how these small businesses have leveraged social media to develop an authentic and positive brand voice. We also like reading about how the entrants are involved in their local communities, whether that be through mentoring other small businesses, donating to a cause they’re passionate about, creating jobs for the community, or doing good for the environment.