BBVA Compass today announced the winners of its Great Ideas for Small Business contest on Facebook, awarding two $10,000 grand prizes to help a pair of budding businesses grow.
The Green Bottle Candle Company, founded by Carmen Wooten Preston of Birmingham, Ala., was voted the top idea by Facebook fans. The company partners with local restaurants to repurpose wine bottles as containers for small-batch natural soy candles.
Ed Adkins of Truth or Consequences, N.M., secured the top vote from a panel of bank judges for his Centipede Sawhorse, a portable, heavy duty base created for use as a sawhorse or workbench during construction and renovation projects.
Launched in October via an app on BBVA Compass' Facebook page, the Great Ideas for Small Business contest provided a platform for small business owners and entrepreneurs to promote their business ideas for a chance to win one of two $10,000 prizes. Forty-six "great ideas" qualified for the contest and were narrowed to five finalists, which were then put to a vote on Facebook and scored by a panel of bank judges.
Preston said she plans to use her prize to build on the exposure the contest gave her company.
"I have been trying to move forward with my business for some time, but funding has been difficult to secure as a mom-and-pop startup," Preston said. "The $10,000 award will help me to better brand my company by creating a marketing campaign. I also plan to enter a trade show to continue to establish my company."
Adkins impressed the panel of BBVA Compass judges with the implementation plan for his Centipede Sawhorse and the product's potentially broad appeal.
"Ed created an innovative product and he did a good job of selling its many uses and benefits across a range of scenarios," said Lonnie Hayes, small business segment director for BBVA Compass. "We looked for that kind of ingenuity and passion because those are the hallmarks of any successful business, large or small."
Adkins says he plans to use his $10,000 in winnings to fulfill the pre-orders he's gotten for his invention. "It will help us with logistics, tooling and costs associated with distributing the product," he said.
The Great Ideas for Small Business contest was part of BBVA Compass' ongoing efforts to meet the specific needs of micro-business owners, who often work alone and typically generate less than $500,000 in annual revenue. The contest helped the bank illustrate its commitment to small business owners and inventive entrepreneurs by providing valuable social media exposure.
"Small businesses are the cornerstone of our economy and give local entrepreneurs a chance to make their marks in the community," Hayes said. "Through this contest, we were able to present two deserving business owners with a way to help move their ideas and businesses ahead. It's exciting to be a part of their stories."