FedEx grant contest could put $25,000 in your small biz bank account

Could you use $25,000 in cash and $7,500 in credit for FedEx Office print and business services? (Okay, dumb question, I know.)

That’s the grand prize in FedEx’s fifth annual Small Business Grant Contest.

If you want to enter, you have until March 29, 2017 to get your application in. Head over to the company’s Grant Contest page to write a short profile of your business, upload four photos – including your logo – and submit an optional 90-second elevator pitch.

The second-place finisher will get $15,000 and $5,000 in credit for FedEx Office print and business services. Finally, eight “bronze prize” winners will each receive $7,500, plus $1,000 in FedEx Office print and business services.

I’m a student of the small business topics owners and would-be founders search for on Google, and “small business grants” is always a popular search. Unfortunately, with very few exceptions, there aren’t grants out there for small businesses. Government agencies facilitate loans, but unless you’re in a very special category, there are virtually no grants available.

Further, many of the competitions that are popular today are limited to startups and even business plans. That makes this FedEx contest pretty special. By the way, the basic requirements for entry are to be a “U.S.-based for-profit small businesses with fewer than 99 employees and operating for six months or more.”

That chunk of cash and those valuable services could do a lot to greatly help any small business. Last year’s winner – Ginjan Bros., a small business that develops and brings to market traditional African drinks – used the money to increase production. They needed the boost to fill current orders and get enough inventory on the shelves to expand distribution.

I’m glad to see that the contest is in its fifth year. Sometimes these things come and go quickly. Over its first four years, 13,000 businesses have entered the U.S. competition and the total prize money has grown from $50,000 to $120,000. Further, there are now contests in nine countries.

I urge you to enter. It won’t take a lot of your time and the payoff could be a game changer.