Helping students make it through college in four years. Teaching children the basics of money management. Providing products and compassion to Alzheimer's patients and their caretakers. These "out-of-the-box" ideas from their innovative creators are helping to drive the small business economy.
And the companies behind these ideas are the winners of the 2nd annual UPS Best "Out-of-the-Box" Small Business Contest. UPS (NYSE:UPS), the world's largest package delivery company and a global leader in supply chain services, today announced the winners of the contest launched in May to recognize innovation in small business.
The first-place winner is Application 2 Graduation, LLC of Chicago, founded by Mary Wayman. Second place goes to Money Savvy Generation of Lake Bluff, Ill., started by Michael and Susan Beacham. The Alzheimer's Store of Cumming,
"UPS has always been a partner of small businesses and, in fact, the company was started in 1907 as a bicycle messenger service on just US$100," says Kurt Kuehn, UPS senior vice president, worldwide sales and marketing. "UPS understands that a small business owner's passion and focus is on running and building their business, not operational details like shipping. UPS makes shipping easy and fast for small businesses whether they're shipping around the corner or around the world."
This year's winner says her inspiration came from a desire for her son to attend a good college and obtain a degree in four years. "The business grew from the goal I had set for my child. It's nice to know some of the big companies, like UPS, are looking for ways to help small businesses continue to grow and prosper," Ms. Wayman says.
Each of the winners has a compelling and unique story of innovation.
· Application to Graduation (A2G) Ms. Wayman was determined to see her son graduate from college in four years. Realizing other parents had the same goal, she developed a business that begins assisting college-bound students while they're still in high school. A2G assesses a student's learning style, recommends colleges that best suit the student, reviews college applications and essays, completes financial aid information and accompanies the student on college visits. Once the student is admitted, A2G assigns an Advocate with whom the student meets once a week. The Advocate monitors the student's class load, assists with any meetings with deans or professors and supports the student through the emotional changes associated with this new stage of life.
· Money Savvy Generation The Beachams wanted to make sure their two daughters grew up to be financially competent by teaching them good money choices as children. They created a curriculum that meets social studies and math standards for students in K-12. They also developed the Money Savvy Pig®, a piggy bank with four slots and four chambers each representing a key financial principle save, spend, invest, or give. Money Savvy Generation has expanded its line based on feedback from customers and now carries several types of banks and lessons adapted for home use. A DVD series and activity books also accompany the line. To date, the products have reached more than 500,000 students.
· The Alzheimer's Store The Warners began this online business after Mark, who had a career designing buildings for the aging, wrote a book, The Complete Guide to Alzheimer's-Proofing Your Home, which identified strategies and products to make homes dementia-friendly. Once the book was published, readers began calling and asking for the products featured in it. Today, The Alzheimer's Store sells nearly 300 products and compiles a free newsletter that provides briefings and links to articles on dementia and care-giving issues.
The UPS Best "Out-of-the-Box" Small Business Contest was designed for
The entries were reviewed by a panel of business experts including: Ed Baker, publisher of the Atlanta Business Chronicle; Delia Passi, president, Medelia Communications; Eileen O'Brien, vice president, Worldwide Small and Medium Business, Personal Systems Group, HP; Brian Dumaine, editorial director, Fortune Small Business; Rich Bradshaw, senior vice president, UPS Capital, the financial services arm of UPS, and Lucinda Yates, founder of Designs By Lucinda and the 2005 contest winner.
The first-place prize package contains: US$10,000 in cash or UPS package delivery services; a personal computer provided by HP and equipped with UPS OnLine Tools; US$5,000 worth of UPS consulting services, and US$1,000 of document services from the nearest The UPS Store. The second-place winner receives US$5,000 in cash or package delivery services along with the HP computer package, while the third-place winner receives the HP computer package.
According to a 2006 White House press release, small businesses create two out of every three new jobs and account for nearly half of
UPS helps small businesses participate in global commerce by synchronizing package delivery, supply chain and financial services. Additionally, UPS's broad portfolio of technology solutions can help small businesses go global, go online or simply conduct their operations more efficiently. The UPS Store provides document and shipping services at convenient locations worldwide. Meanwhile, UPS Capital, the financial services arm of UPS, serves small businesses with a number of innovative products and services designed to help them accelerate their payments, gain access to crucial working capital and minimize the risks of international trade.
UPS is the world's largest package delivery company and a global leader in supply chain services, offering an extensive range of options for synchronizing the movement of goods, information and funds. Headquartered in