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The UPS Store storefront icon and Small Biz Challenge logo on a sky blue background
  • 29 July 2021
  • Public Relations

2021 Small Biz Challenge Recap

The UPS Store 2021 Small Biz Challenge Highlights Resilience of Five Entrepreneurs in the Year that Was, Awards Grant BLVD Founder $25,000  

Over the last year and a half, small business owners have been hard at work regaining momentum and adapting to meet consumer demands. To help celebrate and recognize the efforts of small business owners nationwide, we recently hosted a lively virtual competition with Inc. magazine, Small Biz Challenge, where five small business owners had the opportunity to demonstrate their resilience and shine, competing for $25,000 and a feature in Inc. magazine.

Chef, author, and TV host Carla Hall and veteran TV host, social media influencer, and author Shannon LaNier hosted the Small Biz Challenge: Virtual Studio Event and crowned Dr. Kimberly McGlonn, founder and owner of Grant BLVD in Philadelphia, as this year’s winner of the $25,000 prize and featured business owner in a future issue of Inc. magazine. Kimberly stood out from the competition by problem-solving and demonstrating her agility and nimble decision-making. In second place, Julie Sullivan Loos, co-founder of Ground Up Nut Butters in Portland, took home $20,000, while Sammi Bivens, founder and CEO of Digital Marketing Maven in Dallas, received $15,000 for placing third. Dr. David A. Paul, founder of Bold & Gritty, LLC in Rochester, N.Y., and Jonathan C. Marcus, Co-Founder of Rose Sisters Chips in Bridgeport, Conn., were awarded $5,000 each.

Business-ownership skills – from financial strategy to interpersonal communication and more – of these talented small business owners were put to the test through a series of hypothetical situations requiring them to quickly think on their feet. They were confident, clever, and determined -- just a few words offering a glimpse into how these entrepreneurs handled each challenging question. Julie exhibited her ability to improvise and prepare for the unexpected by confidently articulating in 20 seconds how an object in the room, juggling balls, represents her business, constantly “juggling their mission, empowering women, and creating a delicious product.” While Sammi impressed with her ability to persuasively sell a product to a target audience and close the deal – all within 30 seconds!  

Congratulations to Kimberly and the four finalists! Being in the top five among more than 2,000 entries from across the U.S. is no small feat!

Meet the Small Biz Challenge Winner and Finalists

Julie Sullivan Loos

Co-founder, Ground Up Nut Butters
Portland, OR

David A. Paul, MD, MS

Founder, Bold & Gritty, LLC
Rochester, NY

Dr. Kimberly McGlonn

Founder and owner, Grant Blvd
Philadelphia, PA

Sammi Bivens

Founder/CEO, Digital Marketing Maven
Dallas, TX

Jonathan C. Marcus

Co-founder, Rose Sisters Chips
Bridgeport, CT

Put your skills to the test

Now, put yourselves in the contestants’ shoes. How would you answer these challenging questions? There’s not necessarily a wrong answer, it depends on your quality of reasoning.

  • Improvising: In 20 seconds, select an object near you and explain how it represents your business.
  • Choosing: In one minute, choose one of these options and explain why that choice will lead to a greater success than the other option. Would you rather have 100% customer satisfaction or 100% employee satisfaction?
  • Influencing: In one minute, how would you respond to this scenario: You’re a part of a local business networking group and have been referring lots of prospects to one of your colleagues, and have noticed they’re not reciprocating. 

Use Your Time Wisely

All this talk about differentiating your business from the competition is a reminder that sometimes, you need a professional to help you get closer to the business of your dreams. Let your local The UPS Store retailer take the guesswork out of your day-to-day tasks like packing and shipping, printing, mailboxing, direct mailing and more, giving you more time to focus on other priorities to grow your business.

Find Your Inspiration

Kimberly knows all too well about being efficient with her time to focus on innovating her business. She plans to use her prize money to invest in and take care of her team. If you were awarded $25,000, how would you invest it to grow your business? Whether you’re just starting a small business or own an established one, there’s always room to learn more about how your peers develop their business acumen. Watch a replay of the Small Biz Challenge competition here.

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