SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) today announced the five grand prize winners of its national Wells Fargo Works Project contest, which ran from May 1 – June 30. Selected from 25 contest finalists, the five grand prize winners will each receive $25,000 for their business, along with tailored solutions for their business and six months of professional guidance from small business experts. Each grand prize winner will also receive a $5,000 donation to an eligible non-profit organization in their community made by Wells Fargo.
To enter, small business owners had to submit a short video or essay describing why they became a business owner, their mission and purpose, and their business goals and challenges. The finalists and grand prize winners were selected based on their responses to the contest questions and their contest entry. Entries were judged by panel of contest judges and through public voting.
Grand Prize Winners
- Agrarian Land and Pond LLC of Orlando, Fla. provides sustainable management for storm water pond systems and wetlands using a proprietary technique called Ecosystem Facilitation. The company was launched in 2010 with the goal of restoring ecosystems to increase property value and protect wildlife and water resources. Business owner Zachary Marimon said being named a grand prize winner will help the business to create marketing materials and take Agrarian Land and Pond nationwide.
- cHarissa, LLC of Cutchogue, N.Y., produces cHarissa condiment and spice, which was developed in America by Moroccan native Gloria Fultz. She and her husband Earl were encouraged for decades by family and friends to sell cHarissa, but it wasn’t until they settled into retirement that they began bottling it. After selling the product at a farmer’s market, cHarissa made its way onto the shelves of several local retailers. Though Gloria passed away last year, 90-year-old Earl is continuing to grow the company and keep the story behind cHarissa alive.
- Giant Project, Inc./ProXR, LLC was founded by St. Louis inventor Grady Phelan, who developed ProXR – a revolutionary baseball bat that is ergonomically designed to cradle the hand and reduce compression. Phelan said the unique design allows for a better grip, an increased range of motion and improved performance. As a grand prize winner, Phelan hopes to scale his business by increasing manufacturing and growing inventory.
- Prodigal Farm is a 97-acre dairy goat farm based in Rougemont, N.C., that creates handcrafted farmstead cheeses, breads, produce and farm-crafted specialty items. Owners Kathryn Spann and Dave Krabbe are proud of the sense of community that has grown up around their family farm, which is centered on a pastured, Animal Welfare Approved goat herd known for producing “world-class goat cheese.” Being named as a grand prize winner will help Prodigal Farm add dairy cows, which would expand their milking schedule and allow the farm and its employees to work and milk year-round.
- The Radford Theatre is a vintage main street movie theater located in downtown Radford, Va. In 2013, the single-screen theater underwent a major renovation, which included upgrading the movie projectors from movie reels to digital films. The theater owners have added live events to their lineup and with the grand prize money and mentorship, they are also considering refurbishing the balcony to allow for premium seating and concessions.
“As America’s leading small business lender, we are committed to doing more to help these businesses, and are thrilled that the Wells Fargo Works Project contest was able to engage, inspire, and most importantly, help hard-working small business owners across the country,” said Lisa Stevens, Wells Fargo head of Small Business. “Beyond the contest, we look forward to seeing how Wells Fargo Works for Small Business will help us continue to engage our small business customers in every market we serve.”
From coast-to-coast, the contest attracted more than 3,600 video and essay entries from a diverse range of small businesses. Its timing coincided with the May 1 launch of Wells Fargo Works for Small BusinessSM, a broad initiative that delivers resources, guidance and services to help more small businesses achieve financial success, and the announcement of Wells Fargo’s goal to extend $100 billion in new lending to small businesses by 2018.
The following 25 Wells Fargo Works Project finalists – grand prize winners included – each received a $1,000 cash prize:
|Agrarian Land and Pond, LLC, Orlando Fla.||Authority Football, Mesa, Ariz.|
|Be Nice Box, Minneapolis, Minn.||Café 402, Wichita, Kan.|
|cHarissa, LLC, Cutchogue, N.Y.||Charles Clark What Matters Foundation, Virginia Beach, Va.|
|El Reto USA, LLC, Miami, Fla.||Giant Project, Inc., St. Louis, Mo.|
|Grooming by Em, North Brentwood, Md.||Healthy Hands Cooking, Irmo, S.C.|
|Keep Company Inc, Los Angeles, Calif.||Little Rockers LLC, Atlantic Highlands, N.J.|
|LSTN Headphones, West Hollywood, Calif.||Oodles 4 Kids, Portland, Ore.|
|Pocket Frenz, East Quogue, N.Y.||Prodigal Farm, Rougemont, N.C.|
|Rowdy Mermaid, Boulder, Colo.||San Francisco Skate Club, LLC, San Francisco, Calif.|
|Snuggwugg INC, Las Vegas, Nev.||Spencer Publishing, Los Angeles, Calif.|
|Stepping Stone Support Center, Littleton, Colo.||Sustainable Surplus Exchange, Carlsbad, Calif.|
|The Bijou Theatre, Bridgeport, Conn.||The Radford Theatre, Radford, Va.|
|VegThisWay LLC, San Luis Obispo, Calif.|
Visit WellsFargoWorks.com to review the entries of the five grand prize winners and 25 contest finalists, and learn more about Wells Fargo Works for Small Business.
About Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a nationwide, diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.6 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 9,000 locations, 12,500 ATMs, and the internet (wellsfargo.com), and has offices in 36 countries to support customers who conduct business in the global economy. With approximately 265,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 29 on Fortune’s 2014 rankings of America’s largest corporations. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy all our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially. Wells Fargo perspectives are also available at Wells Fargo Blogs and Wells Fargo Stories.