A new grant program sponsored by Chase and LivingSocial will give 12 small businesses the leg up they need to keep growing. Mission: Small Business will grant up to $250,000 to individual businesses that convince a panel of peers and small-business mentors that they deserve the funding.
The program, which runs through June 30, provides businesses with the capital and marketing resources needed to grow. To apply, businesses must be established for at least two years and have fewer than 100 employees. Entrepreneurs applying will answer a series of questions identifying their motive and outlining their plan to use the grant.
"The program aims to find innovative small business owners and provide them with the capital to help execute a business plan for growth," Richard Quigley, president of Chase Business Card, said in a statement.
The program will dole out a minimum of four and a maximum of 12 $250,000 grants. Supporters can log on through social media and vote for their favorite small-business candidate. For every vote of support, Chase will add $5 to the grant pool.
Ultimately, winners will be selected by a panel of small-business experts, including entrepreneur and AOL co-founder Steve Case; Candace Nelson, founder of Sprinkles Cupcakes; Jason Calacanis, CEO of Mahalo.com; David Chavern, COO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Richard Quigley, president of Chase Business Card, and Tim O'Shaughnessy, CEO and co-founder of LivingSocial.
"LivingSocial's goal is to help energize their connections with people seeking new and exciting experiences in their communities," Tim O'Shaughnessy, LivingSocial CEO and co-founder, said in a statement.
Interested small-business owners can log on to the Mission: Small Business webpage, where they'll find a marketing toolkit to help them get the word out about the grant program and voting.