2 weeks ago, we announced the #MyBizStory contest to celebrate small businesses and the stories behind them. We received hundreds of stories that amazed and inspired us, from a variety of businesses from all across the continent!
We felt like we were a part of these stories and meeting people behind-the-scenes of each business. We knew it would be tough to pick the best entries among so many great stories. So, we tried to judge stories on the basis of what they were about and how they were told. And of course, bonus points for stories with pictures!
First off, here are the 3 stories that won the iPad Air prizes (and the ones that didn’t, don’t worry, you still won a place in our hearts!)
Alexandria’s story touched our hearts. The story combined with the lovely painting, sends out a great message about compassion for life, art and humanity.
— Alexandria Ramos (@AlexMarisaRamos) November 14, 2013
Colin’s story was impressive because, hey it’s about 18-year-olds building robots!
— Colin Roos (@ColinRoos) November 28, 2013
Sawyer’s story speaks of determination and about not giving up. But more importantly, great use of a comic for storytelling!
Congratulations to all 3 winners!
We’d love to be able to feature each story here, but we just-about managed to fit in a few of the best stories in each category. These categories are loosely based on type of business story and give you an idea of the diverse kind of businesses we met.
Deliciousness. A business that makes chocolate straight from the bean, a living-the-dream bake shop that sells curry pies, a mobile cupcake business that’s painting the streets pink, Korean BBQ Tacos that you can buy at 2 am in SF, a pizzeria that sells the best pizza in Cedar Rapids. This is the stuff that food dreams are made of!
Creativity. These businesses are creating some very different products and experiences! A clothing brand born from a simple drawing, the cute mouse called Martha who represents courage and confidence, custom outfits that ‘leave a little sparkle everywhere you go’, hair accessories crafted from sea-glass, and even a business that teaches ballet poses with a bamboo!
Girl Power. (Disclaimer: This contest was idea-ted and run by a team of 3 women so this happens to be our favorite category!) There was an entrepreneur who built a Brazilian bikini business, a business that wants to re-think bridal, a team of young women offering financial advice, and a catering business that supports second chances for women with records.
And many of these were mompreneurs: The mum who teaches people to fly with ballet, the mother who invented @sleepbelt, the engineer mum who invented baby WipesWraps, a crochet-loving mum who makes hats, the mum who’s been offering $8 haircuts at her salon for years and still doing well.
Young Entrepreneurs. These are business owners who started out really young and are working their way through success. Like the 27 year old CEO who’s already been in business for 10 years, and the one who started an affordable transportation service for college students at 18!
Wellness and Charity. A business that’s working to stomp out mental health stigma, a visual tool for autistic children, a business that helps stroke survivors speak, one that helps people with disabilities drive a car, and another one that creates sensory toys for blind kids.
Props to these businesses for their contribution to healthier, happier lives!
To read through more such stories, you can check out our storyboard on Pinterest or Storify.
While each business story is unique and special, there’s a common thread that seems to run through them all: the drive and passion to do what you truly love and believe in. And it’s this sentiment that we love being a part of. Not just on Small Business Saturday, but every day!