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Congratulations to the 2016 American Small Business Champions

$25,000 Grand Prize

$25,000 Grand Prize

+ 4 other prizes

View entries

Sam’s Club and SCORE are proud to announce the 2016 American Small Business Champions. These small businesses from around the country will be rewarded for the sacrifices they have made to make their businesses successful. The Champions came from over 250 eligible entries and were selected by a panel of distinguished judges and public votes. Thank you to all the entrants for participating. The Champions win a $1,000 Sam's Club gift card, expense-paid attendance at a regional Championship Celebration and Symposium, SCORE mentoring for one year, and significant national publicity.

2016 ASBC Grand Champion: Ninja Park Obstacle and Fitness Training Gym

Albuquerque, NM

$25,000 grand prize winner

Ninja Park Picture

Ninja Park Obstacle and Fitness Training Gym is a family-owned obstacle training facility in Albuquerque, NM that provides clients of all ages and fitness levels with classes, parties and training sessions that build strength, self-confidence and perseverance skills. The $25,000 grand prize will be used for the continued development of Ninja Park’s program for children with autism.

Garrett Takach founded Ninja Park in 2014, when he was just 18 years old. His close relationship with his younger brother, who has autism, instilled a dream of helping autistic children learn to overcome obstacles in a fun, safe and supportive environment.

“Our hope is that the lessons learned in our gym can be taken home and utilized when facing everyday life challenges,” co-owner Garrett Takach said. “Winning this Championship will give us the opportunity to buy special needs equipment, expand our children's obstacle and party area, and offer more times to accommodate greater numbers of clients.”

“Thank you, thank you! We are so excited and grateful. I am inspired by the work that SCORE does to assist people like us with the often difficult job of starting, operating, and growing a small business,” said Ninja Park co-owner, Marie Takach. “I am also so grateful to Sam’s Club. Their efforts are invaluable in assisting small businesses like ours in growing so that we can help more people in our community.”

2016 ASBC Finalist: Copiosity, LLC

Silver Spring, MD

Copiosity Picture

Dianne Harrison and Cynthia M. Clarke co-own Copiosity, a luxury greetings, paper product design and lifestyle brand. Together, they hand-create beautiful specialty cards, gift wrap and stationery that make communications and special occasions more unique and meaningful.

Beginning with nothing more than an idea and the self-confidence to pursue it, Dianne and Cynthia turned small donations from friends and family into a scaled growth of 80% from seven active product lines sold by six national retailers. Dianne states the driving motivation behind their work: “Our dream is to show by our example how women and minorities with little money can use sheer determination and resources to become successful entrepreneurs.”

2016 ASBC Finalist: Extendher, LLC

Clifton Park, NY

Extendher Picture

Maria Messier and Joanne Frank created the Extendher to save time and money for expecting mothers. Their patent-pending extender panel clips on to any outerwear that has a zipper, and extends garments so that they can continue to be worn during pregnancy and new motherhood.

View full list of winners

SCORE’s Championship celebrates U.S. small businesses, and is made possible thanks to funding from Sam’s Club and The SCORE Foundation.

Through the American Small Business Championship, one Grand Champion wins $25,000 – money that can be put to great use for building a business. $1,000 Sam’s Club gift cards are awarded to two businesses from each state and the District of Columbia. Champions were invited to a regional Training and Networking Event in Phoenix, Chicago, or Washington DC. in April or May 2016. Of course, SCORE also paired winners with a business mentor to support businesses throughout this journey.

Businesses that had already been a SCORE client were also eligible to win one of ten SCORE Awards and were invited to the SCORE Awards Gala on September 15, 2016, in Washington, D.C. All entrants received major national publicity.

Celebrating Best Small Businesses

To enter, businesses answered the question, “What dream would you be able to achieve if you were to win this Championship?” through a video of 30-60 seconds, or with a photo and written response of no more than 1,500 characters. Entrants needed at least 100 votes to be eligible. Beyond determining eligibility, public support (meaning votes) comprised 15% of the final score. The remaining 85% was determined by our panel of judges based on the compelling nature of the entry (50%), creativity/originality (25%) and clarity/adherence to theme (10%). Entry period was January 14, 2016, through 5:00 pm EST on February 12, 2016.

The National Champions were announced on Tuesday, March 22, 2016. The Grand Champion was selected from the National Champions by a panel of small business experts in July 2016. In part, judges reviewed how well the business has taken advantage of the $1,000 Sam’s Club gift card and SCORE training at the regional Training and Networking Event to achieve a business dream. The Grand Champion was announced at the Gala on September 15, 2016.

See Entry Requirements and the Official Rules for additional details.

Contest Requirements

Your entry should answer the question, "What dream would you be able to achieve if you were to win this Championship?" We are looking for personal, compelling stories of how this contest would help you to achieve your business dreams. You can tell that story through EITHER (a) a video of 30-60 seconds, OR (b) photo combined with a written answer of 1,500 characters or fewer. We are looking to celebrate businesses that demonstrate determination and the attitude of a champion by overcoming obstacles to achieve their dreams.

The entry period is January 14, 2016, through February 12, 2016 at 5 pm EST.

To be considered, you will need to get at least 100 votes for your entry between January 14, 2016, and February 19, 2016 at 5 pm EST. Your final vote count will boost your score in the judging process–so share your entry widely with your family, friends, customers and supporters. People can vote for your entry on this website.

If you submit a video entry, it can be as simple as talking into a camera on your phone or computer, or something more involved such as an interview, an animation, dance, or song. The minimum requirements are that videos must be 30-60 seconds and appropriate for a general audience. File size for video cannot exceed 500MB.

To see examples of Champions from 2015, please visit the 2015 Championship website. See the Official Rules for additional details.

Contest Timeline

Round nameStarts onEnds on
Submission roundJanuary 14, 2016 @ 12:00 AM (EST)February 12, 2016 @ 5:00 PM (EST)
Voting roundJanuary 14, 2016 @ 12:00 AM (EST)February 19, 2016 @ 11:59 PM (EST)
Judging roundFebruary 20, 2016 @ 11:59 PM (EST)March 1, 2016 @ 11:59 PM (EST)

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