FedEx Grant Contest Winner 2017: Sword and Plough

For the past five years FedEx has had thousands of small businesses enter its grant contest and this year being the largest number of entries with a total of 4,600 and over 1.5 million voters.  FedEx awarded the largest amount of money ever before with over $100,000 in funding and $20,500 in grant and business services from FedEx offices totaling $120,500 spilt between first, second, and third place winners.  FedEx ensures that they are highlighting small businesses that are thriving as well giving back to the community.

If you are a for-profit small business and you are in good standing with continuous operations of selling a product or service for no less, then 6 months then you are eligible to enter in the contest.  Additionally, qualifying small businesses must have fewer than 99 employees. Currently, the grant contest is only available in the United States but FedEx is expanding and expects to offer it in nine different countries within a few years.

The FedEx Grant contest is just one of the many ways that FedEx is trying to work with small businesses. FedEx has a website which provides information to small business owners and help them through their growth cycle. The company shares many success stories to encourage and help fuel the growth of small businesses.

Sword and Plough was awarded the 2017 FedEx grant contest after entering four years prior.  They were awarded first place due to their high brand of alignment as well as sustainability.

I interviewed Sword and Plough to learn a little more about their small business and what they expect to do with the prize.

MC: How did you first hear about the FedEx Grant Contest?

S&P: This was our fourth year applying for the contest and we originally heard about the competition through a tweet that FedEx had put out and we saw a number of small businesses retweeting and reposting the tweet.

It was such an amazing opportunity that we knew it was something that we had to do. We are so excited to hear that we were names the grant prize winner.

We really looked at FedEx as an inspiration and a role model in logistics and we have learned a lot about shipments. We admire FedEx how they’ve grown in a short amount of time and the services they provide.

MC: Could you tell me what your small business is and what you provide?

S&P: Sword and Plough is a socially conscious fashion brand and we repurpose thousands of products of military surplus into bags and accessories. We work with veteran owned or operated manufactory here in the United States to make those products.  We then sell the products and donate two percent of our products to veteran non-profit organizations such as Got Your Stick, and Team Red White and Blue that really align with our mission.

MC: How do you feel about being named the FedEx Grant prize winner?

S&P: We are just so excited and incredibly grateful for the generous opportunity to receive funding to help our team grow.  We’re using that to hirer a new logistics associate to help us with our inventory management.  We’re really excited about the print services as well because that will help our team grow our brand champion program and really get the word out through marketing.  So it is really incredible opportunity to have won the grand prize and that is something for which we are very thankful.

We are so grateful to have the support and recognition from FedEx around our socially conscious business and our mission. It has been truly incredible to not only receive the grant but also having the interaction with FedEx employees. We have had an overwhelming number of emails and kind of words of support from the FedEx team.  It truly has been an amazing opportunity to work with them to help amplify our story, voice, and mission.

MC: What do you guys plan to do with the money?

S&P: We’re going to put the funding towards hiring a logistics professional as well as expanding our brand champion program. We’re hiring additional veteran services especially in Colorado.  We are just so thrilled for the opportunity, we have posted the job listings on our website, and Facebook.  We have started to receive some applicants and we are just so excited to see the progress and how far we have come.

Madison Cottone is a student at Southern New Hampshire University majoring in Business Administration with a minor in math and marketing.  She has a passion for helping under privileged children and spent her recent spring break in Nicaragua teaching English as a second language. She is also the head coordinator of a community service program that incoming freshman move in a week early to get involved in the community and also have a passion for service.