Is Mission: Small Business out to help small businesses, or to find new customers for Chase and Living Social?
By now, most of you have seen the Facebook posts for Mission: Small Business. The idea behind the campaign is that up to twelve small businesses can receive grants of $250,000 to expand their company. To be fair, the business that helped with this website, Ogre Techs, is in the running for one of the grants. We’ve received at least a half dozen requests from different companies to help support their business. When we went to vote, we noticed the advantage for the sponsors.
In order to have a chance of receiving the grant, a company needs at least 250 votes by the end of June. The competition is open to any small business in the U.S. that meets a few general qualifications. There are literally thousands of businesses competing, if not tens or even hundreds of thousands. The site does not allow you to see the essay that each company had to write to apply for the competition. It does show the number of votes each company has received to date.
Here’s where it gets interesting. The vast majority of companies listed are not going to gather 250 votes. Not even close. Most companies appear to have less than 25 votes. These companies have no chance of being eligible to receive the $250,000 grant. Read on after the break for more details!
Deep within the program rules, there is a portion that states (sorry about it being in all caps, but that was how it was formatted):
YOUR APPLICATION SUBMISSION AND THE PERSONAL INFORMATION COLLECTED FROM YOU IN CONNECTION WITH THIS PROGRAM, INCLUDING APPLICATION INFORMATION, WILL BE SHARED WITH SPONSORS AND/OR OF SPONSORS’ DESIGNATED AGENT(S) AND THAT YOU MAY BE CONTACTED BY THE SPONSOR AND/OR ITS DESIGNATED AGENT(S) IN CONNECTION WITH THE PROGRAM. CONTENT MAY BE USED FOR ANY PURPOSE INCLUDING TO VALIDATE ELIGIBILITY, ADVERTISING AND FOR MARKETING PURPOSES.
This implies that Chase and Living Social have managed to get the corporate information for thousands of small businesses, plus basic Facebook data on every single voter, for a cost of $3 million. Each of those small businesses who took the time to create an application are possible new customers of the sponsors. Sounds like a pretty good marketing deal to us.
Go to: https://www.missionsmallbusiness.com/
Search for “Ogre Techs” (or your favorite small business. There are thousands currently running.)
You’re done! You can cast multiple votes, with no apparent limit to the number of companies that you can vote for.