OnDeck, a leader in online lending for small business, has announced the three winners of its Barbara Corcoran Seal of Approval Contest, including The Sugar Path in Geneva, Illinois. Owners of the winning small businesses, chosen from almost 600 submissions, meet with Barbara to formulate a game plan for their businesses at OnDeck's headquarters in New York City.
The Sugar Path, a sibling-run bakery described as a "dessert boutique, is run by sisters Nina Cater and Michelle Adams who left their full-time jobs in corporate America to start the bakery four years ago. The two are looking to move into online sales with new ready-to-eat cakes and pies.
"I offer my heartfelt congratulations to the winners, who represent the millions of Americans who are the backbone of our economy," said Barbara Corcoran. "Behind each of these small businesses is a tale of grit, determination and perseverance. I'm looking forward to spending time with these entrepreneurs to help them design a growth strategy to invest the $10,000 prize from OnDeck."
Small businesses have two main challenges to overcome. The first is access to capital. According to the Federal Reserve Bank, business owners spend on average 33 hours searching and applying for credit from traditional sources – with no guarantee of approval.
The second biggest challenge is acquiring new customers. OnDeck, which has loaned more than $3 billion dollars to more than 45,000 small businesses, designed the contest and teamed up with Barbara Corcoran to help solve both of these challenges for three deserving businesses.
To enter the contest, business owners had to explain how they would use the $10,000 prize and guidance from Corcoran to grow their businesses. Judges for the contest included Corcoran, OnDeck CEO Noah Breslow and David Bobbitt, the President of the SCORE Foundation, a non-profit organization comprised of 11,000 business executives who volunteer to provide free and confidential advice.