Geri Stengel

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Social Entrepreneurs Well Represented Among Big Break Finalists

Who will you vote for? It’s a tough choice! American Express OPEN and Facebook have chosen 10 finalists in their Big Break contest, out of 11,000 entries. Five of them will receive their “big break,” a Facebook makeover at Facebook headquarters and $20,000 to grow their businesses.

American Express Big Break, people and planet, social entrepreneurs, values-drivenOf course, we all get to choose the winner by voting for our favorites.

I’m struck by the creativity of these businesses and by the number who are values-driven, that is, have taken people and the planet into consideration.

  • Viesso is an eco-conscious custom furniture manufacturer that allows one to – online or in store – put together furniture with the eco-friendly fabric and filling of your choice.
  • HOPELights prints customized magazines for children with special needs and develops supportive communities for their families.
  • Distinctive Gardens, Inc. partners with local businesses and artists to expand art and culture in its community.
  • Spoonflower enables their customers to print and sell their own fabric designs using eco-friendly, water-based pigment inks on natural fiber textiles.
  • Big Daddy’s Bar-B-Que hires prisoners and others who have a hard time finding work.

These businesses and those of the other finalists – Bandee headbands, ParkWhiz reserved parking system, Fat Brain creative toys and Bear Creek Tackle – grew out of the passion of an entrepreneur who saw a need and created a solution.

Each of the finalists also has a vibrant Facebook presence already, from Big Daddy’s queries to his customers about new menu ideas to Bear Creek’s fish stories. Their videos have a lot of good ideas that other small businesses may want to emulate. But they all want to ramp that presence up. Seeing the results of their make-overs will be a learning experience for us all.

Now, who should I vote for? Who should you vote for?

Have you voted in the Big Break contest? What influenced your selection?