Boating Businesses Compete for FedEx Small Business Grant

marketing planfedex small business grantsBoatNameGear and Freeport Marine Supply join list of small businesses competing to earn $25,000 grant from FedEx for most compelling small business story

Two small businesses in the marine industry – Newington CT based specializing in personalized boat gear, and marine parts and supply company Freeport Marine Supply in Freeport NY – have entered a competition to earn a Small Business Grant from FedEx.

The FedEx Small Business Grant Contest gives small businesses a chance to tell their individual business stories and compete for a share of $50,000 in small business grants. Awards include one Grand Prize grant of $25,000, four first place grants of $5,000 and five second place grants of $1,000.

Grants are intended to fuel future business growth for the winning small business… such as build better websites, expand to create more jobs, franchise their ideas, and innovate new products and services.

Small businesses must submit their business story by February 9, and voting runs from January 16 through February 23, 2014. Winners will be selected based on number of votes and the most compelling business stories and announced on March 24, 2014.

Each small business entry was asked to complete a questionnaire to share their story and help determine grant winners. Entries for both boating businesses include details about their business inspiration and future funding plans to grow in the boating industry.

BoatNameGear entry:

What inspired you to get into the business you are in today?
I’ve always been inspired by unique and clever boat names. As a child I would walk the docks and look at all the boat names on the back of boats. Perhaps I was envious, as my family’s small fishing boat never had a name. I never thought about it too much. Years later, I find myself serving boaters and their friends all over the world with all sorts of products personalized with boat names. It is a little ironic, and very satisfying.

How do you define success for yourself and for your business?
I consider my business to be more of a customer satisfaction business than a product business. We sell happiness. When somebody tells me they gave our product as a gift to their grandparents and they loved it, or that their friends wear their boat name gear everywhere, it makes me feel proud to have started this business.

How would you use the FedEx SMB Grant money to make a significant impact on your business and/or on others?
Every penny that comes into BoatNameGear goes into improving the customer experience. If we are lucky enough to be honored with a FedEx Small Business Grant, we will invest in new personalization equipment so that we can provide faster turn-around times to our customers.

Vote for BoatNameGear

Freeport Marine Supply entry:

What inspired you to get into the business you are in today?
The business was started by my grandfather, Arthur Ross, in 1939. We have a strong, loyal customer following in the northeast region. Growing up in the business I was taught the value of taking care of customers and establishing relationships with our vendors. I am inspired to help this business grow to the next level and succeed in a challenging economy.

How do you define success for yourself and for your business?
I would like to see significant growth outside of the northeast. We have captured a great portion of the local market but the industry was negatively impacted by Super storm Sandy. It may be some time before this region fully recovers. In order to grow our business we need to market ourselves to other areas of the country and the world.

How would you use the FedEx SMB Grant money to make a significant impact on your business and/or on others?
Our website needs a complete overhaul. It was developed and designed a few years ago and technology has quickly changed. We would use the grant funds to switch to a more user friendly platform and a new design.

Vote for Freeport Marine Supply

Individuals can support these boating businesses and other entries by voting once a day through February 23. The voting systems uses a Facebook app for purposes of fulfilling this promotion and in accordance with the privacy policy on

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    1. Your passion for the boating industry, combined with your entrepreneurial spirit, makes BoatNameGear a great choice for this grant. Best of luck Andrew!

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