Tori Nichel, the owner of a women's boutique in Brooklyn, NY, will have $25,000 to build an online shop on eBay and increase her brand's recognition around the world.
"I've always been fond of eBay because of what they represent in the spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation, how they initially launched and how eBay has grown in supporting and nurturing an online presence for small businesses," she says.
Nichel was named as one of the winners of the eBay Sellers Challenge, which ran June 9 through Aug. 6. She and three others will receive $25,000 to build and/or expand their eBay businesses. The competition was meant to spark entrepreneurial spirit among its sellers, eBay notes. Participants submitted a business plan and video detailing what they would do with the money to improve their businesses.
"It's encouraging to see companies like eBay work to inspire individuals from all walks of life to realize their entrepreneurial calling," notes Thom Ruhe, director of entrepreneurship at Kauffman Foundation, which co-sponsored the contest. "Indeed, entrepreneurship is central to the economic welfare of the United States. We are proud to work in partnership with organizations like eBay that share our commitment to entrepreneurship."
Contestants competed in one of four categories: U.S. Veterans & Service Members, First-Time Sellers on eBay, Part-Time Sellers on eBay and Full-Time Sellers on eBay. One runner-up in each category was also named, and each of them will receive $5,000 for their businesses.
"eBay presents a wonderful opportunity for a small business owner like me to become locally accessible to customers throughout the world," says Nichel, the winner of the first-time seller category. "As I work to bring my boutique online, this grant will go a long way in helping me achieve my goals for growing my customer base and reaching a more diverse group of customers."
We're committed to supporting emerging entrepreneurs with the tools they need to build and grow a successful business
She'll begin expanding her business by creating an eBay Store and investing in online advertisements, she notes.
Thomas Costello, a lance corporal in the Marines and the winner of the service member and veterans category, says he'll use the money to purchase equipment for his business, particularly photo equipment.
"My items would look much better on something other than my wooden floor," says Costello, who has been selling used computers and computer parts on the auction site for about three years.
"Entrepreneurial spirit is deeply embedded in eBay's history and culture, which is why we're so committed to supporting emerging entrepreneurs with the tools they need to build and grow a successful business," notes Lorrie Norrington, eBay Marketplaces' president. "The passion, dedication and hard work of the exceptional sellers who participated in the Challenge truly embody this entrepreneurial spirit. We are proud to recognize and support their ventures, and hope their success encourages other would-be entrepreneurs to take the steps toward starting their own businesses."
See videos of all the winners and runners-up here.
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Auctiva staff writers constantly monitor trends and best practices of those selling on eBay and elsewhere online. They attend relevant training seminars and trade shows and regularly discuss the market with PowerSellers and other market experts.