eBay grants more than $100,000 to help foster online entrepreneurship
San Jose, Calif.—Sept. 14, 2009—A group of aspiring online entrepreneurs are now benefitting from $120,000 in grants from eBay to invest in their businesses. eBay, the world’s largest online marketplace, announced the four entrepreneurs—each of whom will receive $25,000, as well as marketing advice and assistance from eBay—who were selected as winners of the eBay Sellers Challenge, a business contest designed to spark the entrepreneurial spirit among eBay sellers. Four runners-up in the contest will receive business grants totaling $20,000.
As part of the Sellers Challenge, aspiring entrepreneurs were required to develop a business plan for growing or establishing an eBay-based business, along with a short video explaining their approach. Eight finalists—two in each of four categories—were selected by eBay and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the world's largest foundation devoted to entrepreneurship. The winners of the Sellers Challenge were selected by the eBay community via online voting.
"It's encouraging to see companies like eBay work to inspire individuals from all walks of life to realize their entrepreneurial calling," said Thom Ruhe, director of entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation. "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."
"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," said Lorrie Norrington, president of eBay Marketplaces. "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 towards starting their own businesses."
This year's eBay Sellers Challenge winners in each of the four categories include:
- U.S. Veterans and Service Members: Thomas Costello, a Lance Corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve and Chicago-based eBay seller who uses eBay to take advantage of a growing market for used computer equipment;
- First-time Sellers on eBay: Tori Nichel, a first-time eBay seller who will use the site as a way to establish an e-commerce presence for her growing Brooklyn-based fashion apparel business;
- Part-time Sellers on eBay: Ryan Pugh, a longtime eBay member who recently decided to make her Las Vegas-based eBay business a full-time job, selling products she believes help people to "live clean"; and,
- Full-time Sellers on eBay: Janell Anderson-Ehrke, a full-time eBay seller who helps low-income artisans and micro-entrepreneurs in Nebraska to connect with a community of buyers on eBay.
Runners-up in each category include:
- U.S. Veterans and Service Members: Jesse Carmona, Whittier, Calif.
- First-time Sellers on eBay: Sam Widman, Albany, Ga.
- Part-time Sellers on eBay: Silas Martine and family, Lakewood, Calif.
- Full-time Sellers on eBay: John Eastman, Wells, Me.
More information about the eBay Sellers Challenge and the winners, along with resources, tips and advice for starting and growing a small business online can be found at the Sellers Challenge Web site at sellerschallenge.ebay.com.
Founded in 1995, eBay Inc. connects hundreds of millions of people around the world every day, empowering them to explore new opportunities and innovate together. eBay Inc. does this by providing the Internet platforms of choice for global commerce, payments and communications. Since its inception, eBay Inc. has expanded to include some of the strongest brands in the world, including eBay, PayPal, Skype, StubHub, Shopping.com and others. eBay Inc. is headquartered in San Jose, California.