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Small business owners: Connect with your community – and compete to win

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See how The UPS Store Small Business Week campaign helps empower and connect community entrepreneurs – while offering the chance to win cash.

While startups seldom get the attention that big multinational businesses do, that landscape is changing. Today more than half of Americans own or work for small businesses, which create about two out of every three new jobs in the United States each year, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

"We want to help entrepreneurs and small business owners make meaningful connections with others in their communities, and gain valuable advice from small business experts." – Michelle Van Slyke, vice president of marketing and sales, The UPS Store.

That's why The UPS Store® Small Biz Salute campaign, held during National Small Business Week, May 1–7, 2016, is expanding this year to a full month of saluting small businesses across the country and networking events in major cities – and adding a chance to compete in a pitch competition for a $5,000 prize.

"We want to help entrepreneurs and small business owners make meaningful connections with others in their communities, and gain valuable advice from small business experts," says Michelle Van Slyke, vice president of marketing and sales for The UPS Store.

Networking events will take place in Minneapolis, Nashville, Houston and Phoenix* – all identified as top centers of small business activity and growth. UPS-hosted events will allow ample time for networking with other owners in the area and feature expert speakers, including Marcus Lemonis, entrepreneur and host of CNBC's The Profit, social media strategist Dave Delaney of Futureforth, and Brittany Bly, founder of Pop Shop America.

The pitch competition will give contestants three minutes to pitch their business ideas to a live audience and panel of judges, with the best pitch winning $5,000 as seed money. Contestants can apply in person at the event. Full rules and eligibility can be found here

"The UPS Store is committed to helping small business owners everywhere launch and grow their businesses every day," Van Slyke says. The UPS Store locations are locally owned and operated, run by independent small business owners, she says. "It's natural for them to want to serve as a resource, supporting local startups, entrepreneurs and other business owners."

The UPS Store is encouraging people nationwide to show their support by sharing and celebrating their favorite small businesses on social media using the hashtag #SmallBizSalute.

Learn more about The UPS Store products and services.

Find the Small Biz Salute event nearest you:

Minneapolis, Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Minneapolis Event Center, 212 E. Second St. SW, Minneapolis, MN 55414

Keynote speaker: Marcus Lemonis, entrepreneur and host of CNBC's hit show The Profit and chairman and CEO of Camping World and Good Sam Enterprises. 

Nashville, Thursday, May 12, 2016

aVenue, 120 Third Ave. S., Nashville, TN 37201

Keynote speaker: Dave Delaney, founder of Futureforth and an award-winning social media marketing consultant specializing in social media strategy, content marketing and business networking.

Houston, Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Dukessa, 2840 Chimney Rock Road, Houston, TX 77056

Keynote speaker: Brittany Bly, founder of Pop Shop America, an online boutique that showcases vintage fashion, art and indie products. She also creates live events and consults on "pop-up" retail strategies for other businesses. 

Phoenix*, Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Phoenician, 6000 E. Camelback Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

Keynote speaker: Marcus Lemonis, entrepreneur and host of CNBC's hit show The Profit and chairman and CEO of Camping World and Good Sam Enterprises

Register here

* Full contest rules available on The UPS Store website. Small Biz Pitch Competition will not be held at the Phoenix event.

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