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Wells Fargo Announces Grand Prize Winners in Small Business Contest


Company awards $25,000, professional mentorships to five winners as part of national Wells Fargo Works Project small business contest

Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) today named five grand prize winners of its national Wells Fargo Works Project contest, which ran from May 1 – June 30. The five winning businesses, selected from a pool of 25 finalists, each will receive $25,000, a six-month mentorship from a small business professional, and tailored solutions for their business, such as checking, savings or credit products.

On May 1, small business owners across the country were invited to enter the contest by submitting a short video or essay that answered five questions addressing why they became a business owner, their mission and purpose, and their business goals and challenges. The finalists and grand prize winners were selected based on their responses, which were judged by a panel of contest judges and through public voting.

Grand Prize Winners

  • Clean Supreme Inc. of Harvest, Ala., provides carpet cleaning, janitorial services, and trauma cleanup, including bio hazards and more. Courtney Fitchard founded the company in 2002 after suffering a devastating loss in her life. In search of a new beginning, she immersed herself in her business, becoming a certified bio technician and growing the company. As a grand prize winner, Fitchard said she plans to add staff, upgrade equipment and use the guidance from her professional mentorship to learn how to scale her business.
  • Curiosity Lab Inc. of Secaucus, N.J., is a science laboratory that uses a four-step approach focused on science, engineering, and math to ignite the curiosity of children, ages 2 to 15, to explore the world around them. Founder Anubha Bhatla said she wants to improve the company’s visibility by designing a kid-sized laboratory, building a strong digital marketing strategy and developing a website.
  • Global Sanctuary for Elephants of Brentwood, Tenn., is a U.S.-based nonprofit that was founded in 2013 to provide healing sanctuaries for captive elephants. Its kick-off pilot is an Elephant Care Center in Brazil that will provide spacious, natural habitats for unwanted and neglected elephants in South America. Co-founder Scott Blaise said he wants to tend to the physical ailments that elephants often suffer as a result of captivity.
  • SpiceTopia of Ventura, Calif., is a specialty spice and tea store that carries organic products from Fair Trade Certified™ suppliers. Located in downtown Ventura, SpiceTopia was founded when owner Ashley Pope bought the inventory of a local spice and tea shop to start her own venture. Pope said she plans to use her grand prize winnings to update the business’s website with e-commerce capabilities and a subscription box service.
  • Volcano Veggies LLC of Bend, Ore., is a certified organic indoor aquaponics farm that uses fish to provide organic fertilizer for plants that are grown in a vertical system. Founded in 2010, the company’s goal is to provide fish and veggies year-round to communities in any climate. Owner James Sabarra said he plans to use his winnings to double business production, expand to new locations and optimize operations.

Wells Fargo first launched the Wells Fargo Works Project contest in May 2014. This year, the contest opened shortly after launching a new, online Business Plan Center, a free resource for small businesses available on The Center features a Business Plan Tool that offers a step-by-step guide to writing business plans, and a Competitive Intelligence Tool, which offers key competitor and market insights that can be used as part of the business planning process.

“Helping small business owners achieve financial success is one of the most important things we do at Wells Fargo, which is why we were so proud to offer the Wells Fargo Works Project contest for a second consecutive year,” said Lisa Stevens, Wells Fargo’s head of Small Business. “We’re looking forward to following the journeys of this year’s winners to see how they will continue to grow.”

This year’s contest attracted more than 4,200 video and essay entries from small businesses across the country. The five grand prize winners and the following 20 businesses each received $1,000 as Wells Fargo Works Project finalists:

Wells Fargo Works Project Finalists      
Axon Tutors, Athens, Ga.     Bedazzled Ink Publishing, LLC, Fairfield, Calif.
Closing Your Books, LLC, Tucson, Ariz.     Concrn Inc, Palo Alto, Calif.
Cream by Crystal, Tarzana, Calif.     Devine Nutrition Inc., Tinley Park, Ill.
Driver Training Inc., Bristol, Va.     Fairyella Ice Pops, Benicia, Calif.
JD’s Café & Deli, Lynchburg, Va.     Jessie LeBaron Garden Design, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Kids & Horses, Minden, Nev.     Love,Cortnie, Miami, Fla.
Melody’s Mobile Dental Hygiene, San Marcos, Calif.     Nash’s Natural Brewing Company, Auburn, Calif.
Pop Up Plus, Brooklyn, N.Y.     Rock Steady Boxing Seattle, Seattle, Wash.
Small Batch Gourmet, Petaluma, Calif.     Tilvee, Golden, Colo.
Tracy’s Gourmet, LLC, Morrisville, N.C.     Tulchina Adventures, Ports Alsworth, Alaska

Visit to review all 25 finalist entries, and learn more about Wells Fargo Works for Small Business and the Business Plan Center.

About Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a nationwide, diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.7 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through 8,700 locations, 12,800 ATMs, the internet ( and mobile banking, and has offices in 36 countries to support customers who conduct business in the global economy. With approximately 266,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 30 on Fortune’s 2015 rankings of America’s largest corporations. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially. Wells Fargo perspectives are also available at Wells Fargo Blogs and Wells Fargo Stories.

Wells Fargo & Company
Sarah DuBois, 612-466-7484
Brittany Anthony, 414-396-4486

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