WASHINGTON, March 27, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today SCORE, mentors to America's small businesses, announced the 102 state-level winners of the American Small Business Championship. Now in its fifth year, the championship rewards the best small businesses in their local communities with an all-expenses-paid trip to a training and networking event, mentoring from business experts at SCORE, and public recognition throughout the year.

Winners competed with a pool of more than 1,100 applicants, and were selected through a combination of online voting and judging by a panel of small business experts. The application asked each entrepreneur to describe the unique aspects of their small business that have contributed to their success, their positive impact on the community, and their plans to use the prizes to grow their business operations or revenue.

These winners will now compete for three grand prizes of $15,000 each – courtesy of Sam's Club – which will be awarded at the SCORE Awards Gala on Sept. 13 outside of Washington, D.C. SCORE's panel of expert judges will select the three grand prize winners based on how well they utilize their prizes to achieve their goals and generate public awareness for their business and the American Small Business Championship. 

"SCORE congratulates and celebrates these 102 American Small Business Champions, who represent some of the best small businesses in America," said SCORE CEO Ken Yancey. "We are proud to reward these passionate and hardworking entrepreneurs with business mentoring, publicity and additional networking and training opportunities, and we look forward to watching them utilize these tools to further grow their business success."

The 102 winners come from 48 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, and represent a diverse array of industries and services. Winners include:  

Build-A-Bow (Racine, WI): 11-year-old African-American CEO Alex Hart-Upendo founded this custom bowtie retailer after he was bullied for wearing bowties. His business brings awareness to bullying and reshapes the word "nerd" into a positive, fashionable concept.

Cuidando Familia (Rio Grande, Puerto Rico): Cuidando Familia means, "taking care of family," and that warm, caring and supportive approach is exactly how owner Darlye Coronado treats her elderly clients through this non-medical, in-home care service.

SurvivorEyes (Medford, OR): Breast cancer survivor Lisa Brambilla created her original product – an eyebrow kit – to support a friend during chemotherapy treatment. Since then, her product line has expanded to offer additional products that support people struggling with hair loss.

"Supporting entrepreneurs has been a part of who we are for nearly 35 years," said Tracey D. Brown, Senior Vice President of Operations and Chief Experience Officer at Sam's Club. "Many of our members own a small business and we appreciate having the opportunity to help them as they find creative solutions to problems they face on a day to day basis. The 102 winners celebrated through the American Small Business Championship are excellent examples of how innovation, persistence and knowing your customers can help an entrepreneur overcome obstacles and we congratulate them on their accomplishments."

Learn more about the American Small Business Championship and view the full list of the 102 inspiring winners at: https://championship.score.org/winners.