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Chase to Give Away $3 Million in Grants in Contest for Small Businesses

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Looking for an extra $150,000 to grow your business? If you have fewer than 100 employees, but lots of Facebook friends, it may be easier than you think.

Chase today re-launched its Google-sponsored Mission Main Street Grants program, which awards 20 U.S. small businesses with $150,000 grants. Winners also receive a trip to Google's headquarters for a small-business marketing workshop, a Chromebook laptop and a $2,000 credit toward a market research study with Google Consumer Surveys.

In this year's contest, the grants are smaller but going to more businesses. Last time, the bank awarded $250,000 to 12 small businesses.

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Business owners have until October 3 to apply, and will only be considered eligible if they run U.S.-based, for-profit companies with 100 employees or fewer. They also have to answer five essay questions about their experience as an entrepreneur, including what inspired them to start their own business and information on their short-term and long-term growth plans.

As expected, there's also a strong social media component. Each business must receive at least 250 votes from Facebook users through the contest website to be considered. "The Internet has proven to be a vital pipeline for small businesses, and it continues to connect more businesses to their customers every day," Jon Kaplan, Google's vice president of U.S. sales and operations, said in a statement.

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Winners of the program will be determined by an expert panel of judges who represent the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Google, the Women Business Enterprise National Council, the National Urban league and many other organizations committed to promoting business development.

Qualifying businesses that don't win will get a marketing toolkit and a $150 to be used toward a Google Consumer Surveys research study. Last year, about 35,000 small businesses applied.

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