From a science camp for girls to a kombucha brewer, communities around the country voted on their favorite small businesses. These 12 came out on top, each scoring a $250,000 grant from Chase and atrip to Google's headquarters.
The Robot Garage opened its doors in 2011, offering kids who love Legos and robotics a place to come together, to learn and to get creative.
"Lego has a huge following," said co-founder Jonathan Jacobs. "We went to schools and saw groups of kids really interested in robotics. This is a place where kids and grownups can come together and invent."
Best businessadvice: "Be prepared for the workload. I thought I'd be building robots all day, but I do that the least," he said. "I spend a lot of my day running the business, handling payroll and other matters."
Biggest challenge: "Marketing and getting the word out," said Jacobs.
What he plans to do with the grantmoney: Jacobs plans to revamp the business website, open a second location and "set up a mobile unit to do more outreach in the community."
Nearly 35,000 small businesses from all 50 states submitted applications for consideration to receive a $250,000 grant from Chase and a trip to Google headquarters. More than 1.7 million people voted; businesses that received at least 250 votes continued onto the judging phase, where a panel of 12 judges selected these 12 businesses.