America's favorite businesses

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 a trip to Google's headquarters.

Legos and robotics class

favorite business robot garage
Staff of the Robotics Garage.
  • Business: The Robot Garage
  • Location: Birmingham, Mich.

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 business advice: "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 grant money: 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.
- Last updated January 21 2014 10:31 AM ET
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