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.
From energy and education to robots and food, these specialty programs offer startups seed money, mentoring and connections in exchange for equity.
As proof that business waits for no one, these people shunned the corner office and closed deals strapped to a biplane, fishing for marlin -- even in the bathroom.
Bucking the trend, these small businesses are taking their U.S.-made products to China and capitalizing on its burgeoning consumer market.