Part I -- What would you do with a $1,000 Sam’s Club gift card, training, and help from a SCORE mentor to grow your business?


The space was limited to 500 characters.  How was I going to adequately answer that question in the space provided?  I had waited until the last day to complete and submit the application to enter the 2017 SCORE American Small Business Championship sponsored by Sam’s Club and the SCORE Foundation.  Sometimes being too careful is not a good thing.  I could have kept my answer short:  Palmetto Kids Cooking will change the health outcome of thousands of children and families in South Carolina with that $1,000 gift card.  However, something told me that the judges would want a little bit more, so I used 493 characters to tell the judges how I am going to change my community with that $1,000.  I wanted them to know that I would put the prize of $1,000 to good use.  There would be no question that their support would be seed funding for a much bigger endeavor.  This is my actual entry for the contest: #BizChampion entry.


Approximately 1,500 small businesses nationwide entered the 2017 SCORE American Small Business contest (  1,500 people had hoped for a chance to win a $1,000 gift card from Sam's Club, an all-expense paid trip to Dallas, TX for business mentoring, training, publicity throughout the year,  and a chance to win one of three Grand Prizes of $25,000.  

Only 102 of those small businesses that applied to win were chosen. 

My small business, Palmetto Kids Cooking was one of those 102.  I wonder how the others reacted when they read their email.  I sat with my hands covering my face and sobbed when I read the email congratulating me because Palmetto Kids Cooking had been chosen as a 2017 SCORE American Small Business Champion.  Seriously, instant hot tears streamed down my cheeks, and I just continued with the ugly cry for a few minutes.  Of course I was proud and honored, but the tears went way beyond those emotions.  That email was a sign that I am not the only one who sees the need to change the health outcomes for young families, and that diet-related diseases need to become a thing of the past.  That email meant that I no longer have to prove that this is not some cute hobby that I have created for myself.  This email meant that someone is going to help me turn the tide on childhood obesity in South Carolina.  Winning means that we will be able to pop-up in more places and serve more children and families.  Reading the content of that email made me feel that someone else really cares about making our #NextGenerationStrong.  A huge weight was lifted when I read that email, and I experienced total gratitude.  Happy tears.  Tears of relief.  High-five tears.  I had come so far in 16 months with this business, starting with absolutely nothing but an apron and some child-safe knives.  Winning made me feel like I finally had a foot on solid ground.

Oh the places we'll go!

Oh the places we'll go!

Read my next blog posts Part II and Part III-- What would you do with a $1,000 Sam's Club gift card... to find out more about the Dallas trip, the talented presenters, and having a caring #SCOREMentor who helps in areas where we are weak regarding the business side of changing the world. #bizchampion, #samsclub, #SCORE, #nextgenerationstrong

Palmetto Kids Cooking is honored to have been named an American Small Business Champion by SCORE and Sam's Club!