West Elm announced today the launch of a four-month long contest called the We Love Local Small Business Grant contest. According to the company, winners will be judged based on design, originality, story, commitment to local production and depth of product assortment.
Designed to support U.S.-based artists, makers and designers as they grow and scale their businesses, the Small Business Grant contest will launch August 12 with open online submissions. On August 16th, West Elm will host in-store portfolio reviews in five stores across the country and on September 30th, the brand will introduce 20 finalists and commence online public voting. The winner will be announced on November 19th and will receive $25,000, business support, and mentorship from the West Elm team, as well as a chance to be included in the Best of Local Assortment available on the brand’s website. Three runner-ups will also have a chance to be included in the assortment.
“We are at the height of a maker revolution in the United States,” Jim Brett, West Elm president said. “Every time I visit our stores and meet artists and makers in our communities, I’m blown away by the small-scale manufacturing and design that’s happening in our own backyards.”
“West Elm is committed to supporting emerging artists and makers around the world,” Brett continued. “But this Small Business Grant is focused on helping micro-entrepreneurs in the U.S. We want to give back to the communities where our stores are located and where we’re doing business every day.”
Mo Mullen, senior manager of business development and West Elm Local noted that the company plans to provide mentorship to the winner on everything from manufacturing, financial plans, marketing and more.
The contest is a part of the company’s overall Local initiative, which brings regionalized assortments to stores across the country. West Elm Local currently includes more than 1,000 products from more than 160 artists and makers. The company announced that it will launch the Best of Local assortment on its website with 20 of the best-selling makers and more than 60 products.