eBay announced a new program called the Shine Awards for Small Business, and sellers who enter will have the chance to win up to $10,000. An eBay spokesperson told EcommerceBytes the awards honor outstanding small business owners and eBay sellers. It’s the company’s first annual seller recognition program in the US (Canada runs its own Entrepreneur of the Year program, going into its 12th year).
eBay announced the program to recognize small sellers in conjunction with the start of National Small Business Week. The company explained, “Spanning multiple categories, the award program will celebrate the contributions of small businesses on eBay to the economy and recognize the entrepreneurs who have used eBay to help build successful businesses.”
The awards are open to full and part-time eBay sellers aged 18 years and older. The winner selected as the 2016 Grand Prize Winner will win $10,000, and category winners will each win $5,000.
Entrants must meet eligibility criteria and answer essay questions in order to enter the competition. The deadline for submitting entries is May 20, 2016, and the eBay community will have a chance to vote from 15 selected finalists for the grand prize winner.
In addition to awarding a single grand prize winner, eBay will also be awarding Small Business of the Year awards in several categories:
- Woman-Owned Business: A female owner of a small business on eBay.
- Growing Business: A growing business that has been selling on the eBay platform for at least twelve months continuously.
- Global Business: A small business that has sold items on eBay outside of the United States.
- Charitable Business: A business that has been signed up as an eBay for Charity seller.
- Family Business: A business on eBay that employs one or more members of the seller’s family in a paid or volunteer capacity.
All five category winners, as well the 2016 Grand Prize Winner will be announced at eBay’s Seller Celebration event in Las Vegas in late July.
Participants must provide their name, email address and User ID, the name of their business (optional), age (optional), gender (optional) and answers to the questions below:
- How many years have you been selling on eBay?
- How many full-time employees do you currently have?
- How big is your business (annual revenue)? (optional)
They must also write a 5,000-character essay on why they deserve to be eBay’s 2016 Small Business of the Year. eBay advises: “Consider including the following information: How do you use eBay to create great customer experiences? Have there been any important milestones or turning points for your business? What opportunities has eBay given you? How has eBay changed your life? How do you market your eBay Business?”
All winners will be evaluated against the following criteria: originality, clarity of expression, passion for using eBay, embodiment of eBay’s core seller values and the degree to which eBay has contributed to the business’s success.
The Grand Prize Winner will be selected by a panel of expert judges including eBay representatives, a past winner from eBay’s Canadian Entrepreneur of the Year program, and a representative from the Small Business Administration.
Hal Lawton, head of eBay North America, announced the program on the eBay corporate blog. “Since the very beginning, the story of eBay has been the story of entrepreneurs taking a dream and turning it into a business – starting with our founder, Pierre Omidyar, whose idea for an online buying and selling website became the global marketplace that never sleeps. In a sense, the Shine Awards are about going back to our roots and celebrating the very spirit of eBay. I couldn’t be more excited.”