FedEx Contest Winner Serves Country and Small Business

American military veterans are known for their entrepreneurial spirit once their time on active duty is over.

That same spirit can be found among those currently enlisted, too.

FedEx recognizes that spirit this year by naming Sword & Plough as the Grand Prize Winner of its Fifth Annual FedEx Small Business Grant Contest. Sword & Plough wins a $25,000 grant and $7,500 in FedEx Office® print and business services.

This is part of the largest prize pool in the grant’s history. In 2017, the contest awarded $120,500 in grants and services to winners.

“Marking our fifth year of the FedEx Grant contest, we saw a broad range of small business owners with diverse interests who all exhibited a great passion for their business,” said Becky Huling, vice president of Customer Engagement Marketing at FedEx. “FedEx is committed to empowering diverse individuals and giving entrepreneurs everywhere the tools they need to succeed.  We’re excited to work with Sword & Plough as they take their business to the next level, while continuing to give back to the military community in a profound way.”

Sword & Plough was launched in 2013 by U.S. Army officer Emily Núñez Cavness and her sister, Betsy. The company takes unused military items that would have otherwise been thrown out and recycles them into wearable items.

“We are truly honored to have been awarded the Grand Prize in the FedEx Small Business Grant Contest,” said Emily Núñez Cavness, CEO of Sword & Plough.  “With the grant money, we plan to further our mission by hiring a military veteran with logistics experience to help us expand our production and improve our supply chain and inventory management.”

The company works with American manufacturers. They combine the recycled military textiles with newer materials and accessories to create products like handbags. The company sells these items on its website and through a dozen partner retailers.

To date, Sword & Plough has hired 65 military veterans. It has reused more than 35,000 pounds of military materials destined for the trash. And it has donated 10 percent of its profits to veterans organizations each year Sword & Plough has been in business.

In addition to investing in marketing materials with part of their award, Sword & Plough plans to expand its brand ambassador program. Veterans and military spouses fill these roles, too.

The entrepreneur sisters say they hire veterans because they recognized the struggles they face when they leave a full-time military life.

In addition to the grand prize, FedEx awarded Flexfrost Protein Ice Cream, Glen Ridge, N.J. $15,000, plus $5,000 in FedEx Office services.

The following eight businesses received $7,500 grants and $1,000 in FedEx Office services:

  • Brian Boggs Chairmakers (Asheville, N.C.)
  • Funky Fresh (Milwaukee, Wis.)
  • Joannou Cycle (Northvale, N.J.)
  • Scratch and Peck Feeds (Burlington, Wash.)
  • Nurdle in the Rough (Holualoa, Hawaii)
  • Terra Klay (Naperville, Ill.)
  • The Konery (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
  • Yellow Scope (Portland, Ore.)

“FedEx Office is thrilled to support the Grant Contest for the first time, offering more than $20,000 in printing and business services,” said Kate Axtell, managing director of Communications for FedEx Office.  “Small businesses rely on us regularly for their numerous business needs, and we are excited to work with them as a trusted advisor.”
More than 13,000 small businesses across the U.S. have entered this grant contest since its inception. And this year, more than 1.5 million made their voice heard on who deserved the top prizes from FedEx.

Image: Sword & Plough

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