LAS VEGAS — This past week, eBay held its inaugural seller celebration event in Las Vegas, eBay OPEN. The company announced the winners of its first annual seller recognition program, the SHINE Awards for Small Business. The award program highlights the efforts and success of entrepreneurs across the country and celebrates the contributions of small businesses on eBay to the U.S. economy.
“We were thrilled to read the stories of the more than 1,300 eBay businesses that were considered for the SHINE Awards this year,” said Hal Lawton, Senior Vice President and Head of eBay North America. “Our winners represent the best of what eBay stands for: innovative, fast-growing, global, diverse small businesses that are grounded in their families and communities and work hard every day. I couldn’t be more proud of the sellers we honored last night.”
The SHINE Award Grand Prize Winner and eBay’s 2016 Small Business of the Year is Laurie Wong. Her eBay store, Reflections of Trinity, works to serve the needs of its community through ecommerce and a local marketplace ministry. Over the past five years, she’s been able to run and grow a healthy business, increasing sales and her ability to give back to the community every year. In 2015 alone, she distributed over 12,000 boxes of groceries (622,965 lbs. of food!) to those in need in her community. She was awarded a $10,000 cash prize as well as a package of marketing tools and services to grow her eBay business.
Winners from each of the five categories were also recognized onstage:
- Woman Small Business Owner: Tanya Crew, Motorcycle-Works. As a single mom trying to finish college, Tanya started selling motorcycle accessories on eBay to make some extra spending money and now, years later, has a multi-million dollar global business.
- Growing Business: Spencer Apland, 541-Motorsports. Spencer has eight full-time employees and maintains a 20,000 square foot warehouse. His eBay business provides a comfortable living for his growing family, and Spencer expects revenue to increase by more than 50% from 2015 to 2016.
- Global Business: Neha Gajwani, Smack-Tom. Neha sources electronics accessories overseas and sells them through her own website and on eBay. As her business began to grow, she has opened offices in Miami, India, and most recently in China, and 23% of her sales are international.
- Charitable Business: Lauralee Lindholm, Heart for Ethiopia. Lauralee uses eBay to raise funds that are helping young children attend school and entrepreneurs to start their own businesses in rural Ethiopia.
- Family Business: William Wolstenholme, Rhode Island Internet Consignment and Sales. William and his family run the one of the biggest eBay stores for Antiques & Collectibles. The store is a full-time job for William, his wife, two daughters and son-in-law.
The eBay SHINE Award winners were selected from more than 1,300 submissions that came from across the U.S. Submissions ranged from new businesses just getting their start on eBay to global, multi-million dollar multi-channel enterprises. Submissions matched eBay’s breadth and depth of merchandise on the site, with entries from every category – from electronics to motorcycle parts, art, fashion, and sporting goods.
The eBay community had a chance to vote on 15 selected finalists for category winners: three in each of the five categories. Nearly 40,000 votes were cast for the category winners by more than 18,000 voters across the country. The Grand Prize Winner and eBay’s Small Business of the Year was selected by a panel of expert judges including eBay representatives, a past winner from eBay’s Canadian Entrepreneur of the Year program, eBay’s Open for Business podcast host and entrepreneur, John Henry, and the Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, Maria Contreras-Sweet.
The category winners were awarded a $5,000 cash prize, as well as a package of marketing tools and services to help grow their eBay businesses.