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Amazon shines spotlight on small businesses

Amazon has announced the U.S. winners of its first-ever Small Business Spotlight Awards.

The e-tail giant introduced the awards in September 2019 to honor and celebrate inspiring, unique, and customer-focused small businesses selling in its stores. Following are the U.S. winners in the categories of Small Business of the Year, Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year, and Small Business Owner Under 30 of the Year. 

•  Small Business of the Year: Nutpods – Bellevue, Wash.-based small business Nutpods, founded by Madeline Haydon, began selling plant-based creamer on Amazon in 2015. Today, nutpods has a team of 24 employees and has grown sales 5,500% in Amazon’s stores.

•  Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year: 1818 Farms – Mooresville, Ala.-based small business 1818 Farms began as a family project for Natasha McCrary in 2012. In 2017, Natasha listed her handcrafted bath and lifestyle products on Amazon Handmade and has now grown to 12 employees and doubled her Amazon sales year-over-year.

•  Small Business Owner Under 30 of the Year: Habit Nest – Los Angeles-based small business Habit Nest was launched by Michael Ahdoot and his cofounders in 2017. Habit Nest creates journals that help people build better habits quickly and effectively. Since listing products in Amazon’s stores, Habit Nest has seen 300% year-over-year growth.

More than 1,300 American small businesses nominated themselves for the awards, and in October, 18 finalists, six per category, were announced and the contest opened up for customer voting to select the winners. Customer voting concluded on Nov. 8.

Award winners will receive a prize package including six months of Amazon Strategic Account Services, Sponsored Products advertising credits, and promotion on Amazon.com. Winners will also receive a trip to Amazon’s Seattle headquarters to meet with Amazon leaders.

“A huge congratulations to all three winners as well as the rest of the small businesses named finalists in our first-ever U.S. Small Business Spotlight Awards,” said Nicholas Denissen, VP of small business at Amazon. “We are honored that inspiring and diverse small businesses continue to choose to sell in our stores in the U.S. and around the world. 1818 Farms, Habit Nest, and nutpods exemplify what small business success in our stores looks like, and we celebrate them as models for other aspiring small businesses and entrepreneurs.”

Since the beginning of 2019, Amazon says it has launched 150 tools and services as part of more than $15 billion it is on track to invest this year to better support SMB sellers in its stores. The e-tailer is making this investment as it reports SMBs made up 58% of all physical gross merchandise sold in Amazon’s stores in 2018, and SMB sales exceeded $2 billion on Prime Day in July 2019.

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