In May we told you about the StreetShares Foundation military spouse grant that would be awarded to three small businesses in honor of Military Spouse Appreciation Day. After an application process and a round of internet voting, the three winners were selected -- and it's worth watching out for what these movers and shakers do next.
The $10,000 grant was split between three people -- $5,000 for the first place winner, $3,000 for second and $2,000 for third.
The StreetShares Foundation military spouse winners are:First place ($5,000): Edge Co-Working, a co-working space company in Clovis, New Mexico near Cannon Air Force Base. The company, owned by Air Force spouses Brooke Barnes and Jessica Johnson, rents out temporary office and conference room space for entrepreneurs and others who don't have permanent offices. Co-working is a great solution for many spouses who work from home, but sometimes just need that human contact but want to skip the Starbucks "office" solution. The Edge owners plan to use the cash to expand their offerings from just co-working space. They'll be bringing in professional speakers and career coaches and, they hope, licensing their business to expand to other locations.
The Edge founders appeared on the NextGen MilSpouse Happy Hour podcast earlier this year. You can hear that podcast here.
Second place ($3,000): Yoga 4 Change, based in Jacksonville, Florida. Yoga 4 Change is a non-profit that teaches yoga at a variety of locations including correctional facilities, prisons, outpatient clinics, schools and halfway houses. Owned by Navy veteran turned Navy spouse Kathryn Thomas, the organization is working with the county to rehabilitate prisoners and offenders. Thomas plans to use the grant to help expand that outreach, StreetShares said.
Third place ($2,000): Civil Sass, a hops farm in Minnesota. Owned by former Army spouse Abbey Sass and her veteran husband, the farm supplies hops to small breweries in the state. Like many small town business owners, Sass and her husband are very involved in their local community. They plan to use the funds to install a new well on their farm for irrigating crops.
The winners were picked from among 10 finalists -- all spouse-owned small businesses headquartered in various parts of the U.S. Some were brick and mortar stores, while others were online-based operated out of the owners' homes.