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Nine Year-Old CEO and Mom Receive National Recognition as American Small Business Champion from SCORE and Sam’s Club

Columbia, SC – Local elementary entrepreneur Gabrielle Goodwin and her mom Rozalynn have been chosen as winners of The American Small Business Championship hosted by SCORE, a national nonprofit dedicated to mentoring small business owners, and generously supported by Sam’s Club, a leading U.S. membership club serving small businesses since 1983. The Championship awarded the title to 103 small businesses for their dedication to the success of their businesses. The American Small Business Champions will each receive a $1,000 Sam’s Club gift card, an all-expense-paid trip to a regional training event, SCORE mentoring for one year and publicity throughout the year.

GaBBY Bows earned the title of American Small Business Champion by submitting an online application answering the question “What dream would you be able to achieve if you were to win this Championship?” Nominations which garnered at least 100 votes were then presented to a judging panel of small business experts that determined 103 winners including GaBBY Bows.

scoreGabrielle was just five years old when she started daily insisting she and her Mom create a barrette that would stay in her hair. They solved the age-old problem of disappearing girls’ hair barrettes by inventing The Double-Face Double-Snap Barrette by GaBBY and starting their company when Gabrielle was seven years old. In just two years of operations, GaBBY Bows have saved families time, money and frustration in 43 states and seven countries through online sales at gabbybows.com. The hair accessory solution is also sold in 25 retail stores in the Southeast.

Gabrielle is the self-proclaimed President and CEO, handling inventory, serving as the lead salesperson at Meet and Greets and vendor shows, speaking to community groups and schools, writing thank you cards to customers who order online, and helping with sales taxes. She also hosts GaBBY Play Dates to teach girls in children’s shelters about entrepreneurship. Gabrielle was chosen as a 2015 SC Young Entrepreneur of the Year, and GaBBY Bows was one of 14 national finalists for the 2015 U.S. Small Business Administration InnovateHER Business Competition.

“I am really excited about this award and hope I can keep inspiring people! I’m grateful for everyone who has supported me and my business,” says Gabrielle Goodwin, GaBBY Bows President and CEO.

“We are honored to work with Sam’s Club for the second year in a row to recognize these Champions’ efforts,” said Ken Yancey, CEO of SCORE.  “Our hope is that winning the American Small Business Championship will help them envision and achieve the next dream for their companies. These Champions embody the passion, determination and drive of America’s small business owners.”

“Each Champion represents the passion and dedication it takes to own and manage a small business. We saw stories from wide variety of businesses and each one was truly unique and inspiring – from bakery owners to photographers to financial advisors,” said Tracey Brown, Senior Vice President and Chief Member Officer for Sam’s Club. “Sam’s Club is committed to helping small business owners overcome obstacles by providing resources and helping them save money and time. We look forward to seeing all of the Champions take their business to the next level so they can grow and realize their dreams.”

GaBBY Bows is also eligible to win an additional $25,000 grand prize by being named Grand Champion. A judging panel of small business experts will select one Grand Champion from the group of Small Business Champions this summer. Selection is based on how effectively Champions utilize the Sam’s Club gift card and the SCORE regional training events to grow business revenue, as well as how effectively the winners promoted the Championship in the media and social media.

To learn more about The American Small Business Championship and to view the complete list of Champions, visit www.championship.score.org.

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