Interested in a small business grant? You may want to check out Chase's newest cash contest for small businesses, called "Mission Main Street."
Mission Main Street grants will total $3 million -- that's $250,000 each for 12 chosen small businesses. Winners will also get to attend a small-business marketing workshop with in-house experts at Google, and get a free Google Chromebook Pixel computer.
Sound good? Apply away! But before you do, remember that there are many rules that apply, along with some legal caveats. Here are five points that you'll want to consider:
- Is your small business "small enough" for the contest? The Mission Main Street contest requires that eligible applicants employ fewer than 100 full-time employees. There are a few legal considerations to keep in mind. First off, remember that an employee is different from an independent contractor. Also, the Department of Labor does not define what full-time employment is, so it's generally determined by the employer. Usually, this is any employee who works around 30 to 40 average hours per week.
- Release and liability. Once you agree to all the terms of the contest, remember that you are agreeing to release Chase from liability. This means that if there are any legal issues with your submission to the contest, it will be your problem, and not Chase's.
- EIN or TIN required. The contest also requires that all small businesses entering have a valid federal employer identification number or taxpayer identification number. For sole proprietors who use a Social Security number, you may want to consider getting a federal EIN instead, for security reasons -- it's free to do so.
- Voting. As part of the contest, every small business is encouraged to drum up votes for their business on the program website. Make sure that you don't obtain your votes fraudulently, however, or you'll likely get disqualified. For example, you can't entice anyone to vote by bribing them with gifts or discounts.
- Arbitration. Another important provision contained in agreeing to the terms of the contest is the arbitration clause, which is commonly found in many contracts. What this means is that, in signing the contract, you are waiving your rights to take Chase to trial for any future issues that might crop up. Instead, the matter will be settled by arbitration.
This is definitely not an exhaustive list of the rules that you should know about when entering the contest, however. Make sure that you read through the rest in order to understand your legal rights when entering the contest. Last but not least: Good luck!
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