Grow America: Compete for Cash

If you’re a US-based maker over the age of 18 (sorry to our international and teen members!) with a fantastic idea, check out Grow America’s latest competition, which opened this week.  With a few simple clicks, you could be in the running for their top prize of $20,000, to be awarded by the end of February.

Grow America is a one year old business with an intriguing mission – create jobs in the US by helping thousands of entrepreneurs launch and grow their businesses.  Member Tami Thornton, owner of Beehive Soap and Body Care, had the opportunity to participate in a pilot competition last spring in Utah.

Despite the disadvantage of being in a very mature, crowded market segment, Tami made it into the final round of 100 competitors chosen after three rounds of competition. “Participating was a great opportunity,” says Tami, “forcing me to re-work my business plan, create a short video, and pitch my business live in two minutes to a group of judges and investors.”

This time around, the competition is even more streamlined, requiring product pictures, samples, and a video.  Read about the details here and prepare to rally your supporters to vote for your entry.

Even if you don’t enter the competition, check out the free business resources available on the Grow America site:

If you enter, let us know so we can support you.  Go, soapmakers, go!

CongressDaily Article Covers HSMG Position on FDA Globalization Act

CongressDaily, a respected newspaper read by members of Congress, included an article last Tuesday about the HSMG and IBN letter to the Energy and Commerce Committee about the FDA Globalization Act. The writer, Anna Edney, contacted me the week before requesting information and I forwarded her our letter and information on our position.

The article, starts out by saying:

Micro-cosmetics businesses are the latest group to log complaints against House Energy and Commerce Democrats’ draft legislation aimed at shoring up FDA’s competency to police products. Asked recently to formally weigh in by committee staffers who are turning to the cosmetics portion of the bill, leaders of the Indie Beauty Network and the Handcrafted Soap Makers Guild said fee and compliance requirements in the measure will shut down thousands of their micro-business owners.

It goes on to include our specific request of an exemption for micro cosmetic businesses that use GRAS ingredients and have less than $2M cosmetic revenue. She even included a quote from our letter about the fact that implementation of FDA-issued manufacturing standards would be “tantamount to committing business suicide”. All in all, Ms. Edney did a great job covering the issue. (I’m working on getting permission to reprint the entire article and will post it when I can.)

Getting that message in front of members of Congress is a big step forward for us. The more we can get them to see the impact of this possible bill, the more likely we are to see changes in it before the wording is final and the bill is passed.

Thanks to HSMG member, Kathy Gambrell of Chesapeake Bay Bath and Body, for mention of our activities and position on the issue. It just goes to show that we soapmakers permeate all levels of business and industry in our “regular lives”. If you have any connections to anyone who might be influential in getting our message out, please email me (!

Marie Gale
President, HSMG