Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Local Innovator Wins $50,000 from the ‘I am Free Enterprise’ Video Contest

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – June 7, 2010 Contact: Bryan Goettel 202-463-5682

Navy Veteran and Brooklyn Native Aims to Help Americans Become Healthier

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Campaign for Free Enterprise announced today that Maplewood, NJ, innovator Carlos Sanchez has been selected to receive the top prize of $50,000 for his winning submission, I am Carlos Sanchez and I am Free Enterprise, to the “I am Free Enterprise” video contest. Growing up in Brooklyn surrounded by drugs, gangs, and violence, Sanchez cited free enterprise as his ticket to a better life. The Navy veteran and member of the American Council on Exercise used his video submission to describe his motivation to start a fitness boot camp and blog to encourage his community to adopt healthy lifestyles.

“This is incredible news,” said Sanchez. “I have overcome a lot of challenges in my life. For years, my hope was to take the lessons I’ve learned from my experiences and apply them to communities around the country through fitness training. It’s important to me that people become more active, and thanks to the U.S. Chamber’s Campaign for Free Enterprise, they will!”

Sanchez is one of three winners selected who will be awarded a total of $100,000 in cash prizes by the U.S. Chamber. The other two winners were:

* Tracy Foster (Bowie, MD), who won the runner-up prize of $30,000. Foster built a business making hand bags designed for camera equipment that are both fashionable and functional—a line inspired by a recent trip she and her husband took abroad. She says she designed her camera bags for people who love photography and want a bag that compliments their style. Foster says the prize money will allow her to ramp up production of a new style of camera bag. You can view her video here:
* Meredith Bragg (Alexandria, VA), who won the third-place prize of $20,000 for his profile piece on three successful local entrepreneurs in Virginia and the role that consumers play in the free enterprise system. Bragg portrays the business owners in his video as models for a successful small business. You can view his video here:

“The contest has inspired exciting storytelling about the value of free enterprise, and the caliber of creative ideas has far exceeded our expectations,” said Stan Anderson, managing director of the U.S. Chamber’s Campaign for Free Enterprise. “We’ve seen clearly how important entrepreneurship is to so many across this country. We congratulate the winners of this contest and thank everyone who submitted entries. You all embody the free enterprise spirit in America.”

More than 130 videos were submitted during the first round of competition, and the top viewed videos moved on to round two for consideration by a Blue Ribbon Panel of judges. Five finalists were then featured on the Campaign’s website——and the public had approximately one month to vote for which videos they believed best brought to life the story of free enterprise. The five videos were viewed more than 95,000 times and received more than 9,500 votes. In advance of today’s announcement, a third-party auditing firm reviewed and approved the final determination.

Winners will be honored at events in their community throughout the month of June. A formal awards ceremony will take place in Washington, D.C., during the U.S. Chamber’s inaugural Jobs Summit in July.

American Free Enterprise. Dream Big. is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s comprehensive, multiyear campaign to support free enterprise through national advertising; grassroots advocacy; citizen, community, and youth engagement; and research and ideas leadership.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.

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