Launched across 31 countries including Australia, Canada, Spain, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States, the Ingenious competition celebrates the ingenuity of small business owners around the globe through stories of how they have used technology to reimagine their businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The past 18 months have been especially challenging for small businesses – the waves of COVID disruption, economic slowdown and community crises have disproportionately impacted them. Yet many have responded with great agility, transforming from a local shop to a local delivery service, making masks rather than mugs or producing sanitiser instead of gin. They’ve connected with the needs of their community in new ways and reimagined what it means to succeed as a small business.
Our collaboration with Mastercard has created a powerful alliance that is committed to empowering every small business, and we’re excited to shine a spotlight on some of the amazing ways small businesses have been using technology to drive their venture forward during the COVID-19 pandemicALASTAIR LUKIES CBE, CEO AND FOUNDER, POLLINATE
The Ingenious competition spotlights small business heroes who take on the unexpected and thrive, seeing opportunity in every day to reimagine, refresh and reinvent. We’re inspired by the international filmmakers and small businesses who found the silver linings and are charging ahead with digital-first solutions and optimism about the future of their business and the broader economy.ANDREA GILMAN, GLOBAL SME SEGMENT LEAD, MASTERCARD
Filmmakers had the chance to win one of six global prizes for the best films, ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 USD.
- 1st place: Anorak Films and Baobab, a children’s bookstore in Spain, won the biggest prize of $10,000 and a feature on Priceless.com. The film showcased their use of technology to re-engage with their local community, setting up an online store to drive sales of personalised children’s boxes.
- 2nd place: Happenstance Films and Brighton Gin, a hand-crafted gin distillery in England, won a prize of $7,000 which saw them switch from solely making gin to helping fight the pandemic using hand sanitizer. The business also used an e-cargo bike and Brighton’s much loved Drag Queens to hand delivering purchases direct to homes.
- 3rd place: Filmmaker Nicola Crivellari along with Italian businesses La Bottega Sfusa, a package free organic grocery store and La Volpe Volante, a children’s bookstore, won $5,000. The film showed how both businesses embraced online channels to serve their customers during the pandemic, with the two businesses sharing a small green space in the city.
- 4th place: LUMA video and Realthings, an Italian business that looks to create happier communities by connecting people with nature, won $3,000. Realthings used the pandemic as a catalyst for growth, opening an online store to generate sales, while using work management tools and finance tools to keep their business running smoothly.
- 5th place: Filmmaker Chad Weber and A Florae, a florist in the United States won $2,000 by showcasing the way the business pivoted during the pandemic to drive online sales, before transforming yet again to instore purchases with additional spin off ventures.
- 6th place: Itchy Feet Digital and Cheese on Wheels, a cheesemonger in Australia won $1,000. With a large proportion of its sales coming from market stall events, Cheese on Wheels developed an online market place for local businesses to sell and deliver their produce under one platform during the lockdown period.
The competition also had winners across four themes of Get Paid, Get Capital, Get Digital and Loyal to Local. Winning filmmakers will receive $3,000.
- Get Paid: Darling Street Pictures and Love Street Vintage, a local community vintage clothing retailer based in the United States who closed her storefront and took her business online during the pandemic. Now with a storefront back open, it uses technology to manage POS and inventory, as well as social media to connect with its community.
- Get Capital: Bart Vandever and Bookshop.org, a start-up business founded in the United States during the pandemic to help indie bookshops create virtual storefronts, raised $15 million which has been dispersed across the 1,200 affiliates on the platform, helping keep bookstores around the world afloat.
- Get Digital: Drishti Videography PYT and HUSTL, a basic concept gym studio in Australia that looked to take its gym experiences online, started a new online fitness venture that would connect with its audience all around the world regardless of location.
- Loyal to Local: Isaac O’Farrell and UFLORA PLANT HOUSE, a floral retailer in the United States specialising in house plants and botanical home décor. During the pandemic the business used social media to drive online interest in their products and offer home delivery. It also created the “living room market” a physical space that provided relevant local vendors with the opportunity to sell their products face to face with customers using mobile card readers.
All small businesses featured in the submitted films will receive free access to tools, education and insights through the Mastercard Digital Acceleration Program to empower them to thrive beyond the pandemic.