Ioana Sherman always had a passion for music. As a 10-year-old, she begged her mom for a clarinet so she could join the school band. Now, 19 years later, she plans to transform a home into a music school for children using a $25,000 grant as the grand-prize winner of Intuit Inc.’s Small Business United Grant Competition. Ioana, whose name is pronounced "E-wanna," will also receive $2,500 in Intuit products and services, such as the best-selling QuickBooks® financial software, to help her fulfill her dream of sharing her gift of music.
Born in Bucharest, Romania, and immigrating to the United States with her parents at the age of three, Ioana’s family had no money for music lessons. But somehow, her family got her that clarinet. Later, a family friend donated a piano. With her grandmother’s encouragement, she taught herself to play, and a career was born -- even if she didn’t know it at the time.
In college, Ioana taught music to earn money for tuition while earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music education and musicology. After graduation, she continued giving lessons while looking for that "real job" when she made a discovery.
"I finally realized I was living my passion and I had a real job this whole time," Ioana says. Combining her passion with her business savvy, she opened Ioana’s Music Lessons in Chapel Hill, N.C. "With more than a decade of experience, I’m ready to move forward and create a musical haven for children and adults alike."
Ioana’s story was one of the nearly 2,000 submitted for the Small Business United Grant Competition. She was among 50 finalists who each received a $5,000 grant and were invited to create videos telling their personal business stories. The judges -- including John Jantsch [pictured], best-selling author and founder of GoodBiz113 ad partner Duct Tape Marketing® -- selected the grand-prize and runner-up winners based on quality, creativity and public ratings.
Four runner-up winners will each receive a $10,000 business grant, plus $2,500 in Intuit products and services to support their growing businesses. They include:
* Melissa Baswell, Mountains of the Moon [Chicago]: a sustainable design and apparel organization aimed at creating chic, high-quality eco-friendly clothing;
* Jana Chang, Haute Fan Couture [St. Augustine, Fla.]: a designer of custom-created "game day" dresses, made to order in one’s favorite sport team’s colors;
* Dina DiNucci, Park Place Coffee & Crepes [Gresham, Ore.]: a coffee and crepe restaurant that’s all about community; and
* Cathy Henry, Peter Henry, and Josh Henry, J-Dig Cards [Dallas]: a greeting-card manufacturer whose cards combine pop culture, sharp humor and unpredictable wordplays that appeal to both sexes and all age groups.
"The Small Business United Grant Competition brought the small-business community together to share stories, give and receive advice, and inspire each other," said Kiran Patel, executive vice president and general manager of Intuit’s Small Business Group. "Ioana’s passion, talent, and hard work sets a great example for the rest of the small-business community. She’s a classic example of the American dream. We congratulate her and thank all of the businesses who shared their stories."
The competition is part of Intuit’s Small Business United initiative, launched earlier this year to give America’s 27 million small businesses a boost. More than one million people have visited the Small Business United Web site to seek advice from their peers and to take advantage of the campaign’s other offerings, which include free Intuit products, services and resources.
About Intuit Small Business United Campaign
Intuit’s Small Business United campaign is designed to bring America's entrepreneurs together, and to fuel their growth by providing free products, services and resources that help them attract customers, save money and make money. Visit http://www.smallbusinessunited.com/ for more information about the initiative and information on how to redeem free business tools and products from Intuit.
About Intuit Inc.
GoodBiz113 ad partner Intuit Inc. is a leading provider of business and financial management solutions for small and mid-sized businesses; financial institutions, including banks and credit unions; consumers and accounting professionals. Its flagship products and services, including QuickBooks®, Quicken® and TurboTax® software, simplify small business management and payroll processing, merchant services, personal finance, and tax preparation and filing. ProSeries® and Lacerte® are Intuit's leading tax preparation software suites for professional accountants. The company's Financial Institutions Division, anchored by Digital Insight, provides on-demand banking services to help banks and credit unions serve businesses and consumers with innovative solutions.
Founded in 1983, Intuit had annual revenue of $3.1 billion in its fiscal year 2008. The company has approximately 8,000 employees with major offices in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, India and other locations. Through good times and bad, it's demonstrated a longstanding tradition of corporate social responsibility. More information can be found at http://www.intuit.com/.
SOURCE: Intuit Inc.
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