Two weeks ago, we asked our partners and friends to help us qualify for a $250,000 grant form Chase Mission Main Street Grants program by voting for us. We were humbled to have received the minimum 250 votes required in just under 3 days. Our community came together and helped us stand out. Thank you.
We are now inspired to see how far we can push this. We are upping the ante and shooting for at least 1,000 votes by November 15th.
Part of the application was to answer five questions on why the grant is important to BLEN, Inc..
If you have not already voted, we thought we would give you the same five reasons to earn your vote before the deadline on November 15th.
Tell us about your business. What inspired you to start your business? How is your business successful? What makes it unique?
BLEN, Inc. was founded in 2004 at the intersection of technology and the arts. We believe aesthetically beautiful and fully functional tools will have a bigger impact on the user experience and deliver true value to our clients. We grew from a two-person shop to 11 people consistently delivering projects with very satisfied customers. We stand out because we believe in sacrificing short-term gains for longer term and durable relationships with our clients.
How is your business involved with the community you serve?
BLEN, Inc. is heavily involved in the greater DC community. From building a website to connect furloughed employees with freelance jobs during the recent government shutdown to holding workshops and sharing our experience about the tools we use, we are actively engaged in the community we serve. We have sponsored numerous technology meet-ups and supported student and professional associations. We have also organized several art exhibitions to introduce the works of upcoming artists.
What would a $250,000 grant mean to your business and how will you utilize the funds to ensure long-term growth and stability?
A $250,000 grant will be a game changer for our business. We are at a crossroad where we will need to make important choices to take our company to the next growth level and put a down payment to further fuel our momentum. This would mean hiring more bright people to join our team and strengthening our business development operation to position our company as a leading creative, small business technology provider in the Washington, DC area.
What challenges can you identify for your business, and how do you plan to overcome them?
One of the biggest challenges we face is securing longer-term opportunities. Most of our contracts are small and on average take about 18 weeks. This short-turnaround makes it difficult for us to build a stable future. It is important that we get to a place where we can win contracts that are at least a yearlong. We will achieve this by hiring experienced business developers who can help us pursue and secure these projects.
Describe the talent and skill of your employees, and how they contribute to a successful business.
Our president, Ephrem, a US Army veteran, is an inspired leader who brings aesthetic savvy to the look and feel of our projects. Our VP, Mike, is a solid software architect and strategic thinker. More importantly, our team is an eclectic group that is made up of 11 of some of the brightest and most dedicated designers and software engineers. Everyone in the team is a diligent problem solver who is attuned to our clients’ needs, bringing technical skills and artistic talent in order to deliver results.