Posted on by Michelle Spell

For those of you who do not already know, Ava’s is among one of the Small Businesses in the running for a $100,000 grant from Chase Mission Main Street Grants. To break down the process simply, there were three parts. First, Michelle submitted her application before the June 5 deadline. Second, Ava’s had to earn at least 250 votes by June 19. Now the final stage is a Panel Review Process, which will begin tomorrow and end in September.

Sponsored by Chase Bank and LinkedIn, Chase Mission Main Street Grants will award 20 Small Businesses who they believe have a powerful mission and strong business. Ava’s is so excited about this amazing opportunity!!

After a technical difficulty with our application, we were unaware we were even in the running for the grant until this past Wednesday, June 17. We are so thankful to have collected all of the votes needed in just 48 hours—compared to the month and a half that other businesses had! Above all, thank you to everyone who has supported Ava’s through it all, and voted for us over the past two days!

Below is a copy of our application questions, submitted to Chase Mission Main Street Grants from Ava’s owner Michelle Spell earlier this month. We want our supporters to know what a huge difference $100,000 will make for Ava’s!!

1. Tell us about your business and what makes it unique. Please provide a general description of your product, customers, competitive landscape, and overall performance.

Ava's Cupcakes began in our home in 2011 making baked goods to support our family of 7. After 6 months, we opened our 1st retail bakery. After 1 year, we won national televised competitions & quickly became known for the best cupcakes in NJ! Year 2, we opened our 1st 'training' center for children, but closed it after 1 year to open a second retail store. After $1Million in sales, we closed our 2nd store to go back to our 1st love & reopen Bake a Wish Centers for children. Ava's Cupcakes delivers gourmet cupcakes, cookies, & handpies across America with a mission to bring children the opportunity and experience of exploring their inner baker!

2. What inspired you to become an entrepreneur? Describe both your greatest achievements and biggest challenges.

I am not sure if there is anything that inspired me to choose this path but rather that I was born to be an entrepreneur and a leader, no matter the industry. My greatest achievements are currently upstairs asleep: Isaiah, Aidan, Hunter and Ava. My greatest challenge was, and continues to be, learning to balance my unrelentless ambitions & dreams for our company and my commitment to keep my family first.

3. How is your business involved with the community you serve? Examples include: giving back to the community, sourcing locally, and/or contributing to economic development via hiring.

Ava’s has employed over 45 women in 4 yrs & has been committed to helping women of all ages & demographics to become stronger leaders & business women. We have sponsored Little Leagues, supported local fundraisers, & have worked closely w/ organizations such as Autism Speaks, American Cancer Society, MS WALK, March of Dimes & more. We have had the honor to partner w/ families & help raise funds & awareness for their child’s fight, from cancer to Hydrocephalus. Giving back is deeply rooted in our mission.

4. What would a $100,000 grant mean to your business and how will you utilize the funds? Please be as specific as possible.

This grant would change our local mission and have a ripple effect on surrounding communities. Ava’s would open 3 more Bake a Wish Centers in neighboring towns where children do not have such opportunities. Most towns have little leagues for aspiring athletes, Ava’s is ready to start a little league of their own for young aspiring bakers/chefs to explore their talents & passions. These centers can also serve as a place for families to find fundraising support in their child/families’ journey.

5. What are your short-term (1-2 years) and long-term growth plans for the business? How will this grant contribute to your plan?

Over the next 1-2 yrs, Ava’s plan is to continue growing our brand and our Bake a Wish Headquarters by offering more classes, camps, parties, playdates and more. By 2020, our plan is to have 5 locations and begin franchising our bakeshop and Bake a Wish Centers to give the nation an opportunity to bring our ideals into its’ downtowns where families are raising families! This grant would give us the chance to be 75% closer to our goal!