On May 4, FedEx Corp. unveiled the 10 winners of its 10th annual FedEx Small Business Grant Contest, including one standout from Jersey City. Memphis-headquartered FedEx said the 2022 contest set a record with nearly 18,000 entries from small businesses across the U.S.
Muvez, a footwear brand founded by brothers Ryan and Eric Cruz, was awarded $20,000, plus $1,500 in FedEx Office print and business services. In addition, Muvez also received an extra $10,000 grant as well as a $500 FedEx Office credit for being selected as part of the contest’s Minority-Owned Small Business Category. FedEx added five specialty categories — Healthcare, Minority-Owned, Sustainability Focused, Young Entrepreneur and Veteran-Owned — for the contest’s 10th anniversary.
“We are thrilled to shine a spotlight on these entrepreneurs, because at FedEx, we believe when small businesses succeed, we all succeed,” Jenny Robertson, senior vice president, integrated marketing and communications, at FedEx, said in a statement. “We are looking forward to watching these small business owners grow and thrive, and we are honored to be part of their success stories.”
According to Muvez’s website, Ryan Cruz was an industrial design student at NJIT when tasked with re-inventing a consumer product. Cruz and his brother, Eric, were inspired by the wear and tear on the slippers worn by their father — “a mechanic who was redefining how many hours could be worked in a day” — and realized they could design a better product. Thus began the journey to launch their dual-sole footwear.
After some setbacks and rejections, the small business finally earned a spot on the ABC show “Shark Tank,” which was the exposure the team needed to move their footwear.
On their website, the brothers share advice to fellow entrepreneurs: “Believe in yourself, believe in each other, and keep making moves.”
The Muvez team was not immediately available for comment about the contest.
As for the FedEx contest, all winners also received a $500 voucher from My FedEx Rewards, a consultation from the FedEx Digital Sales Solutions team, an international trade dictionary, an invitation to attend a FedEx Grant Winner Forum, free access to Klaviyo’s automation platform, a sustainable packaging consultation from EcoEnclose, and a website audit from HigherVisibility.
Since the start of the contest, FedEx has awarded more than $1.67 million in grants and printing credits combined.