Local entrepreneur competing in Walmart contest

February 20, 2012 10:14 AM
 Linda Lewis, the Galesburg entrepreneur behind the innovative line of Flipple baby products, will be competing in the Get on the Shelf Contest recently announced by Walmart Stores, Inc.
The online competition, setup similar to the popular American Idol television show, will accept video entries of entrepreneurs pitching their products until February 22, 2012. Online voting will then take place March 7 through April 4, 2012, at which point Walmart will name 10 finalists.  Three finalists will then be announced at the end of April. All voting will occur at http://getontheshelf.com.
The top three products to make it through the competition will be given listings on Walmart.com as well as recognition on the company's homepage, reaching an audience of over 50 million visitors. In addition to web exposure, the grand prize winner will also have their product stocked in Walmart stores throughout the country. The company has said it may also help scale-up production for the contest winner so they can meet the international chain's extraordinarily high demand.
Lewis, who recently received a $10,000 Business Innovation Grant from the city of Galesburg and a $2,500 grant from the Business & Technology Center at Carl Sandburg College, has already submitted a proposal to Walmart.  The video can be viewed at http://goo.gl/a20jD.
Mayor Sal Garza said, "We applaud Linda's efforts, she's a real entrepreneur, and we're glad she was able to take advantage of our city programs to help grow her business. Our Economic Development team stands ready to help businesses get started and expand, and this is an example of the city's assistance doing that. It's wonderful to see this happen in Galesburg."
In a January press release distributed by Walmart, senior vice president of Global e-commerce Venky Harinarayan commented, "For a long time, the ability to get a product into a retail store was at the sole discretion of the store buyer. Today, we are removing these barriers by giving anyone a chance to launch their product at Walmart and reach millions of shoppers nationwide."
Lewis is optimistic her product will fare well in the competition. "With placement in over 350 stores nationwide, Flipple has already shown its viability in the marketplace. I was nominated for the Chicago Innovation Awards last year and have seen interest continue to grow in this product.  I am sure Walmart will see the high potential in this company as well."
Ryan Lilly, manager of the Entrepreneurship Center of West Central Illinois, commented, "Flipple is a great example of American ingenuity right here in Galesburg.  It is important that as a community we rally behind entrepreneurs like Lewis and cheer them on to greater success.  I would encourage everyone to vote for Lewis and any other local inventor that may enter this or similar competitions so they may secure additional funding or, in this case, retail placement."


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