Intuit Announces Small Business United Grant Competition Winners

Mountain View, California (PRESS RELEASE – June 10, 2009) – 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 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. Judges 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 clothing.
· Jana Chang, Haute Fan Couture (St. Augustine, Ga.): a designer of custom “gameday” dresses, made to order in the colors of favorite sports teams.
· Cathy Henry, Peter Henry, and Josh Henry, J-Dig Cards (Dallas): a greeting card manufacturer whose cards combine pop culture, sharp humor and unpredictable word plays that appeal to both sexes and all age groups.
· Dina DiNucci, Park Place Coffee and Crepes (Gresham, Ore.): a coffee and crepe restaurant that’s all about community.
“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 1 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 for more information about the initiative and information on how to redeem free business tools and products from Intuit.

About Intuit Inc.

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, 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. More information can be found at

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Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.

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