Shopify Announces “Build a Bigger Business” Winners

Shopify has announced the winners of its Build a Bigger Business competition, and the results look promising to everyone from fitness enthusiasts to marine life conservationists.

Ottawa-based Shopify has been holding a competition designed to push entrepreneurs to their fullest potential for the last seven years. Build a Business was designed to inspire and motivate any kind of merchant that uses the Shopify platform. This year, they teamed up with famed author and entrepreneur Tony Robbins to encourage later-stage companies to push and grow further, and Build a Business instantly became Build a BIGGER Business.

“The opportunity to support more entrepreneurs is really what inspired us to create Build a BIGGER Business,” said Harley Finkelstein, Shopify’s COO in a post detailing the competition’s results. “We focused on providing the right coaching, right tools, and right mindset for entrepreneurs looking to grow from $1 million to $50 million and beyond.”

For this iteration of the business-building competition, entrepreneurs from the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand were invited along with merchants entering from over 70 countries in total to vie for a collection of prizes, including strategic coaching from a leading brand agency, a trip to Fiji for mentorship and some R&R, and even a chance to ring the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange and have their company displayed on the historic Wall Street facade.

The criteria for a business to win was based on how fast and effectively they could grow and scale in a few short months. Highest total gross sales gain, percentage growth, marketing strategy, scale strategy, disruption model and even fan culture all played in the final judgements.

“Winners of Highest Total Gross Sales Gain and the Highest Percentage growth categories beat out competitors by the numbers. In addition to these winners, Tony Robbins and Shopify analyzed the top 50 companies in the competition,” the post outlines.

“Of the top performers, we hand-selected 6 businesses that stood out in specific categories as our winners for Best Marketing Strategy, Scale Strategy, Fan Culture, and Disruption Model.”

Highest Total Gross Sales Gain: Gymshark

Gymshark is a fitness apparel brand for men and women that was founded in 2012. Their goal is to create innovative and effective performance wear. Gymshark follows a family-first ideal and believes that any customer should be treated as if they were a brother or sister.

“We’re really looking forward to ringing the bell and opening the NYSE. It’s a business bucket list moment for sure,” says Steve Hewitt, CEO of Gymshark. “This, together with the mentorship sessions with some true global business icons and experts, is something we could never have dreamt of when we started the business 5 years ago.”

Check out Hewitt and the other winners ringing the NYSE opening bell below.

Highest Percentage Growth: Skinnymixers

Skinnymixers sells cookbooks that not only provide enjoyable nutritious recipes but also dives into discussion surrounding health and wellness. The brand began as a Facebook community but monetized with cookbooks.

“I know that winning this incredible ‘money can’t buy’ prize will help us take Skinnymixers from a small business to global empire,” says Nikalene Riddle, founder of SKinnymixers. “I’m especially looking forward to the inspiration and guidance from some of the world’s best mentors, both on a personal and business level.”

Best Marketing Strategy: BestSelf Co.

Bestself Co. is a brand on a mission to change our world by providing people the tools they need to reach their full potential. This includes journals and productivity planners. It might sound basic, but the company provides everything for free, a model that has caught on exponentially within the company. They even won the 2016 Shopify Build a Business competition.

“I’m looking forward to the advice from the mentors and learning from the other Shopify winners,” says Allen Brouwer, Founder of Bestself Co. “Meeting and learning from the others winners, who share the same challenges, struggles, and successes we are is invaluable. Making friends and sharing ways to help each other grow as business owners is why we’re here.”

Other Winners

More companies taking home awards include Fanjoy (Best Scale Strategy), Sand Cloud (Best Fan Culture) and Knixwear (The Disruptor). Shopify’s pick was Kindred Bravely and Tony Robbins’ choice was LIVELY. You can head to Shopify’s post on their site to read more about every winner and see reactions from executives.

“Shopify was thrilled to see such a strong, enthusiastic response to and a huge amount of participants in this year’s Build a BIGGER Business competition,” the post finishes. “We look forward to seeing what our winners continue to build with the strong momentum (and mentorship!) behind them.”