A breast cancer survivor who used her diagnosis to help others, Jill Johns - Jill Johns International LLC - was chosen recently as a winner in the 2017 American Small Business Championship.
The annual event is hosted by SCORE, which is the nation's largest network of volunteer and expert business mentors. SCORE is supported by Sam's Club, which has been serving small businesses since 1983.
The American Small Business Championship was awarded to 102 entrepreneurs for their dedication to the success of their small businesses. Each owner will receive a $1,000 Sam's Club gift card, an all-expense-paid trip to a training and networking event, SCORE mentoring and publicity throughout the year.
Johns earned the title of American Small Business Champion for her company by submitting an online application describing the most unique aspect of her small business that has contributed to its success, its positive impact on the community, and any plans to use the prizes to grow their business.
Nominations that garnered at least 100 votes were then presented to a judging panel of small business experts who determined the 102 winners, including Jill Johns International.
Two years ago, Johns heard four life-changing words: "You have breast cancer."
She learned, firsthand, that breast cancer depletes women physically and emotionally. In October 2015, Johns partnered with local organizations, including the Statesboro Bulloch County Breast Cancer Foundation, to facilitate an all-inclusive weekend retreat that allowed five local breast cancer survivors to thrive after cancer.
Since then, Johns and her team have inspired more than 50 women, many of whom are cancer survivors or caregivers, from Statesboro and around the area to live life to the fullest.
"We are extremely appreciative of this recognition," Johns said. "Women, particularly survivors and caregivers, benefit tremendously by coming together to press pause. We are humbled by the support we have received from our local and online community."
"SCORE is very pleased to honor the hard work and accomplishments of these 102 small business owners," said SCORE CEO Ken Yancey. "They come from all across the United States, and provide diverse products and services for their clients, but all share in their dedication to making their dreams a reality. It is our pleasure to provide the mentoring, tools and resources that will help them continue to grow their businesses and enhance the communities they serve."