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Posted at 12:57 PM ET, 05/07/2012

LivingSocial, Chase put $3 million in grants up for grabs for small businesses

How would your small business spend a quarter of a million dollars? Start thinking, because with the right answer, that question might not be so hypothetical.

LivingSocial’s Tim O’Shaughnessy will help select the grant winners alongside Steve Case, Candace Nelson and other successful entrepreneurs. (Jeffrey MacMillan - FOR WASHINGTON POST)
LivingSocial and Chase have teamed up with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to launch Mission: Small Business, which will award $250,000 grants to each of up to a dozen small firms across the country. Business owners with fewer than a hundred employees who have been in business for at least two years can apply online by explaining how they would use the grants and how their companies play an important role in their respective communities.

LivingSocial’s chief executive and co-founder, Tim O’Shaughnessy, is the son-in-law of Washington Post Co. Chairman Donald E. Graham.

The program is intended to help small firms with immediate growth potential get their hands on the capital and marketing resources they need to expand.

“Small businesses are invaluable to the growth of our economy, and the ‘Mission: Small Business’ grant program is designed to provide small businesses with the solutions they need to grow and thrive,” Richard Quigley, president of the business card division at Chase, said in a statement. “The program aims to find innovative small business owners and provide them with the capital to help execute a business plan for growth.”

Small businesses’ fans also play an important role in the program, which was announced Monday. Between now and the end of June, each small business grant applicant must receive at least 250 votes on the program’s site to be considered for a grant, and for each show of support, Chase will add $5 to the program, up to the total $3 million.

The winners will be selected by a panel of business leaders and entrepreneurs including AOL co-founder and Startup America chairman Steve Case, LivingSocial CEO Tim O’Shaughnessy, Sprinkles Cupcakes founder Candace Nelson and chief executive Jason Calacanis. The team expects to announce the winners in September.

We want to know, too! Please tell us what your company would do with an extra $250,000 in the comments below.

Follow On Small Business and J.D. Harrison .

RELATED: DC Economic Club offers grants to boost youth-serving community organizations

By  |  12:57 PM ET, 05/07/2012

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