Investors Bank and the companies co-sponsoring the Movers & Shakers Small Business Competition recently selected the two grand prize winners. The Movers & Shakers’ competition was put on hold earlier this year as a result of the pandemic.
Alstede Farms, a 600-acre family farm in Chester, N.J., and Macondo Networks, a WBENC certified woman-owned small business in Randolph, N.J. that supplies telecommunications equipment (new and refurbished), conferencing systems and cloud services. Each organization received a grand prize package with an estimated value of $100,000.
Investors Bank, the New Jersey Devils and WCBS 880 (WCBS-AM) developed Movers & Shakers as an elevator-pitch competition that drew more than 500 entries from among small businesses in New Jersey and New York. Each company’s entry was evaluated on the three criteria aligned with the key values that continue to drive Investors Bank’s success:
- Creativity: bringing new approaches to the marketplace
- Competitiveness: versus near-in competitors and larger corporations
- Community: fostering significant and positive changes in neighborhoods the business serves
The small businesses that entered the competition represent a broad range of industries and sectors: architecture and design, business services, consumer brands, hospitality, marketing, manufacturing, technology, and sports/recreation, to name a few.
Investors’ Chairman and CEO Kevin Cummings, as well as senior executives from the business and retail banking groups presented a $10,000 check from the bank, which was a part of the grand prize package, to each winner.
- Kurt W. Alstede, the farm’s founder, owner and general manager, along with some of the farm’s 65 employees, received the grand prize at Alstede Farms.
- Jennifer Frey, the founder and owner of Macondo Networks, collected the honors at Investors’ Roxbury branch at Two Commerce Road in Succasunna, N.J.
Sponsors also chose “Top 10 Finalists” from among the Movers & Shakers applicants. Each of these businesses, which include three minority or women-owned companies, have developed innovative, viable and sustainable business models or products that distinguish their operations from even their larger competitors. (Winners list below.)
ALSTEDE FARMS provides a bounty of local fruits, vegetables and flowers, which are grown using a variety of farming practices including: natural, sustainable, certified organic growing methods on their permanently preserved farmland, among others. The farm and its employees welcome families, groups, and schoolchildren to visit the grounds and pick their own produce to experience a working farm and find the joy of connecting with nature. The farm also supports the community through food donations. In 2019, it gave more than 18,000 pounds of produce to local food banks.
MACONDO NETWORKS is a WBENC-certified woman-owned and founded business that supplies telecommunications equipment (new and refurbished), conferencing services, and cloud solutions to a wide range of businesses. Ms. Frey and the company's employees develop close relationships with their clients to ensure companies make the best buying decisions. The firm also conducts industry research to find emerging trends, identify technology evolution, and recognize manufacturers’ platform transitions as soon as possible. The company supports many local fundraisers by donating and volunteering, and by responding to special requests for computer equipment.