OFFICIAL RULES

NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT IS NECESSARY. A PURCHASE OR PAYMENT WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. OPEN ONLY TO LEGAL RESIDENTS OF THE 50 U.S. STATES AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA WHO ARE AT LEAST 18 YEARS OLD AT THE TIME OF ENTRY AND ARE AN OWNER OF A LOCALLY-OWNED SMALL BUSINESS.

1. ELIGIBILITY: The Independent We Stand® "Independent Small Business of the Year” Contest ("Contest") is open only to legal residents of the fifty (50) U.S. States and the District of Columbia who, as of the date of entry, are at least eighteen (18) years old and who are an owner of a small business as of 9/14/15 at 10:00 A.M. Eastern Time ("ET"). Officers, directors and employees (and members of their household or immediate family, i.e., spouse, parent, child, sibling, grandparent, the "steps" of each and members of each of their households) of Independent We Stand or IWS ("Contest Administrator"),The Meridian Group, FCA US LLC (“Sponsor”), STIHL (“Sponsor"), and each of their respective parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, promotion and advertising agencies (collectively, "Contest Entities") and other individuals or entities associated with the creation, administration, implementation and execution of this Contest are ineligible to win. By participating in this Contest, an individual who meets the eligibility requirements and enters the Contest (individually "Entrant" and collectively "Entrants") agrees to be bound by these Official Rules and that the decisions of Contest Adminstrator shall be final and binding in all matters pertaining to the Contest. The Contest is void in jurisdictions other than those stated above and wherever prohibited.

IMPORTANT: As used in this Contest, a “Locally-Owned Small Business” is defined as a business that is in compliance with all applicable laws as of 9/14/15 at 10:00 A.M. Eastern Time ("ET"), is a registered business member of Independent We Stand and meets the locally-owned business guidelines as set forth by Independent We Stand on their website at www.IndependentWeStand.org/Membership. In addition, the business owner must be able to verify to Contest Administrator’s satisfaction that s/he is the owner of the nominated business. IRS recognized nonprofit organizations are not eligible for the contest.

2. TIMING: The Contest begins on 9/14/15 at 10:00 A.M. Eastern Time ("ET") and ends 12/13/15 at 11:59:59 A.M. ET ("Contest Period"). A calendar day shall begin at 12:00:00 A.M. ET and end at 11:59:59 P.M. of that day, except that on the start date of each phase of the Contest, a calendar day shall begin at 10:00 A.M. ET.

3. HOW TO PARTICIPATE IN THE CONTEST: The Contest is comprised of three (3) phases as described below, and Entrants will be required to submit the reasons why the nominated business deserves to be the “Independent We Stand Independent Small Business of the Year Award” Winner. Contest judging will be by public voting, in addition to a panel of qualified judges. In the event of a tie in public voting, a qualified judge who is a representative of Independent We Stand will evaluate and rate the tied nominations using the following criteria: (i) content: 50% and (ii) originality: 50% to break the tie.

(A) Phase I: How to Nominate & Vote for Submissions:

(i) To Nominate A Business: Between 9/14/15 at 10:00 A.M. ET and 11/15/15 at 11:59:59 P.M. ET ("Entry Period"), those wishing to nominate a business should go to http://www.indiebizaward.com("Website"), and follow the instructions to submit a nomination. The owner of the business, an employee of the business and/or a customer of the business may nominate the business. The nominated business must meet the requirements stated in Section 4 below (individually, "Submission" and collectively, "Submissions"). The individual nominating the business will be asked to detail the reasons the business they have nominated should win. They will also have the option to upload a logo or photograph. Logos and photographs must comply with the requirements in Section 4 below. Submitting a logo or photograph will not enhance or decrease the nominated businesses chances of winning the Contest and is entirely voluntary.

Nomination Limit: Multiple nominations for individual businesses will be accepted and taken into consideration during judging. However, an individual may submit only one (1) Submission per business during the Contest Period regardless of email address used. In addition, the nominated business will only appear once on the Website regardless of the number of nominations. In the event of multiple nominations for a single business, Independent We Stand will make the final decision on which nomination appears on the website with priority given to nominations by the business’ owner(s).

Submission Review: Each submitted nomination will be reviewed and if it meets all requirements will appear on the contest website within 24 – 48 hours. If a submission does not meet all the requirements, Independent We Stand will contact the nominator in an attempt to fix any issues. Submissions that do not adhere to the requirements as stated in Section 4 below, or are deemed inappropriate may be disqualified and/or removed from the Website in Independent We Stand’s sole discretion.

(ii) Voting for Quarterfinalists: Between 9/14/15 at 10:00 A.M. ET and 11/15/15 at 11:59:59 P.M. ET ("Quarterfinalist Voting Period"), individuals may visit the Website and follow the instructions to cast one (1) vote each day for his/her favorite Submission (individually "Voter" and collectively "Voters"). The twenty-five (25) Submissions that receive the highest number of public votes will be deemed the quarterfinalists, subject to verification as outlined below. In event of a tie, a Contest Judge will evaluate and rate the tied Submissions using the criteria stated in Section 3 above to break the tie. The quarterfinalist will be contacted on or about 11/16/15 for notification and must provide requested information by the deadline as stated in the notification. In the event that a quarterfinalist cannot be verified, the Submission that received the next highest number of public votes will be deemed a quarterfinalist, subject to verification.

Voting Limit: One (1) vote per entry, per calendar day, per IP address.

VERIFICATION: As part of the verification process that will allow the nominated business to continue in the Contest, the business must verify to Independent We Stand’s satisfaction it meets the locally-owned business guidelines as set forth on www.IndependentWeStand.org/Membership. In addition, the quarterfinalist will be asked to provide a copy of one (1) of the following documents to prove they are a for profit business:

• Copy of government document showing business tax identification number and business name;
• Business incorporation documents;
• State, county or municipal business license;
• Copy of government document showing tax identification number and business name;
• Federal or State Income Tax forms showing operation as a business entity;
• Enrolled Independent We Stand business member;
• Copy of DBA or assumed-name documentation;
• State Tax license;
• Workman’s compensation/commercial general liability insurance;
• State of federal forms with federal tax ID;
• A complete copy of the most recent original tax return, Form 1040 and all related schedules (including Schedule C or F) that were filed with the IRS; or
• A copy of an official government website document verifying the customer’s business.

(B) Phase II: Voting for Semifinalists: Between 11/23/15 at 10:00 A.M. ET and 12/13/15 at 11:59:59 P.M. ET ("Semifinalist Voting Period"), the Submissions from the twenty-five (25) verified quarterfinalists will be posted on the Website. During the Semifinalist Voting Period, Voters may visit the Website and follow the instructions to cast one (1) vote each day for his/her favorite Submission. The ten (10) Submissions that receive the highest number of public votes will be deemed the Semifinalist Submissions. In event of a tie, a Contest Judge will evaluate and rate the tied Submissions using the criteria stated in Section 3 above to break the tie. The Semifinalist will be notified on or about 12/14/15.

Voting Limit: One (1) vote per entry, per calendar day, per IP address.

(C) Phase III: Selection of Grand Prize Winner:
On 12/16/15 ("Grand Prize Winner Selection Period"), a panel of Contest Judges will judge and rate the Submissions from the ten (10) Semifinalists in accordance with the criteria as stated in Section 3 above. The Semifinalists whose Submission received the highest rating from the Contest Judges will be deemed to be the winner of the grand prize ("Grand Prize Winner"), subject to verification and prompt submission of documents requested by Sponsor.

In the event of a tie, a Contest Judge not previously involved in the judging will review and rate the tied Semifinalists’ Submissions in order to break the tie. The Grand Prize Winner will be notified on or about 12/15/15 and announced on the Website and through social media on or about12/16/15. The decisions of the Contest Judges shall be final and binding in all matters pertaining to the selection and judging process.

4. SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS:

THE SUBMISSION:

  • Must be the Entrant’s original creation;
    • Must be entirely in English;
    • Must not include hyperlinks to content on other sites or media;
    • Must not exceed 1,000 characters in length;
    • Must have a title that does not exceed 140 characters in length.

THE (OPTIONAL) LOGO/PHOTOGRAPH:

  • • Must be in one of the following formats: .jpg, .png, or .gif;
    • Must not exceed 5MB in size.

THE SUBMISSION AND ANY OTHER PROVIDED CONTENT:

  • • Must not have been submitted previously in any contest or promotion or published in any media;
    • Must not contain material that is unlawful, in violation of or contrary to federal, state and local laws;
    • Should not contain material that, either explicitly or implicitly, mentions, depicts, refers, or otherwise alludes to the name or logo, trademark, or service mark of any third party, individual, company, entity, product, or brand other than a brand belonging to Independent We Stand other than that of the nominated business; however, Independent We Stand, in its sole discretion, after its consideration and review of the Submission in its totality, reserves the right to accept such Submission;
    • Must not contain any material or references that violate or infringe upon a third party’s rights, including but not limited to, privacy, publicity or intellectual property rights, nor may it in any way infringe upon a third party’s copyright or trademark rights;
    • Must not disparage or defame any person or entity or in any way reflect negatively upon Independent We Stand, the contest Sponsors, Sponsors’ brands or products or the Contest Entities as determined by Contest in its sole discretion;
    • Must be in good taste as determined by Independent We Stand in its sole discretion;
    • Must not contain, mention, refer or otherwise allude to any obscene, lewd, violent, illegal, offensive, hateful, disparaging or inappropriate words, language, symbols, signs or abbreviations;
    • Must not advocate or denigrate any political beliefs;
    • Must not contain words or symbols that may be considered offensive to individuals of a certain race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, age or socioeconomic group;
    • Must not in any way promote alcohol, illegal drugs or tobacco (or the use of any of the preceding); and
    • Must not promote any activity that contain guns or violence or promote reckless behavior.

NOTE: Entrants understand and acknowledge that the Submissions will not be returned; and that Independent We Stand has an irrevocable, exclusive, unlimited, unconditional and perpetual license in such Submissions and to use them as Independent We Stand so determines. Independent We Stand reserves the right at any time during the Contest Period and thereafter to take down or remove from the Website and/or disqualify any Submission that Independent We Stand determines, in its sole discretion, does not comply with these Official Rules or otherwise contains, or uses, prohibited or inappropriate content, and in the event of such takedown, removal and/or disqualification, the Entrant may also be disqualified from participation in the Contest.

5. PRIZES: (Grand Prize—1) The Grand Prize Winner will receive a $5,000 check; a $1,000 STIHL equipment certificate; A New Website. The "Small Business Web Starter Package" from The Meridian Group. Value $5,000; a 3 days/two night stay at an independent beach resort hotel in Virginia Beach, tour of the STIHL plant and museum and a gourmet dinner with the Independent We Stand team ($500 value); a special plaque ($100 value) and recognition on Independent We Stand social media channels and public relations outreach. Grand Prize Winner is solely responsible for all federal, state and local sales, luxury, use or other taxes, Grand Prize Winner must take delivery of all prizes, at his/her own expense, within 90 days or the entire Grand Prize may be forfeited and awarded to an alternate Grand Prize Winner.

Grand Prize Winner will be required to provide his/her Social Security Number or Tax ID Number and sign and return a notarized Affidavit of Eligibility/Compliance and Publicity/Liability Release, where allowed by law, and such other documents as may be reasonably requested by Independent We Stand. Failure to sign and return the required documents by the return date specified in the prize notification may result in the Grand Prize Winner’s forfeiture of the entire Grand Prize and the selection of an alternate Grand Prize Winner. Grand Prize Winner will receive an IRS Form 1099 in the actual retail value of the Grand Prize.
Prizes Other Than Grand Prize: (A) the twenty-four (24) quarterfinalists who were not selected as for the Grand Prize will each receive and Independent We Stand Premium Membership.

The Grand Prize Winner and Semifinalist winners may alternately be referred to below individually as "Winner" and collectively as "Winners." Winners may be featured on Independent We Stand’s blog site at http://www.independentwestand.org/blog and other related web and social media sites as well as sponsor-related web and social media sites. All costs and expenses associated with any prize that are not stated as included herein are solely the responsibility of each Winner, including but not limited to all federal, state and local taxes. Prizes may not be redeemed for cash, nor may they be transferred or offered for sale or auction, and can only be substituted, in Contest Administrator’s sole discretion, with a prize of equal or greater value.

Prize limit: Prizes will be mailed within four (4) to six (6) weeks to the Winner’s business address as stated on the respective Winner’s registration form. At the sole discretion of the Contest Administrator, disqualification and forfeiture may result from (a) a potential Winner’s failure to respond to notification within the time specified by Contest Administrator after its transmission; (b) the return of an email notification as undeliverable or Contest Administrator’s inability to otherwise contact a potential Winner; (c) a potential Winner’s failure to provide Contest Administrator with satisfactory proof of eligibility, Locally-owned Small Business verification, age, identity and residency; (d) a potential Winner’s failure to accept or utilize the respective prize as provided herein; (e) any other noncompliance, as determined by Independent We Stand in its sole discretion, with the Official Rules.

6. RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE ENTRANT:

(A) REPRESENTATIONS/WARRANTIES AS CONDITIONS OF ENTRY: By participating in this Contest, an Entrant represents and warrants that: (i) s/he is of the legal capacity to participate in this Contest; (ii) s/he owns all rights and title to his/her Submission and the Submission is solely his/her own original work; and (iii) the Submission does not infringe the intellectual property, privacy, publicity rights or any other legal or moral rights of any third party.

(B) GRANTS/WAIVERS: By submitting a Submission, an Entrant assigns to Independent We Stand all right, title, interest and intellectual property rights, including without limitation copyright, in the Submission and irrevocably grants Independent We Stand  and its sponsors, affiliates, legal representatives, assigns, agents and licensees, the unconditional, unlimited and perpetual right and permission to copy, transmit, publish, post, broadcast, display, adapt, exhibit, reproduce, encode, store and/or otherwise use, reuse or not use the Submission or any portion of thereof, as submitted or as edited/modified in any way by Independent We Stand, in its sole discretion in this Contest in any and all media without limitation, worldwide and throughout perpetuity, without additional compensation, notice to or approval from the Entrant. The Entrant understands and agrees that although s/he has granted Independent We Stand the right to use or reuse his/her Submission or any portion thereof as stated hereinabove, Independent We Stand, in its sole discretion, may elect not to so use any said Submission. The ENTRANT REPRESENTS, UNDERSTANDS AND ACKNOWLEDGES THAT S/HE WILL NOT BE PAID FOR OR RECEIVE ANY FORM OF COMPENSATION OR ROYALTY IN EXCHANGE FOR GRANTING INDEPENDENT WE STAND THESE RIGHTS OR FOR ANY SUBSEQUENT USE OF SUCH STATEMENT OF ATTRIBUTES BY INDEPENDENT WE STAND OTHER THAN ANY PRIZE S/HE MAY RECEIVE HEREIN. The Entrant waives all intellectual property rights, privacy/publicity rights or other legal or moral rights that might limit or preclude Independent We Stand’s use of the Submission or any portion thereof and agrees not to sue or assert any claim against Contest Entities arising out of or connected to the use of the Submission or any portion thereof.
(C) INDEMNIFICATION/RELEASE: By submitting a Submission, the Entrant agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the Contest Entities from any and all claims, damages, expenses, costs (including reasonable attorneys' fees) and liabilities (including settlements) brought or asserted by any third party against any of them due to or arising out of the Submission or his/her conduct in creating the Submission or other actions in connection with this Contest, including, but not limited to, claims for trademark infringement, copyright infringement, work product, violation of an individual’s right of publicity or right of privacy, or defamation. The Entrant further agrees to release and hold harmless the Contest Entities from any and all claims that any advertising subsequently produced, presented and/or prepared by or on behalf of Independent We Stand infringes his/her rights with regard to the Submission and/or any portion thereof.

NOTE: All of the terms and conditions as stated in Sections (A) through (C) above shall also apply to any photograph and any other content submitted to Independent We Stand or Contest Entities.

7. INTERNET/LIMITATIONS OF LIABILITY: No liability or responsibility is assumed by Contest Entities resulting from an Entrant’s participation in or attempt to participate in the Contest. The Contest Entities are not responsible for interrupted or unavailable network server or other connections; for miscommunications; for failed computer transmissions; for jumbled, scrambled, or misdirected Submissions or transmissions; for phone, electrical, network, computer hardware or software or program malfunctions, failures or difficulties; for other errors, omissions, interruptions or deletions of any kind, whether human, mechanical or electronic; or for any damage to any person's computer related to participating in the Contest. The Contest Entities are not responsible for, late, lost or undelivered Submissions or mail; for incorrect or inaccurate information, whether caused by Internet users or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the Contest; or for any technical or human errors that may occur in the processing of any Submissions or other information in the Contest. Persons found tampering with or abusing any aspect of the Contest, as solely determined by Independent We Stand, may be disqualified and may be subject to prosecution. Any person attempting to enter using multiple email addresses, multiple identities or any other device or artifice to enter multiple times or to interfere with the proper play of the Contest may be disqualified from participation in the Contest in Independent We Stand’s sole discretion. Additionally, any use of robotic, automatic, macro, programmed third-party or like methods to participate in the Contest may void any attempted participation effected by such methods and cause the disqualification of the individual utilizing the same. Independent We Stand reserves the right to disqualify any individual found, in its sole opinion, to be tampering with the operation of the Contest, to be acting in violation of these Official Rules, or to be acting with the intent to disrupt the intended operation of the Contest. If Independent We Stand, in its sole discretion, determines that the Contest is not or may not be capable of running as intended because of viruses, bugs, unauthorized human intervention or any other causes that corrupt or may corrupt the administration, security, fairness or proper play of the Contest, Independent We Stand reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to modify, suspend, cancel or terminate the Contest and proceed in a manner deemed fair and appropriate by Sponsor.

CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE THE WEBSITE OR ANY RELATED WEBSITE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THE CONTEST IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, INDEPENDENT WE STAND RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK DAMAGES OR OTHER REMEDIES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON(S) RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ATTEMPT TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW.

NOTE REGARDING WARRANTIES: THE CONTEST ENTITIES MAKE NO WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE OR NON-INFRINGEMENT AS REGARDS THE PRIZES. AS SOME JURISDICTIONS MAY NOT ALLOW LIMITATIONS OR EXCLUSION OF LIABILITY FOR INCIDENTAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES OR EXCLUSION OF IMPLIED WARRANTIES, ENTRANTS SHOULD CHECK THEIR LOCAL LAWS TO LEARN IF ANY OF THE ABOVE LIMITATIONS OR EXCLUSIONS APPLY TO THEM.

8. PRIVACY POLICY: Any personally identifiable information collected during an individual’s participation in this Contest will be collected by Independent We Stand or its representative and used by Independent We Stand for purposes of the proper administration and fulfillment of the Contest as described in these Official Rules and in accordance with Independent We Stand's Privacy Policy as such is stated at http://www.independentwestand.org/learn-more/privacy-policy/

9. PUBLICITY RIGHTS: By participating in this Contest, Entrants agree to allow Independent We Stand and/or Independent We Stand’s designees the perpetual right to use their name, business name, biographical information, photos and/or likenesses, videos and statements for promotion, trade, commercial, advertising and publicity purposes, at any time or times, in all media now known or hereafter discovered, worldwide, including but not limited to on the World Wide Web and Internet, without notice, review or approval and without additional compensation except where prohibited by law.

10. RELEASE: By participating in this Contest, Entrants release and agree to indemnify and hold harmless Contest Entities from and against any and all costs, claims, damages or any other injury, whether due to negligence or otherwise, to person(s) or property (including, without limitation, death or violation of any personal rights, such as violation of right of publicity/privacy, libel or slander), due in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, to participation in the Contest or acceptance of a prize.

11. DISPUTE RESOLUTION: Except where prohibited, by participating in the Contest, Entrants agree that: (a) except as otherwise specifically set forth in these Official Rules, any action arising out of or relating to these Official Rules or the rights and obligations of any Entrant and/or Independent We Stand shall be filed exclusively in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or the appropriate Virginia District Court located in Virginia Beach, VA; and Entrant hereby consents and submits to the personal jurisdiction of such court for the purposes of litigating any such action, and any right to a trial by jury is hereby waived; (b) any and all disputes, claims and causes of action arising out of or connected with these Official Rules, and/or the rights and obligations of any Entrant and/or Independent We Stand shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action; (c) any and all claims, judgments and awards shall be limited to actual out-of-pocket costs incurred and in no event will Entrant be entitled to receive attorneys' fees or other legal costs; (d) under no circumstances will Entrant be permitted to obtain injunctive or other equitable relief, and Entrant’s sole remedy will be an action at law for damages to the extent allowed by sub-paragraphs (c) and (e) of this Section 11; and (e) under no circumstances will Entrant be permitted, and Entrants hereby waive all rights, to: (i) claim punitive, exemplary, special, incidental, indirect and consequential damages and any other damages (whether due to negligence or otherwise), other than for actual out-of-pocket costs described in (c) above; and (ii) have damages multiplied or otherwise increased. All issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Official Rules, or the rights and obligations of any Entrant and/or Independent We Stand, shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia without giving effect or regard to any principles or doctrines of conflicts of law of the Commonwealth of Virginia or any other jurisdiction. If any provision or provisions of these Official Rules shall be held to be invalid, illegal, unenforceable or in conflict with the law of any jurisdiction, the validity, legality and enforceability of the remaining provisions shall not in any way be affected or impaired thereby.

12. GENERAL: By entering the Contest, Entrants agree to waive any right to claim ambiguity in these Official Rules. In the event of a dispute as to the identity of any Winner based on an email address, the winning Submission will be deemed made by the authorized account holder of the email address submitted at the time of entry. "Authorized account holder" is defined as the natural person who is assigned to an email address by an Internet access provider, online service provider or other organization (e.g., business, educational institution) that is responsible for assigning email addresses for the domain associated with the submitted email address. All applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations apply.

13. WINNERS LIST: To obtain the names of the Winners, send a properly stamped self-addressed envelope, postmarked by 11/30/15, to Winners List, Independent We Stand "Independent Business of the Year" Contest, 575 Lynnhaven Pkwy, 3rd Floor, Virginia Beach, VA 23452.