Investors Bank and the companies co-sponsoring the Movers & Shakers Small Business Competition have named two grand prize winners and 10 finalists in New Jersey and New York. The competition recognizes the grit, innovation, and dedication of these companies to their clients and employees, as well as the flexibility that helps drive all small businesses.

The Movers & Shakers competition was put on hold earlier this year because of the pandemic but judging resumed, and the winners and finalists were celebrated in a virtual ceremony. The challenges of the last several months have only underscored the strength of these business owners, many of whom spoke during the ceremony about how they have pivoted during the pandemic.

TAPinto.net, one of the top 10 finalists, is a key lifeline for many communities across New Jersey especially during the pandemic and beyond. The company’s network of more than 85 franchised local, online news sites keeps families informed across New Jersey, New York, Florida and Texas. Each locally-owned and operated TAPinto news site covers schools, municipal governments, events and celebrations, hometown sports and nonprofit groups and delivers messages about Main Street businesses. The company is thriving by producing original, local news coverage in more than 100 communities.

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Michael Shapiro, CEO and Founder of TAPinto, said, “Through our creative business model and commitment to our communities coupled with our dedication to original, local reporting, we’re succeeding even as the media landscape has been decimated during the last decade. We are honored to be recognized for our success and our community involvement.”

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, Competitiveness, and Community. 

In announcing the grand prize winners and finalists, Investors Bank Chairman and CEO Kevin Cummings said, “We are inspired by the compelling stories the small businesses shared in their Movers & Shakers applications. The companies’ owners and employees are committed to excellence in providing products and services, assisting clients, and giving back to local communities. It’s clearer than ever that small businesses are a core part of our regional and national economy. Investors and our partners know and understand that these companies deserve our support right now.” 

Alstede Farms in Chester, N.J., and Macondo Networks in Randolph, N.J., each received a grand prize valued at approximately $100,000. The two companies were awarded a check from Investors Bank, advertising from WCBS 880, and a special event with the New Jersey Devils. Alstede Farms uses a variety of farming practices including, among others: natural, sustainable, and certified organic growing methods on permanently preserved farmland. Macondo Networks is a WBENC certified woman-owned business that supplies telecommunications equipment (new and refurbished), conferencing services, and cloud solutions to a wide range of businesses.

The two grand-prize winners and 10 finalists were invited to a virtual celebration, hosted by WCBS 880 Small Business Reporter Joe Connolly. “The Movers & Shakers competition attracted a truly incredible group of small businesses,” said Connolly. “Selecting the two grand prize winners and top ten finalists was very interesting and difficult because all these companies are performing at an ultra-high level, in every aspect of their businesses. Even in a challenging economy, they are taking advantage of new opportunities and openings they uncover.”