Synchrony Pillars Project Grant Program Makes a Lasting Impact for Small Businesses


PUBLISHED: January 10, 2023
Synchrony Pillars Project Grant Program Makes a Lasting Impact for Small Businesses

In the past year, many businesses have made significant changes. Park Jewelers has increased its e-commerce presence to more easily allow customers to choose that special gift, while iSmile Dental reached new customers through a digital campaign. Entrepreneurs in those small businesses ignited the ideas, but they didn’t do it alone.

Both participated in the Synchrony Pillars Project Grant, a program that allows small businesses to share their stories—including how they invest in their communities—and compete for grants that will digitally transform their business. Synchrony, a consumer financial services company, serves as a partner to businesses by providing loyalty-building marketing solutions, deep data insights and payment product options.  

About the Synchrony Pillars Project Grant

Synchrony launched the Pillars Project Grant in 2016 as a tool to assist small business owners in these challenging times. Now open to both retailers and healthcare providers throughout the United States and its territories, including Puerto Rico, the Pillars Project honors and awards some of the most outstanding small enterprises today. 

“At Synchrony we believe thriving small businesses shape our communities and strengthen the economy,” Synchrony Executive Vice President and Chief Growth Officer Michael Bopp says. “The Synchrony Pillars Project Grant is an initiative Synchrony created to help small businesses that are impacting their communities achieve their goals.”

Each 2022 Pillars Project grant recipient receives $10,000 plus consulting services from Synchrony experts. These consulting sessions focus on digital transformation and innovative technology solutions and insights to help them grow their business. Topics can include SEO best practices for small businesses, how to organize social media efforts for growth and public relations best practices. Winners also receive a digital toolkit to promote their recognition as a Pillars awardee.

Since the Pillars Project Grant began, Synchrony has awarded more than 80 business and healthcare leaders pro bono services and grants valued at more than $850,000.

Pillars Project 2022: Expanding digital transformation

A 2020 study commissioned by Cisco found that businesses that matured in their digital transformation efforts saw eight times greater revenue growth than those still in their earliest stages.

As a leading consumer financing partner for small enterprises, Synchrony knows the value of digital in reaching, servicing and retaining customers. That’s why Synchrony chose to focus on digital competitiveness for its most recent Pillars Project Grant. The grant application looked at how businesses had adopted digital tools and processes needed for success; their overall digital vision and ability to adapt; and their roots and impact in their communities. Synchrony’s goals for the winners include:

  • Helping them increase digital capabilities through enhanced website and mobile experiences, search engine optimization (SEO), digital marketing and enriched social media content;
  • Providing funding for businesses to help enable expanding their technologies in areas such as mobile devices, cybersecurity software, company-based apps and wireless connections; and
  • Driving greater brand awareness through improved digital marketing strategies.

“Supporting small businesses is foundational to Synchrony’s commitment to helping partners grow,” Bopp said as he congratulated the winners. “With these funds and our experts giving time and talent, small businesses will have the opportunity to accelerate their growth and digital transformation.”

2022 Pillars Project Grant winners

Retail awardees

This year’s winners of the Pillars Project Grant represent a wide range of small businesses from industries including automotive services, sewing, carpet, HVAC and more. This year’s 11 awardees include:

1. Park Jewelers

Sylvie Tsirigotis of Park Jewelers in Lake Mary, Florida, faced a tough year in 2020 due to the pandemic but muscled through, thanks to the support of her loyal community. In fact, Park Jewelers has consistently shown moxie in reinventing itself since its founding in 2009. Family owned and operated, Tsirigotis is committed to expanding digitally as a means to grow human interactions and customer service. Competing with big-box store jewelers isn’t easy.

“As we navigate through this ever-changing time, we constantly have to change with it,” Tsirigotis says. “We feel our consistent business practices and commitment to our customers is what makes us stand out.”

2. Pedego Stony Brook

Trisha Larsen of Pedego Electric Bikes Stony Brook in East Setauket, New York, also saw the role digital transformation could play for her, her business and her community. With 20 years in the healthcare industry providing the wind at her back, she is committed to assisting those with health issues get back to biking again. Electric bikes provide a solution. 

“Last summer I received a call from a potential customer who said she’s been looking for an e-bike for her special needs adult daughter,” Larsen says. “This customer and her daughter really liked the bike and were excited to return for a test ride. Eureka! The bike was a win for them.”

Health and wellness awardees

Health and wellness Pillars Project Grant Program awardees include practitioners from audiology and chiropractic and massage therapy, as well as dentists and other physicians. Each is committed to growing their business and can use their award for digital development. We congratulate 10 awardees including:

1. Anew Life Prosthetics and Orthotics, LLC

Kim and Chris Casteel of Anew Life Prosthetics and Orthotics in Detroit, Michigan, utilize digital technologies and 3D printing to provide the best fitting, most comfortable prosthetic devices possible. They also work with many non-profit charitable organizations including Street Medicine Detroit, Burners Without Borders Detroit and Palestine Children’s Relief Fund, among others. With this grant, they will continue to improve lives.

2. iSmile Dental

Dr. Fahreen Pardhan of iSmile Dental in Avon, Ohio, will also use her Pillars Project Grant Reward to enhance digital outreach to serve her community. Pardhan has a particular drive to care for kids, as well as adults with special needs. Knowing that dental care serves a critical function to overall health and wellness, Pardhan provides discounted care to those with no dental insurance. She is a member of the Academy of General Dentistry, the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, the American Academy of Facial Aesthetics and the American Academy of Implant Dentistry. 

About Synchrony

The Synchrony Pillars Project Grant program is one of many ways that Synchrony helps small businesses move forward. Synchrony also offers many innovative, turnkey business tools that enable nearly one million small businesses to manage, market and grow their businesses and enrich their communities.

From health and wellness to retail and telecommunications, Synchrony has established partners across a wide range of industries. Synchrony offers:

  • Financing, including credit cards with loyalty programs
  • Private label and co-branded credit cards
  • The CareCredit credit card, a solution for healthcare providers and health-focused retailers
  • Digital tools developed with small business in mind
  • A learning center, tool kit, podcasts and consulting services
  • And much more

With nearly 90 years in service of entrepreneurial growth, Synchrony has the data to guide businesses through today’s digital challenges. They are uniquely poised to offer consumers more relevant offers and capabilities that help drive loyalty and repeat purchases.

Learn more about Synchrony business and healthcare provider solutions as well as our Pillars Project Grant Program

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