Texas Mom and Entrepreneur Nichole Bentley Wins First Prize in Verizon's National 'Hardest Working Small Biz Mom' Contest

Three mothers in Texas, New York and Michigan who are also successful businesswomen are the winners of Verizon's Hardest Working Small Biz Mom contest.

In her first-prize-winning video submission, Nichole Bentley, owner of Bentley Business Consulting in Coppell, Texas, shows how she strikes a balance between caring for her four sons and running her business.  She also finds time to fit some workouts into her regular routine.

"I was pleasantly surprised when I learned I won," said Bentley, who will receive $5,000 and home-cleaning service for an entire year (valued at $2,400). "Small businesses don't get recognized, and it was great of Verizon to run this for their small-business customers," she said.

Bentley uses Verizon's super-fast FiOS Internet and crystal-clear phone services to run her home-based business, which has clients in Dallas, Pittsburgh and Denver.  Her kids enjoy watching FiOS TV, and the parental controls give her peace of mind while she's tending to her business and clients.  Bentley said she'll set aside some of her winnings for her business.  She plans to use the rest to host a dinner to thank both her assistants for telling her about the contest; her husband for giving her the idea for the video; and to celebrate her victory and her approaching 40th birthday.

Lisa Pelino, owner of the Sweet Dawn Café in Rochester, N.Y., was selected as the second-prize winner and will receive a $1,000 prepaid gift card and a $600 Apple gift card.  Pelino said she will use the cash for a family vacation. In just six years, she has doubled the café's business, and last year she started a women's consignment boutique called Your Best Friend's Closet.  To read Pelino's blog post submission, click here.

Jennifer Manriquez, owner of Bilingual Fun in South Lyon, Mich., is the third-prize winner and will receive a $500 prepaid gift card, which she said she will use to "splurge on something" for herself and her family.  After her first child became a toddler, Manriquez saw a need for children in her community to learn Spanish and launched her business, which uses an interactive environment to teach students.  Click here to watch Manriquez's video submission in which she shares how her Verizon Wireless BlackBerry is so easy to use and helps her update her social media profile, respond to client emails, and more.  

All three winners will receive a one-year platinum membership to Ladies Who Launch, a company that promotes and helps women entrepreneurs.  Additionally, each of the winners will also receive a six-month subscription to either Verizon Websites powered by Intuit, which enables businesses to quickly and easily design and set up their own website, or, for those winners whose businesses already have a website, Intuit WebListings Premium, which places company websites onto popular search sites.

Mary Yarbrough, vice president of business marketing for Verizon, said: "It certainly wasn't easy choosing the hardest working mom.  We congratulate the winners and commend all the women from across the country who entered the contest.  The best part of this contest was the feedback we got from our customers on how they use Verizon's products and services to help grow their businesses."

To get some business insights from some of the winners, visit the Verizon Small Biz Blog (www.verizon.com/smallbusinessblog).

Verizon's Hardest Working Small Biz Mom contest, held earlier this year, was open to both Verizon and Verizon Wireless customers. (Click here for a video of Yarbrough introducing the Verizon Hardest Working Small Biz Mom contest.)  Contestants submitted a brief video or a posting to this blog post on the Verizon Small Biz Blog. 

Verizon recently held a similar contest for fathers who are entrepreneurs; the winners of that contest will be announced soon.

For exclusive insights from Verizon, news, tips and more follow Verizon Small Biz on Twitter (www.twitter.com/VZSmallBiz), become a fan on Facebook (www.facebook.com/verizonsmallbiz), or read the Verizon Small Biz Blog (www.verizon.com/smallbusinessblog).

In addition to Internet, TV and phone service, Verizon also offers small businesses many cloud-based, or online, services such as encryption and security solutions, plus easy do-it-yourself website design application, and additional discounts on supplies and shipping. Visit the Verizon Small Business Center at http://business.verizon.net for more information.

More information on Verizon's products and services for small businesses is available by calling 1-888-481-0387 or visiting www.verizon.com/smallbusiness.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, NASDAQ:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, with more than 104 million total connections nationwide.  Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America's most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers seamless business solutions to customers around the world.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of more than 196,000 and last year generated consolidated revenues of $106.6 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.