Series Follows Three MBAxAmerica Teams as They Embark on Extraordinary Journeys
ATLANTA (October 28, 2014) – The iconic Holiday Inn® brand, part of InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), and HLN (a Turner Broadcasting network), today announced the production of the six-episode original series, Growing America: A Journey to Success, premiering on Sunday, November 16th at 9:00 pm EST on HLN. Hosted by Ty Pennington, (known for Trading Spaces, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, On The Menu), the documentary series follows teams of MBA students from the MBAs Across America (MBAxAmerica) program, who are given one week to use their expertise to transform businesses and positively affect communities in cities across the U.S.
“We were fortunate enough to work closely with Casey Gerald, co-founder and CEO of MBAxAmerica, this year as part of our Journey to Extraordinary campaign, and were in awe of the impact he and his MBAxAmerica teams are having on businesses and cities across the U.S. The entrepreneurial spirit and a focus on the communities in which our hotels do business is the foundation on which the Holiday Inn brand was built, so the relationship was a perfect fit,” said Maurice Cooper, vice president, Holiday Inn® brand, the Americas, IHG. “Together, we approached HLN to create a TV series that would further showcase on a national level the personal journeys of these MBA students and the entrepreneurs they are helping, and how the Holiday Inn brand has enabled them along the way – all while hopefully inspiring viewers on extraordinary journeys of their own.”
Over 50% of the working population in the U.S. is employed by a small business, making the success of entrepreneurs a vital part of the success of the American economy. Against this backdrop, the stakes are high as the MBAxAmerica teams are challenged each episode to leverage their education and expertise to help three entrepreneurs, who are about to get the opportunity of a lifetime, take risks and transform their business in just five days. From a Denver tech company seeking to revolutionize the nonprofit world and a barbershop striving to become a community centerpiece in Detroit to a family owned café in Little Rock aiming to become a leader in the local organic food movement – these small business are all on extraordinary journeys which the Holiday Inn brand is committed to enabling through Growing America: A Journey to Success.
“This collaboration speaks to the strength of both brands and how we connect with millions of Americans on a daily basis. This partnership also represents an important step forward for both HLN and the Holiday Inn brand in the way in which we now connect with our audiences – in person, on television and through digital channels,” said Katrina Cukaj, executive vice president, CNN/HLN Ad Sales.
Digital media will play a key role in Growing America: A Journey to Success. After each episode airs, viewers will be encouraged to visit HLNtv.com/GrowingAmerica to vote for the most inspirational small business of the television series, with the winner announced during the show finale, airing on Sunday, December 21st. The Holiday Inn brand and HLN also co-created a companion digital series, which will explore the challenges of small businesses in Boise, Idaho and Nashville, Tennessee. This series, along with profiles of the business owners and MBA teams, and tips for small business owners, will round out the content featured online. To join the conversation throughout the series and share their own extraordinary journeys, viewers can visit the Holiday Inn brand’s social channels including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube; dedicated HLN social channels for Growing America: A Journey to Success including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube; and are encouraged to use the hashtag #GrowingAmerica across all channels.
 Forbes.com, 16 Surprising Statistics About Small Businesses, 9 September 2013