October 28, 2014 // Franchising.com // ATLANTA – 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.
MBAxAmerica is an innovative program that takes MBA students from some of America's most prestigious universities and challenges them to take a journey across the U.S., learning from and working with visionary entrepreneurs who are making a difference in their communities. With 32 students traveling to 27 cities over four months, MBAxAmerica needed a like-minded partner to enable the teams to complete their journeys. The Holiday Inn brand has always played an important role in the community – both as a local gathering place and as an opportunity for an entrepreneur to realize the American dream of being a small business owner. Today, in supporting its owners and communities, the brand continues living up to its heritage of helping small business owners achieve their entrepreneurial ambitions. Throughout the partnership, the Holiday Inn brand has provided hotel accommodations for the MBA teams, while also giving them a place to relax, refresh and collaborate and enable their journeys across the country. The brand also documented and shared the extraordinary journeys of these MBA teams and the entrepreneurs through a "Signature Stories" series as part of the Holiday Inn brand's Journey to Extraordinary campaign.
With over 1,149 hotels worldwide, the Holiday Inn® brand is the most widely recognized lodging brand in the world. In fact, the Holiday Inn brand was one of the first international hotel brands to establish a presence in China in 1984. The Holiday Inn brand provides the services that business travelers need, while also offering a comfortable atmosphere where all people can relax and enjoy amenities such as restaurants and room service, swimming pools, fitness centers and comfortable lounges. The casual atmosphere and amenities such as meeting and on-site business facilities, and Kids Stay and Eat Free programs, demonstrates the long-standing commitment of the Holiday Inn brand to serving travelers and have helped to establish the brand as "America's Favorite Hotel." For more information about the Holiday Inn brand, visit www.holidayinn.com or call 1-800-HOLIDAY. Find us on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/holidayinn or Facebook www.Facebook.com/holidayinnhotels.
Visit www.ihg.com for hotel information and reservations and www.ihgrewardsclub.com for more on IHG Rewards Club. For our latest news, visit: www.ihg.com/media, www.twitter.com/ihg, www.facebook.com/ihg or www.youtube.com/ihgplc .
About HLN: HLN rebranded itself in 2014 as the first U.S. TV home for the social media generation (millennials and the millennial-minded). Inspired by the national passion for sharing 'news,' and the technology that makes the flow of information instantly accessible, HLN rips its headlines from social media and actively interacts with consumers and what they are searching, playing, sharing, shopping, creating and watching.HLNtv.com is designed to be the digital home for the nation's most popular social media content. HLN is a CNN Worldwide network reaching more than 100 million households in the U.S. CNN Worldwide, a division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner Company, is the most trusted source for news and information.
MBAs Across America (MBAxAmerica), is a national movement to revitalize America by mobilizing the nation's top business school students to support startups and small businesses in some of our most overlooked cities and communities. The program challenges MBAs to take a journey across America to work with visionary entrepreneurs who are making a difference every day in their communities. Breaking the mold of traditional business school internships, MBAxAmerica believes the future of business school is hands-on; on the ground; and must prepare a new generation to drive real progress. The MBA students are able to apply their education and skills in the real world while helping hard working entrepreneurs in America--in the process creating a new generation of business leaders who can be a central force for good in the world.
 Forbes.com, 16 Surprising Statistics About Small Businesses, 9 September 2013
IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) [LON:IHG, NYSE:IHG (ADRs)] is a global organization with a broad portfolio of nine hotel brands, including InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts, Hotel Indigo®, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn® Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn Express®, Staybridge Suites®, Candlewood Suites®, EVEN™ Hotels and HUALUXE® Hotels and Resorts.
IHG manages IHG® Rewards Club, the world's first and largest hotel loyalty program with over 82 million members worldwide. The program was relaunched in July 2013, offering enhanced benefits for members including free internet across all hotels, globally.
IHG franchises, leases, manages or owns over 4,700 hotels and 697,000 guest rooms in nearly 100 countries, with almost 1,200 hotels in its development pipeline.
InterContinental Hotels Group PLC is the Group's holding company and is incorporated in Great Britain and registered in England and Wales.
Visit www.ihg.com for hotel information and reservations and www.ihgrewardsclub.com for more on IHG Rewards Club. For our latest news, visit: www.ihg.com/media, www.twitter.com/ihg,www.facebook.com/ihg or www.youtube.com/ihgplc.
SOURCE IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group)
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