Association of Independent Mortgage Experts (“AIME”) rules for participating in all programs.
ABOUT AIME SPARK
AIME is committed to fostering an inclusive environment to support and protect independent mortgage brokers across the country to grow the wholesale mortgage channel. Whether you are a loan officer, broker owner, or a supporting member of a broker’s organization, we take a personal approach to helping you build a successful business. And for members just transitioning into the wholesale channel, we can connect you to valuable business development resources to help you get started.
Through the Spark Program (“Program”), AIME seeks to fuel new business and employment opportunities in the mortgage industry by providing opportunities for entrepreneurs in the wholesale mortgage industry. The goal of the business grant is to provide additional resources to better equip new brokers with the tools they need to set up a successful business. Grant applicants must use the grant for cost affiliated with opening a brokerage or growing their businesses. An example of acceptable expenses is included in the Official Rules. The grant also provides additional support from the Association of Independent Mortgage Experts (AIME) and the broker community to help the recipients build sustainable business models for any market environment.
The Spark Program goals are to invite either individuals or organizations (collectively, “Applicants”) worldwide to fuel new business and employment opportunities in the mortgage industry. This first program has an initial focus on underrepresented or disadvantaged populations.
Participation in the Spark Program (“Program”) constitutes Applicants’ full and unconditional agreement to these Official Rules and to the decisions of the Administrator and their representatives’ decisions, which are final and binding in all matters related to the Program. Chosen Applicants’ participation is contingent upon fulfilling all requirements set forth in the Official Rules, application and participation documents. The Program dates, location, and other criteria are subject to change anytime at the sole discretion of the Administrator.
Administrator: AIME Spark, located at 6401 Citation Drive, Ste C, Clarkston, MI 48346
2. OVERVIEW OF PROGRAM DATES
Applications open for both program opportunities on November 14, 2022. Applications close for program opportunities on January 15th, 2023. Recipients will be notified and announced from February 15 through February 23, 2023.
*All deadlines are at 11:59 pm Eastern Time on the respective days, unless otherwise stated.
A. The Program is open to:
Individuals who are at least 18 years of age at the time of application, are legal residents of the United States where such Programs are allowed by the laws of those states.
Small businesses applying must be composed of eligible individuals where the business meets the eligibility requirements for individual Applicants.
B. Applicants must own or have access at their own expense to a computer, an internet connection, and any other electronic devices, documentation, software or other items an Applicant may deem necessary to create and enter their Application.
C. Where an applicant is a small business, the organization shall appoint one individual as the point person (the “Representative”) to represent and act, including registering and entering an Application, on behalf of said small business. The Representative must be duly authorized to submit on behalf of the organization. The Representative represents and warrants that he or she is duly authorized to act on behalf of the organization, and has read the Official Rules, terms and conditions, FAQs and other pertinent information and that the organization agrees to abide by these Official Rules. The Representative will ensure that each member of the organization participating in entering the Application, or in decisions related to the Application, has read and complies with the Official Rules.
D. If chosen as a Participant, each participant must comply with the terms and conditions of the Program and any future requirements as required by the Program, including but not limited to executing the necessary documentation for completing the program. Any remote attendance costs associated with participating in the Program, appearing electronically and virtually are at the sole expense of the Applicants and no equipment, media, communication, travel or lodging costs will be reimbursed.
E. Applicants who identify as a member of a disadvantaged* group or is a military veteran or spouse of a service member. “Disadvantaged” is defined as a member of a group of persons the Administrator and their representatives deem as disadvantaged through their application and the associated submissions including but not limited to the business plan and financial projections. The Program may presume certain groups are disadvantaged, including women, Black Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Asian-Pacific Americans, Subcontinent Asian-Pacific Americans, or other minorities found to be disadvantaged. Persons who are not members of one of the above groups and own and control their business may also apply and be eligible if they establish their “social” and “economic” disadvantage through their application. The Program considers for example, that people with disabilities have disproportionately low incomes and high rates of unemployment, and that many may be socially and economically disadvantaged. A determination of whether an individual with a disability meets disadvantage eligibility criteria is made on a case-by-case basis based on their application.
4. THE FOLLOWING INDIVIDUALS AND ORGANIZATIONS ARE NOT ELIGIBLE REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THEY MEET THE CRITERIA SET FORTH ABOVE:
A. The Sponsor, the Administrator, and any advertising agency, contractor or other organization involved with the design, production, promotion, execution, or distribution of the Program (collectively “Promotion Entities”); all employees, representatives and agents of such Promotion Entities; and all members of any such employee, representative or agent’s immediate family or household.
B. Any individual involved with the design, production, promotion, execution, or distribution of the Program and each member of any such individual’s immediate family or household.
C. Any organization or individual that has a material business relationship or affiliation with any person choosing Applicants.
D. Any parent company, subsidiary, or other affiliate of any organization described above.
E. For purposes hereof: (i) the members of an individual’s immediate family include such individual’s spouse, children and step-children, parents and step-parents, and siblings and step-siblings; and (ii) the members of an individual’s household include any other person who shares the same residence as such individual for at least three (3) months out of the year.
5. PROGRAM APPLICATION PERIOD
A. Applicants may submit an Application between November 14, 2022 – January 15th, 2023 (11:59 pm Eastern Time) (the “Application Period”). The Administrator’s computer is the official time keeping device for this Program.
B. Any Application entered following the end of the Application Period shall be disqualified.
6. REGISTRATION AND APPLICATION
Beginning on November 14, 2022, Applicant may send an Application by going to the Program Website at www.aimespark.com (the “Program Website”) or other authorized channels that are soliciting Applicants and submit applications via the instructions listed on the Program Website. You will be directed to complete an application. You must complete and submit the entire application. Applicants applying from other channels are required to adhere to all rules described here.
If an Applicant is part of an organization, the Representative is required to add the organization members in the Application fields.
Only entries applied through authorized sources including the Program website with completed applications will be accepted. In case of technical difficulties, the Applicants can contact email@example.com.
In the event of a dispute pertaining to this Program, the authorized account holder of the email address used to make the application and enter the Application will be deemed to be the Applicant’s Representative. The “authorized account holder” is the natural person or legal entity assigned an email address by an internet access provider, online service provider or other organization responsible for assigning email addresses for the domain associated with the submitted address. Applicants generally and chosen participants may be required to show proof of being the authorized account holder.
B. Application: Applicants must submit their official application to be evaluated by the Administrator in accordance with these rules. There is no cost to enter an Application.
Applicants must complete, and submit an application through the Program website.
C. All Applications must be received no later than 11:59 pm Eastern Time for the respective deadlines.
The Administrator, at their sole discretion, may permit an Applicant to modify part of the Application after submittal. The modified Application must remain substantively the same as the original Application with the only modification being what is permitted by the Administrator. Any modifications beyond what is permitted may result in disqualification.
Limit of one Application per Applicant.
No additional organization members may be added or changed after the Application is made.
D. Application Rights and Display: The Sponsor and/or Administrator, and any third parties acting on the Sponsor’s behalf, will have a royalty-free, non-exclusive, worldwide license to display publicly and use for promotional purposes the Application, in perpetuity. This license includes posting or linking to the Application on the Sponsor’s and/or Administrator’s websites, including the Program Website, and partner websites, and inclusion of the Application in any other media, worldwide.
E. Application Requirements
All Application materials must be in English.
An Application may be rejected at the sole discretion of the Administrator, if the Application, either in part or in its entirety, is deemed to be obscene, defamatory, likely to incite violence or illegal activity, in violation of any third-party’s rights, or is otherwise deemed to be inappropriate.
Applications must: (a) be the original work product of the Applicant, (b) be solely owned by the Applicant and with no other person or entity having any right or interest in it, and (c) not violate the Intellectual Property rights or other rights including but not limited to copyright, trademark, patent, contract, and/or privacy rights, of any other person or entity. The Applicant must own all rights to the submitted documents including but not limited to business plans and other documents required by the application.
Applicants may be required to provide additional information, and the Administrator has the right to request additional information, to verify any aspect of the Application. Failure by an Applicant to respond in a timely fashion or fully honor such a request may result in disqualification of the Application.
By entering an Application, Applicant represents, warrants and agrees that the Application is their own work, and complies with the Official Rules.
Applicant further represents, warrants and agrees that any use of the Application by the Sponsor, Administrator and/or judges (or any of their respective partners, subsidiaries and affiliates) as authorized by these Official Rules, shall not: infringe upon, misappropriate or otherwise violate any intellectual property right or proprietary right including, without limitation, any statutory or common law trademark, copyright or patent, nor any privacy rights, moral rights nor any other rights of any person or entity; or constitute or result in any misappropriation or other violation of any person’s publicity rights or right of privacy.
F. Evaluation of the Applicants.
The Applications will be evaluated using the criteria listed in item 7 below. The Participants will be announced during the Program schedule.
7. EVALUATION CRITERIA
A. All evaluations of the Applications for this Program will involve the criteria stated in this section. All reviews will be conducted by a qualified panel of impartial evaluators (the “Panel”) selected by the Administrator. A review may be conducted in one or more rounds of evaluations, and each round of evaluations may involve different members of the Panel. The Administrator reserve the right to substitute or modify the Panel or criteria at any time for any reason.
B. All members of the Panel shall be and remain fair and impartial. Any Panelist may recuse him or herself if the Panel, the Sponsor and/or the Administrator considers that it is inappropriate, for any reason, for the person to evaluate a specific Application or group of Applications. This includes, but is not limited to, cases where a Panelist has a material business relationship or affiliation with an Applicant.
C. The Panel will use the following criteria to evaluate the Applicants and to determine the amount of the grant to be awarded:
Criteria for the Spark Small Business Grant
- Applicant currently owns OR will own a majority stake in the named company
- If brokerage is already operating, it opened after November 1, 2021
- Applicant has prior experience in the retail mortgage channel
- Evaluation of applicant’s thoughtful business plan that addresses all aspects of opening and owning a brokerage
- Evaluation of applicant’s need based on comprehensive profit and loss statement identifying where the Spark grant funds would be essential or beneficial to opening or expanding their brokerage
- Answers to all questions including but not limited to applicant’s identification as a member of a disadvantaged* group OR is a military veteran or spouse of a service member
*”Disadvantaged” is defined as a member of a group of persons AIME Spark “Program” deems to be disadvantaged based on their application. The Program may presume certain groups are disadvantaged, including women, LGBTQ, Black Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Asian-Pacific Americans, Subcontinent Asian-Pacific Americans, or other minorities using guidelines from the U.S. Small Business Administration. Persons who are not members of one of the above groups and own and control their business may also be eligible if they establish their “social” and “economic” disadvantage through their application as solely determined by the Administrator.
8. VERIFICATION OF PARTICIPANTS
A. All chosen Participants are subject to verification of identity, qualifications and role in the creation of the Application by the Administrator, whose decisions are final and binding in all matters related to the Program. Participants must continue to comply with all terms and conditions of these Official Rules throughout the Program. Chosen Participants will be notified using the email address associated with the Program account used to enter the Application. The chosen Participant will be notified in person when possible. For sake of clarity, the notification will only be sent to the Representative of the organization.
B. In order to participate, the individual will be required to sign and return to the Administrator, affidavit(s) of eligibility or a similar verification document and liability/publicity release(s) within five (5) business days of notification.
C. At the sole discretion of the Administrator, potential Participants will be deemed ineligible to participate in the Program if:
The potential Participate cannot be contacted within two (2) business days, or is contacted and refuses to sign participating agreement(s).
The potential Participant fail(s) to sign and return the affidavit(s) of eligibility or a similar verification document and liability/publicity release(s) within the time period for receipt of such documents.
The Application or the potential Participant, or any member of a potential Participant’s organization, is disqualified for any other reason. In the event of such disqualification, the Sponsor and/or Administrator, at their sole discretion, may award the applicable opportunity to another applicant.
9. PROGRAM BENEFITS. The Program offers Participants various opportunities in the Spark Program.
A. Chosen Grant participants will be awarded a monetary grant based on the decision of the Administrator, paired with a mentor, enrolled in the Leadership Academy, and receive one year of AIME membership at no cost.
10. PROGRAM CONDITIONS:
A. Participants may only participate one (1) time, once per individual or organization. All program benefits are non-transferable. All program benefits must be used within 1 year of the date of being chosen as a participant.
B. No benefit substitutions will be made. Program benefits must be accepted as awarded. No transfer or substitution is permitted except at the Sponsor and/or Administrator’s sole discretion. The Participant will be qualified for the program benefits following receipt of the signed affidavit(s) of eligibility or a similar verification document and liability/publicity release(s) form(s). All grant decisions are final.
C. Participants shall be responsible for any applicable federal, state, and local taxes associated with the monetary grant award and any program benefit. There may be some tax implications for participating in the Program. Sponsor recommends that Applicants review these rules with their legal/tax advisor to determine their potential tax liability, if any, in connection with receiving a program benefit as part of this Program. If there is any tax liability, it will be the sole responsibility of the Applicant/Participant. Participant may be required to provide a W-9 or other tax documentation to the Sponsor, Administrator or provider of in-kind services as part of any program benefit. The sole determiner of value shall be the provider of the in-kind provider of the service or program benefit. Confidentiality or other non-disclosure requirements may be required of the Participant; and Participant agrees to execute any and all agreements necessary to work with any in-kind service provider.
D. Each Applicant hereby acknowledges and agrees that the relationship between the Applicant, the Administrator, is not a confidential, fiduciary, or other special relationship, and that the Applicant’s decision to provide the Applicant’s Application to the Administrator for the purposes of this Program does not place, the Administrator, and their respective agents in a position that is any different from the position held by the members of the general public with regard to elements of the Application, except as specifically provided in these Official Rules.
E. Grant participants are expected to use funding for business related expenses related to licensing, technology, marketing, surety bonds, office expenses, services, payroll.
· Licensing expenses – PE, testing, LLC/Corp filing
· Technology – LOS, POS, CRM
· Marketing – Business cards, Facebook ads, local ads, NOT purchasing leads
· Surety Bonds – NOT net worth requirements
· Office expenses – Rent, Essential furniture, computers, printers
· Services – Compliance, accounting, graphic design, website development
· Payroll – Salaries for support staff, NOT for signing bonuses
11. ENTRY CONDITIONS AND RELEASE
A. By applying to the Program, each Applicant (including all participating members of the organization) agree(s) to:
Comply with and be bound by these Official Rules and the decisions of the Sponsor, Administrator, and/or the Program Panel, which are binding and final in all matters relating to this Program.
Release, indemnify, defend and hold harmless the Sponsor, Administrator, and their respective parent, subsidiary, and affiliated companies, the program benefit suppliers and any other organizations responsible for funding, fulfilling, administering, advertising or promoting the Program, and all of their respective past and present officers, directors, employees, agents and representatives (hereafter the “Released Parties”) from and against any and all claims, expenses, and liabilities (including reasonable attorneys’ fees), including but not limited to negligence and damages of any kind to persons and property, defamation, slander, libel, violation of right of publicity, infringement of trademark, copyright or other intellectual property rights, property damage, or death or personal injury arising out of or relating to an Applicant’s entry, creation of Application or entry of an Application, participation in the Program, acceptance or use or misuse of any program benefit (including any travel or activity related thereto), and/or any broadcast, transmission, performance, exploitation or use of Application as authorized or licensed by these Official Rules.
By participating in this Program and providing your contact information, you are agreeing to be contacted by AIME, sponsors of the Program or any affiliated organization regarding this or future events, programs or promotional offers.
B. Without limiting the foregoing, the Released Parties shall have no liability in connection with:
Any incorrect or inaccurate information, whether caused by the Sponsor’s, Administrator’s or an Applicant’s electronic or printing error or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the Program.
Technical failures of any kind, including, but not limited to malfunctions, interruptions, or disconnections in phone lines, internet connectivity or electronic transmission errors, or network hardware or software or failure of the Program Website.
Unauthorized human intervention in any part of the entry process or the Program.
Technical or human error which may occur in the administration of the Program or the processing of Applications; or any injury or damage to persons or property which may be caused, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, from the Applicant’s participation in the Program or receipt or use or misuse of any program benefit. If for any reason any Applicant’s Application is confirmed to have been erroneously deleted, lost, or otherwise destroyed or corrupted, the Applicant’s sole remedy is to request the opportunity to resubmit its Application, which request will be determined at the sole discretion of the Sponsor and the Administrator if the Program Application Period is still open.
A. Participating in the Program grants the Sponsor and/or Administrator use of the Application for press and media purposes and the Participant grants a license for such use to the Application and all related documentation or media for publicity purposes.
B. Participation in the Program constitutes the Participant’s consent to the Sponsor’s and Administrator’s, and their agents’ use of their name and description, including organization name, if applicable, and the likeness, photograph, voice, opinions, comments and/or hometown and state of residence of individuals who participated in the Application, for promotional purposes in any media, worldwide, without further payment or consideration.
Certain aspects of the Program may be delayed pending funding or approval of other legal, technical or economic requirements.
13. GENERAL CONDITIONS
A. Administrator reserve the right to cancel, suspend and/or modify the Program, or any part of it, if any fraud, technical failure or any other unanticipated factor or factor beyond the Sponsor’s and/or Administrator’s control impairs the integrity or proper functioning of the Program, as determined by the Sponsor and/or Administrator at their sole discretion. This includes changing any dates including the dates for entry and/or the dates for continuation or completion of the Program. Sponsor reserves the right to substitute a program benefit, in whole or in part, of equal or greater monetary value if a program benefit cannot be awarded, in whole or in part, as described for any reason. The Administrator reserve the right at their sole discretion to disqualify any individual or Applicant it finds to be tampering with the Program, specifically, including but not limited to the entry or voting process (for example by using the aid of computer software programs to auto-fill entries) or the operation of the Program or to be acting in violation of these Official Rules or in a manner that is inappropriate, not in the best interests of this Program, or a violation of any applicable law or regulation.
B. Any attempt by any person to undermine the proper conduct of the Program may be a violation of criminal and civil law, and, should such an attempt be made, the Sponsor and/or the Administrator reserve the right to take proper legal action, including, without limitation, referral to law enforcement, for any illegal or unlawful activities.
C. The Administrator’s failure to enforce any term of these Official Rules shall not constitute a waiver of that provision. The Administrator are not responsible for incomplete, late, misdirected, damaged, lost, illegible, or incomprehensible Applications or for address or email address changes of the Applicants. Proof of sending or submitting will not be deemed to be proof of receipt by the Administrator.
D. In the event of any discrepancy or inconsistency between the terms and conditions of the Official Rules and disclosures or other statements contained in any Program materials, including but not limited to the Program Application form, Program Website, advertising (including but not limited to television, print, radio or online ads), the terms and conditions of the Official Rules shall prevail.
E. The Administrator reserve the right, without liability, to amend the terms and conditions of the Official Rules at any time, including the rights or obligations of the Applicant, the Administrator. The Administrator will post the terms and conditions of the amended Official Rules on the Program Website. Any amendment will become effective at the time the Administrator post the amended Official Rules.
F. Excluding Applications, all intellectual property related to this Program, including but not limited to trademarks, trade-names, logos, designs, promotional materials, web pages, source codes, drawings, illustrations, slogans and representations are owned or used under license by the Administrator. All rights are reserved. Unauthorized copying or use of any copyrighted material or intellectual property without the express written consent of its owners is strictly prohibited.
G. Should any provision of these Official Rules be or become illegal or unenforceable in the jurisdiction of a permitted entrant, such illegality or unenforceability shall leave the remainder of these Official Rules unaffected and valid. The illegal or unenforceable provision shall be replaced by a valid and enforceable provision that comes closest and best reflects the Sponsor’s intention in a legal and enforceable manner with respect to the invalid or unenforceable provision.
H. Participants warrant that their Application and associated documentation are their own original work and, as such, they are the sole and exclusive owner and rights holder of the Application and that they have the right to grant all required licenses. Participant agrees not to submit any idea or documentation associated their Application that: (a) infringes any third party proprietary rights, intellectual property rights, industrial property rights, personal or moral rights or any other rights, including without limitation, copyright, trademark, trade names, industrial designs, patent, trade secret, privacy, publicity or confidentiality obligations; or (b) otherwise violates applicable state, federal, or local law.
14. LIMITATIONS OF LIABILITY
EACH APPLICANT ACCEPTS THE CONDITIONS STATED IN THESE OFFICIAL RULES, AGREES TO BE BOUND BY THE DECISIONS OF THE ADMINISTRATOR AND SPONSOR(S), WARRANTS THAT HE OR SHE IS ELIGIBLE TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS PROGRAM, AND AGREES TO RELEASE, INDEMNIFY, AND HOLD HARMLESS PROGRAM ENTITIES AND THE PERSONNEL OF EACH FROM AND AGAINST ANY AND ALL CLAIMS, LOSSES, LIABILITY, AND DAMAGES OF ANY KIND (INCLUDING REASONABLE ATTORNEYS’ FEES AND EXPENSES) ASSERTED AGAINST ANY OF THEM, INCURRED OR SUSTAINED IN CONNECTION WITH OR RISING OUT OF APPLICANT’S PARTICIPATION IN THIS PROGRAM OR ANY TRAVEL OR ACTIVITY RELATED THERETO, USE OF ANY SOCIAL MEDIA OR RIGHTS THEREIN, OR BREACH OF ANY AGREEMENT OR WARRANTY ASSOCIATED WITH THE PROGRAM, INCLUDING THESE OFFICIAL RULES. ANY ATTEMPT TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE ANY WEBSITE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THE PROGRAM IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS AND, SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, THE PROGRAM ENTITIES AND EACH OF THEIR LICENSEES RESERVE THE RIGHT TO SEEK ANY AND ALL REMEDIES AVAILABLE FROM ANY SUCH PERSON(S) RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY SUCH ATTEMPT TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW.
By submitting an application, all Applicants, including the participating members of an organization, agree to be bound by the Official Rules and hereby release the Released Parties from any and all liability in connection with the program benefits or Applicant’s participation in the Program. Provided, however, that any liability limitation regarding gross negligence or intentional acts, or events of death or bodily injury shall not be applicable in jurisdictions where such limitation is not legal.
A. Applicants agree that:
Any and all disputes, claims and causes of action arising out of or connected with this Program, or any program benefits awarded shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action.
Any and all disputes, claims and causes of action arising out of or connected with this Program, or any program benefits awarded, shall be resolved exclusively by the United States District Court of Eastern Michigan (USA) or the appropriate Michigan State Court (USA).
Under no circumstances will Applicants be entitled to, and Applicants hereby waive all rights to claim, any punitive, incidental and consequential damages and any and all rights to have damages multiplied or otherwise increased.
B. Some jurisdictions do not allow the limitations or exclusion of liability for incidental or consequential damages, so the above may not apply to you.
C. All issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Official Rules, or the rights and obligations of the Applicants, the Sponsor and the Administrator in connection with the Program, shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with, the laws of the State of Michigan (USA), without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law rules (whether of the State of Michigan or any other jurisdiction), which would cause the application of the laws of any jurisdiction other than the State of Michigan.
17. PROGRAM RESULTS
Program recipients for the small business grant will be listed on the Program website following application review with considerations made to any recipients that need to provide their current employer notice.
18. CONTACT US
If you have any questions or wish to send us any notice regarding this Program, please email or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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