When businessman and realty television star Bill Rancic, handpicked by Donald Trump himself in the first season of "The Apprentice," announced the final four contestants of Intuit's business competition, he channeled his inner sweepstakes spirit.
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"When I walked into these businesses, they were all freaking out. I felt like Ed McMahon," Rancic tells ABCnews.com. "They saw the potential of where their businesses could go with this boost."
Rancic personally visited each of the final four contestants of a business competition funded by financial services software company Intuit. The winning company will get a highly coveted 30-second Super Bowl ad potentially worth millions of dollars plus enormous exposure in the weeks leading up to the big game.
While one of the companies, GoldieBlox, has already stormed the Internet with its revolutionary games to inspire girls in engineering, Rancic says the first day of the rest of their business lives will truly start for whichever business earns enough votes to get a Super Bowl ad on Feb. 2.
Intuit employees voted and narrowed the competition down to the final four, but now it's in America's hands, he said. Videos on the website for Small Business, Big Game feature the business owners describing why they think they should win. Anyone can vote for one of the four finalists through November and the winner will be announced at the beginning of 2014.
"Take Dairy Poop. This is a company doing $100,000 a year in sales," Rancic says. Based in Nampa, Idaho, and launched in January, the producer of natural compost from dairy cows places poop in compost rows for a few months. It's then processed and bagged to be used to garden plants and yards. The company sold to its first retailer in March.
"If they win this ad, they are going to be able to pick up the phone and call the CEO of ACE Hardware or Home Depot, and say, 'Listen, I'm going to have a 30-second commercial where 60 million people are going to see it' and they are going to get their product on the shelves of these national retailers," Rancic said. "A year from now that's the real story, when one of these businesses is doing $10 million in revenue. The family is going to be taking over the businesses one day and it's going to affect generations to come."
Rancic won't say if his money is on any one of the final four, but he can argue the strengths of each of the companies.
"The Dairy Poop one, I love their slogan: 'Oops, I pooped my plants.' It's pretty funny," he said with a chuckle. "And you have the young woman who created this board game to help girls get into engineering. It's very diverse."
GoldieBlox, a company based out of Oakland, Calif., that makes construction toys for girls, has already distributed a viral commercial that uses Beastie Boys' 1987 hit, "Girls" with new lyrics. The CEO and Stanford engineering graduate Debbie Sterling says only 11 percent of the engineers in the U.S. are women. The company started on Kickstarter. You can read more about GoldieBlox here and see an eye-opening video.
"All the shows are talking about the commercials and to think one of these four, that's going to be a heck of a story come middle of January," Rancic said. "This company, whomever it may be, will get millions of dollars in exposure."
"I personally met with them and they all have their lifesavings on the line and a couple of these guys were out of work," Rancic said.
Of the Dairy Poop founders, who are related, two were unemployed because they had gotten laid off.
"They're just heartwarming stories. It makes you want to root for each and every one of them," he said.
Another contestant, Locally Laid Egg Company, from Duluth, Minn., is a pasture-raised egg company with about 2,500 chickens. With hens all named Lola, the founder feeds his chickens locally-sourced corn on a pasture for healthier chickens.
Barley Labs, based in Durham, N.C., is named after the founding couple's rescue dog, a black lab. They started making dog treats out of their home with grain from a local brewery and turn it into dog treats.
Rancic admiringly describes more of the contestants' "compelling" stories, including the Barley Labs co-founder Teresa Chu quitting her job to start to create treats out of their kitchen.
With three flavors (peanut butter, pumpkin and cheese), the company donates 10 cents from every bag to an animal shelter.
As the first winner of NBC's "The Apprentice," Rancic nine years ago was in a similar position as the co-founders of Barley Labs and the other contestants.
"For me, it's come full circle," he said. "Ten years ago, I got the opportunity of a lifetime when Trump hired me on, got to win that show and work on that project, now I get to do it for someone else."