The “Just Start” campaign consists of several exciting parts: a way for you to tell your entrepreneurial story or dream online; a contest; a traveling exhibit visiting four major cities; and even free accounting software.
Haven’t started that business yet? No worries. You can participate whether you have already started a business — or are just dreaming of starting a business.
Tell Your Startup Story
Intuit launched the IWillJustStart.com website. At the site you can submit your startup story, either in a short video or in text.
One of the best features of the site is that the startup stories are right there on it. You can see the startup stories of other entrepreneurs or would-be entrepreneurs in a slow-scrolling display. You just roll your mouse over the little squares and click to see other stories. It’s interesting, inspiring and instructive to boot.
There’s also a traveling road show. Next week a truck will start in Seattle, and travel to Chicago, New York and Boston. Each city will have a big display where you can go to get free business resources and advice. I understand the truck will set up in commuter hubs in each city — for instance, Grand Central terminal is the stop in New York.
As part of the launch of the Just Start campaign, Intuit has made its QuickBooks Simple Start accounting software completely free. Simple Start is for first-time QuickBooks users and currently has over 300,000 users. A stripped down version of Simple Start had been available for free before, but now Intuit is making the full QuickBooks Simple Start 2008 product 100% free (until last week you had to pay $99.95 for this version). You can download it at the Just Start website.
Last but certainly not least in the Just Start campaign is the contest, which runs through December 15, 2007. By submitting your startup story to the website, you will be entered in the contest for a chance to win a $50,000 startup grant ($40,000 cash and $10,000 in products and services).
If I could offer one suggestion to you, it’s this: read the contest rules. They are more than boilerplate. They tell you the judging criteria and lots of other helpful information. Enter at IWillJustStart.com.