Have you noticed how popular contests and competitions for business owners and entrepreneurs seem to have become? Some of the contests offer impressive monetary prizes. In addition to cash, the contests may also offer valuable services and perks, including business coaching or mentoring, as well as national PR and increased visibility for your business.
Business contests can be a way to get needed startup or expansion funding for your business. One way to think of a contest is as the equivalent of a private grant that you apply for. The best part is, unlike with a loan or credit cards, you don’t have to repay the money.
Let me point you to three small business contests going on right now:
- Intuit’s “Just Start” Startup Story Contest — Offers a $50,000 grand prize (a grant of cash and services) and two $5,000 prizes. Deadline is December 15, 2007. For this contest you tell your story of the business you started or plan to start. (Note: I am serving as one of three judges.)
- ATG’s e-Commerce Ingenuity Business Plan Competition — ATG is offering a $50,000 prize for a business plan competition, of which e-commerce must be a business-critical component. There is also a $10,000 second “people’s choice” prize. Deadline is January 30, 2008.
- Advanta’s Ideablob Monthly Business Idea Contest — Advanta is running monthly contests on its Ideablob site, of $10,000 each month. You submit your business idea. See the site for monthly deadlines.
With any contest, always read the official rules for eligibility and conditions.
If you are running a contest and want to see coverage of it here, leave a comment below with details on where to find it. Or send me an email — contact info here.