Neat! Small Business Awards and Contests

Are you ready to win an honor for your company?  Make your employees proud?  One of the best ways to instill pride and set your business apart in customer minds is to display the awards you have won.

But you can’t win an award by sitting by passively.  You have to get out there and apply for awards and enter competitions.  They probably won’t happen out of the blue.

Check out the awards and competitions below, brought to you by Small Business Trends and

Also, if you’ve entered and won a contest or award listed here, let us know so we can share your news.

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.Biz 10th Anniversary Contest
Enter by March 31, 2012

Today, there are more than 2.2 million .biz domain registrations and Neustar is taking part in celebrating SMBs that dared to stand out in a crowd.

Businesses can visit and share how they used .biz to increase the reach of their brand image. Once SMBs have shared their stories, visitors will cast their votes. Winners will receive awards and a Best of .Biz seal to recognize their website.


2012 SCORE Awards
Enter by March 31, 2012

The 2012 SCORE Award categories include Outstanding Veteran-Owned Small Business, Outstanding Minority-Owned Small Business and Outstanding Green Small Business. The SCORE Awards gala will be held in August and will honor successful and innovative entrepreneurs and the small business advocates who support entrepreneurship in America. See website for nomination FAQs and entry details.


BizSugar Small Business Coaching Tips #Contest
Enter by April 5, 2012

The folks at BizSugar would like to hear your coaching tips. What tips or advice can you provide to other small business owners that will enable them to successfully coach new employees, existing employees or potential employees or business associates in a positive and effective manner?

And then ask yourself this question, “How Coachable Am I?” How do you receive feedback and coaching? Are you open to it? What techniques do you respond to? Taking a look at how you receive it may enable you to better deliver it.

Post your coaching tip (and your Twitter username) by the end of day on April 5, 2012, in the comments section on the blog for a chance to win a $100 gift certificate to Amazon.


GrowAmerica Springboard Competition
Enter by April 6, 2012

Grow America Springboard events allow entrepreneurs to compete for cash awards and business services to help them create new jobs and lift local economies. Grow America will provide $1,000,000 in cash awards and resources over the course of three events in 2012 and a Utah state championship in January 2013. See website for details and entry rules.


One Woman, One Franchise- #OWOF
OWOF -Franchise contestEnter by April 6, 2012

The One Woman One Franchise contest (#OWOF on Twitter) is for a woman who is interested in purchasing a franchise, but is looking for guidance and support. One winner will receive franchise ownership advice from Joel Libava, the Franchise King, as well as a package of services to get you up and running with a franchise — including incorporation filing from Corpnet, a press release, a 6-month subscription to LivePlan, a franchise disclosure agreement review consultation by attorney Rush Nigut, online consulting from Matt About Business, and free books by Nicole Fende and Carol Roth. to qualify, you fill out the contest form here indicating in 200 words or less why you want to become a franchise owner.


Leading Moms in Business Competition
Enter by April 16, 2012

Everybody knows one. Like a super hero, she balances running a family with the heroics of running her own business. We’re talking about moms in business, of course. And now, StartupNation is conducting its third annual ranking of these astonishing entrepreneurs and the businesses they run.

Over the next few months, it’ll be your daily votes that determine the top 200 Leading Moms in Business. In addition the judges will determine special awards and accolades for moms within the top 200 who deserve special recognition.


Inc 500/5000
Enter by April 30, 2012

There are nearly 7 million private, employee-based firms in America. Only the very best are awarded the distinction of being named to the Inc.500 | 5000, the gold standard of entrepreneurial success. You’ll be listed with other leading companies at, and your company may be featured in the September 2012 issue.

If you are proud of your company’s growth over the past three years, you owe it to yourself — and to your employees — to apply for the Inc.500 | 5000.


BBB Small Business Customer Service Makeover Contest
Enter by April 30, 2012

The contest is open to small businesses headquartered in Eastern Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island or Vermont. The winning business will receive exposure of their business, improved business practices and professional advice. The contest is free to enter and will provide a learning experience for business owner(s) and employees. BBB will provide up to $5,000 in support and material funds. See website for rules and entry details.


Downtown Ithaca’s Race for the Space
Enter by May 1, 2012

Are you an existing or aspiring retailer or entrepreneur? The winner of Race for the Space will win free rent for one year in a prime retail or office space, a one year advertising package in the Ithaca Times, design services for storefront layout and signage and more. The package is worth over $40,000. See website for details and entry rules.


2012 Lanza Enterprise Awards Program (LEAP)
Enter by May 3, 2012

Informational Teleconference April 5, 2012: (712) 451-6175, PIN-1095742#

WEDC is once again offering the Lanza Enterprise Awards Program (LEAP) to help women entrepreneurs boost their businesses to the next level. Five $5,000 equity awards will be presented to WEDC 15-Week Program graduates or participants who have completed comprehensive business plans and who meet the award criteria.

This program is a collaboration among the Lanza Family Foundation, the Women’s Research and Education Fund (WREF) and the Women’s Enterprise Development Center (WEDC). It is designed to help women who are owners of microenterprises (businesses with five or fewer employees) achieve greater business success.


The New York Enterprise Report 2012 Small Business Awards
Enter by May 21, 2012

The New York Enterprise Report Small Business Awards is the annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of the 500,000+ small businesses throughout the tri-state area. The Small Business Awards will recognize 5 small businesses for their best practices and 3 businesses under the “Best of the Year Awards” categories.

A panel of experts in the related fields will judge all award packages. Awards will be presented to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages, revenue profits and/or long-term value. Please note the criteria and requirements listed on the awards website.


The New York Times Make Your Pitch Contest
Enter by August 29, 2012

Submit your pitch on video, telling about your product or service, your marketing plans, your customer base. Tell what makes your business different — why it is one to watch? Do you need capital? If so, how much and what for? Most important, how are you going to make money?

All video pitches that meet the submission guidelines will be featured on The New York Times small-business Facebook page and selected pitches will be featured on the New York Times You’re the Boss Blog.


To find more small business events, contests and awards, visit our Small Business Events Calendar.
If you are putting on a small business contest, award or competition, and want to get the word out to the community, please submit it through our Small Business Event and Contests Form (it’s free).

Please note: The descriptions provided here are for convenience only and are NOT the official rules. ALWAYS read official rules carefully at the site holding the competition, contest or award.


Laura Leites Laura Leites plans and manages events for clients through her company, L2 Event Production. Laura's projects include the Small Business Influencer Awards, The Small Business Summit, and many of SmallBizTechnology's live and virtual events, including the five-city Small Business Technology Tour.

8 Reactions
  1. Great way to get employees involved!

  2. Thanks Laura. I entered one of them just now and may try some others. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Martin Lindeskog

    Laura: Do you have a list of international small business awards and contests?

  4. Laura,

    First of all thanks for such a fantastic update on different awards available to honor different organizations for their nicheness.

    We are a very reputed training vendor in india providing excellent consulting and growth oriented trainings which caters both fresher and working professional segment. We are there in this industry from the last 15 years but with minimal recognition (atleast electronically). Want to pitch in and try globalizing our company by applying for few awards which is entrained by different agency in education sector. Can you help me in finding a right agency or award category that would ease our current process. Looking for a favorable reply.


    Muddassir Shariff

  5. There are 3 simple ways to differentiate your business to attract today’s buyers and winning awards is just one. Saying your great and your product will change a prospects world is easy…having someone else validate your claims is the best antidote to an unconnected buyer. There are three different types of third-party validation that are the most effective: customer testimonials including case studies, external analyst assessments and awards and recognition. Awards are a great tool to help buyers feel good about your product and company. Lets face it, as consumers we prefer to buy the best product from the best company…not the team that finished second or didn’t even place.

  6. Winning an award is definitely a great way to separate your company from competitors. A recognition of your business by an independent entity is the best way to attract customers.

  7. Even if there is no financial gain, just being recognized as being good at something keeps you motivated. It is very good for your self esteem to win something based on your skill or talent.