Awards and honors are great for motivation (for you and your employees). \u00a0They also help distinguish your business from competitors. Don't sit back waiting for something to happen. \u00a0YOU must make it happen, by applying for awards. \u00a0Don't be shy -- nominate your company. \u00a0Or nominate a customer or client for an award. The list of awards and competitions below is brought to you by Small Business Trends and Smallbiztechnology.com. Also, if you've entered and won a contest or award listed here, let us know so we can share your news. - * * * * * International Women's Entrepreneurial Challenge Enter by April 23, 2012 IWEC is an initiative for women-owned businesses that is run by individual chambers in various countries. Awardees are chosen by the chambers and, along with chamber executives, they are invited to participate in the annual conference to receive their award and to network and share best practices. Conferences to date have been held in Barcelona, NYC, New Delhi India and Cape Town South Africa. In 2012, the Conference will be held in Barcelona from Oct. 28-31st.Three awardees will be chosen by the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce NY IWEC Committee to represent the NYC/U.S. area in the 2012 IWEC Conference. See website for details and application. 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 Inc.com, 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 \u2014 and to your employees \u2014 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. Entrepreneurial Winning Women Enter by April 30, 2012 The fifth annual Ernst & Young Entrepreneurial Winning Women Program is a national competition and executive leadership program that identifies a select group of high-potential women entrepreneurs whose businesses show real potential to scale \u2014 and then helps them do it.Applications will be reviewed by a panel of independent judges representing successful entrepreneurs, investors and business leaders. The judges will select 10 Entrepreneurial Winning Women by September 7, 2012. See website for criteria and how to apply. 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. American Express OPEN's Victory in Procurement Mentorship Apply by May 1, 2012 Small contractors across the country now have an opportunity to take part in the Victory in Procurement (VIP) mentorship program from American Express OPEN. Participants will be educated on a host of topics, including the GSA schedule, business certifications, teaming arrangements and the importance of networking. The mentorship program consists of 12 hours of one-on-one virtual communications with a government contracting experts Lourdes Martin-Rosa, American Express OPEN Advisor on Government Contracting, and/or Dona Storey, American Express OPEN Advisor on Procurement. To apply, interested business owners will need to fill out the VIP Mentorship Application, and email to VIPMentorship@mbooth.com. 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. Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition Enter by August 8, 2012 The Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition is an annual international business plan competition in Michigan. The event is the world\u2019s largest business plan competition with more than $1 million in prizes. The goals of the competition are to promote Michigan as a venue for innovation and opportunity and stimulate job creation. 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 \u2014 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.