Apply for a contest or award today -- there are good business reasons to do so. \u00a0First, you get recognition and publicity for your business -- and that's just good marketing. \u00a0On top of that, it's good for employees. \u00a0You give your team something to excite them and to rally around. \u00a0Finally, awards are good strategy: being nominated and winning\u00a0can set your business apart from competitors. But remember, YOU must make it happen, by applying for awards. \u00a0Don't be shy -- nominate your company. \u00a0Or nominate a customer or client for an award and show them you care about THEIR success and want to honor them. The list of awards and competitions below is brought to you by Small Business Trends and Smallbiztechnology.com. - * * * * * National Small Business Week Video Contest Enter by May 11, 2012 In celebration of\u00a0National Small Business Week 2012, the U.S. Small Business Administration is looking for creative videos from small businesses that show how they have been assisted by an SBA program or service (counseling, training, guaranteed loans, government contracts, disaster recovery, etc.). The video contest will help showcase small businesses across the country that SBA works with on a regular basis. Winning videos will be shown on May 23, 2012 in a Google+ Hangout with the SBA and the White House. Win FREE Business Cards From MOO Enter by May 12, 2012 If you have a business with 10 or more employees, you are eligible to enter the random drawing for a chance to win $1,000 in free businesses cards, from Moo.com. \u00a0The details are here. \u00a0It runs through May 12, 2012 -- so don't wait. \u00a0 And if you have clients or business partners with 10 or employees in their companies, please let them know about this terrific opportunity. Enter the giveaway here. 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. Small Business Influencer Awards 2012 Enter by July 15, 2012 The 2012 Small Business Influencer Awards are now open for nominations! \u00a0 The Influencer Awards honor companies, organizations, apps and people who have made a meaningful and lasting impact on the North American small business market. Impact may mean (i) providing products widely used by significant numbers of small businesses, or (ii) influencing significant numbers of small businesses by being a thought leader, or (iii) providing information or services of note to significant numbers of small businesses. \u00a0\u00a0Nominate here. 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.