Fresh List of Small Business Awards and Contests

This list of contests, competitions and awards for small businesses is brought to you every other week as a community service by Small Business Trends and

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Verisign Small Business Contest
Deadline extended to May 31, 2011

Verisign is hosting an international contest for small businesses to compete for a chance to win $25,000 (USD). The contest asks small businesses to address the question, “Where will .com or .net take your business?” Entrants can visit or to submit photos and essays addressing the contest theme.


Idea Cafe Small Business Grant
Enter by June 12, 2011

Idea Cafe, The Small Business Gathering Place, is giving entrepreneurs the chance to win a cash grant and gain media exposure for their business. The Idea Cafe’s 11th Grant will award $1,000 in cash and $1,500 in advertising credits to the most inspirational small business owners, who are willing to turn their business dreams into reality.


e-Cycle iPad2 Giveaway Contest
Enter by May 31, 2011

To celebrate, e-Cycle has declared April “National Recycle Your Cell Phone Month” to help raise awareness for the growing e-waste problem with mobile devices, and as a reminder for organizations to implement responsible mobile phone recycling programs. As an incentive, e-Cycle is offering businesses and organizations a chance to win one of four Apple iPad2 tablets when they recycle and/or sell their used wireless devices with the company through May 31.


National Association for Moms in Business Grant Competition
Enter starting March 1st, Competition runs May 1 – June 15, 2011

Business grant competition via crowdfunding to give mom entrepreneurs a better chance at launching a new or current business project. All participants win a half-page feature in Moms In Business Magazine, publicity on and, and a $2,000 publicity toolkit from PRNewswire. When the crowdfunding competition ends, all grant applicants who raised 80 percent or more of their funding goal will become semi-finalists. A team of mom executives and entrepreneurs will judge each application to determine the $10,000 Grand Prize Grant Package winner. Competitors must be a member of NAFMIB.


Entrepreneur of 2011 Awards
Enter by June 15, 2011

If you’re making an impact–on your industry, for your employees and in your community–this is your award to win. Past winners have rocked our world with radical headgear, taken us back to basics with healthy snack ideas, and made innovative contributions to the sustainability movement. Now it’s your turn. Tell Entrepreneur Magazine how you’re making a difference with your business and you could be the Entrepreneur of 2011.


Visa GoBiz Elevator Pitch Contest
Enter by June 20, 2011 (Canada only)

Get your elevator pitch ready. If you’re selected as a finalist, you’ll only have 49 stories (as in an elevator ride) to convince Matthew Corrin and our judges to award you with $10,000 to help grow your small business. Enter your pitch via online form here.


Quest Fore Sweepstakes
Enter by June 30, 2011

For its 35th anniversary, marketing communications firm Quest Fore is holding a sweepstakes to give away $15,000 in marketing services. The $15,000 in free marketing services can be used for anything from research, strategic planning and advertising by Quest Fore to interactive services provided by Quest Fox Interactive.


The Jimdo Video Contest
Enter by June 30, 2011

It’s much easier to show people how to do things with a video. Has anyone ever helped you out with your JimdoPage? You can give back to the Jimdo community – by making a “how to” Jimdo video of your own. Show off your Jimdo skills to the world, help other users get their sites off the ground, and add to the community in one fell swoop. Prizes including an Apple MacBook Pro, Aipteck camcorder and more and will be awarded to the best videos.


Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneurial Winning Women Competition
Enter by June 30, 2011

Ten winners will be paired with advisers and resources for growing their businesses and they’ll get to participate in a customized executive-leadership program. In addition, winners will receive an all-expenses paid trip to the Ernst & Young Strategic Growth Forum 2011 in Palm Springs, California, in November.

The contest is being run in collaboration with the Women Presidents’ Organization, Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, the Committee of 200, National Association of Women Business Owners and Babson College.


HP Smart Color Sweepstakes
Enter by July 13, 2011

HP is giving away an HP Printer each day until July 13th, and one grand prize winner will win $10,000. Answer the question “What would your business do with $10,000?”
See website for entry details.


Small Business Influencers Awards
Enter by July 8, 2011

Produced by Small Business Trends and and brought to you by Blackberry, the Small Business Influencers 2011 honors companies, organizations and people who have made a significant impact on the North American small business market. In phase I, you nominate influencers. In Phases 2 and 3, you and an all-star judging panel will vote for the top 100. It all culminates with honoring the Top 100 Small Business Influencers in mid-August 2011, with an awards event in New York City on September 13, 2011.


pbSmart Connections Small Business Makeover Contest
Enter by July 19, 2011

Pitney Bowes wants to give your business a communications makeover. This national contest was designed to help small businesses improve customer communications to better position themselves for growth. Five Grand Prize winners will receive a customer communications plan makeover, valued at $10,000. The Grand Prize winners will receive a full-day consultation and planning session with renowned small business experts. Together with a team of Pitney Bowes communication specialists, the experts will assess each Grand Prize winner’s existing communications and provide custom coaching to develop a program that suits their unique needs. They will also receive one year of free access to the pbSmart suite of customer communications tools, including pbSmartPostage™, cloud-based postage for shipping and mailing, and pbSmart™ Connections for email marketing. In addition, 20 First Prize winners will receive one year of free access to the pbSmart suite of products, valued at $2,500, and have their businesses featured as part of the pbSmart™ Essentials online community.


10th Annual Chicago Innovation Awards
Enter by July 31, 2011

To be eligible for a Chicago Innovation Award, the product, service, or company nominated must be:

  • Introduced within the past three years, and
  • Headquartered in the greater Chicago region, including the northern half of Illinois, southern Wisconsin, and northwest Indiana.

Through many events occurring throughout the year, the Chicago Innovation Awards not only recognize nominees and winners, but also provide valuable business networking and development opportunities, learning experiences through mentoring, scholarships, panel discussions, and education courses in innovation.


The Conway Center for Family Business Awards
Enter by August 4, 2011

The Conway Center for Family Business Awards Program was established in 1998 to recognize excellence in family business and has honored more than 115 Central Ohio family businesses.

The program honors recipients in categories consistent with the success and longevity of a family business: leadership, planning, communication, support and community service. For more details, see the website.


Avaya Small Business Innovators Contest
Enter by August 30, 2011

Do you have an idea that will change the way your business serves your customers? Innovation is the engine that makes every business more productive and helps it to grow. To enter Avaya’s Small Business Innovators contest, fill out their ROI tool and send them the results. Include how you would spend the savings over the next five years to innovate new ways to serve your customers, staff and suppliers. Grand prize of $50,000 worth of IP Office equipment and software and $5,000 cash. Five runner up prizes of $10,000 worth of IP Office equipment and software.


Cleantech Open Idea Competition
Enter by September 12, 2011

The Cleantech Open runs the world’s largest clean technology business competition and they’re looking for the best clean technology ideas from around the world.

Enter to win a prize package of services worth $100,000 to help you start a business to grow your idea. If your idea beats out the competition in the National Competition, you get to represent your country as a Global Ideas finalist at the annual Cleantech Open Awards Gala on November 17, 2010 in San Francisco. There, your idea will be presented in a five-minute pitch in front of a crowd of 2,500 investors, entrepreneurs, sponsoring companies, corporations, members of academia, press, and others interested in hearing your ideas and getting involved. The crowd will vote via text message for the “People’s Choice” winner.


To find more small business events, contests and awards, visit our Small Business Events Calendar. In addition, we also have a giveaways page; click to learn more about our small business giveaways section.

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.

9 Reactions
  1. Carl Coddington

    Thanks for the list.

    Do you mind if I link to it in my blog?

  2. Thank you for the nice list of business awards and contests. Searching for all these would take quite some time normally. It is nice to have someone list a guide like this.

  3. Laura,

    I know a couple people following your lists regularly who find them very helpful – thanks!

  4. Will this page be updated with 2011-2012 contests? Really valuable stuff.