Need Funding? Try These Contests and Awards

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

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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We Media PitchIt! Conference & Challenge
Enter by March 13, 2012

By registering for We Media PitchIt! you get to show off your project and talk about it with influential people who can give you feedback, advice, support and, even, money. You can sign up a spot on the Demo Program or have a voice in feedback loop with other projects. PitchIt! will award $50,000 to help launch two digital media startups. Pitch your ideas. Or vote online to select the Community Choice winners.


Staples Give Your Small Business the Push it Needs Contest
Enter by March 14, 2012

Staples has launched its “Give Your Small Business the Push It Needs” contest, which will offer five small businesses up to $50,000 in free television advertising in their home market.
Small businesses can enter the contest by submitting a 15-second video about their company on by March 14. Five winners will be chosen to receive 15 seconds of advertising in a 30-second Staples television ad to run in their local market. Winners can have $50,000 in advertising or $40,000 in advertising and $10,000 in cash.


.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.


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.


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.