New Contests and Competitions for Entrepreneurs

Our roundup this week has some great chances for SMBs to win recognition, cash prizes and business services.

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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Dotster’s Business Spotlight Contest
Enter by October 12, 2010

Enter Dotster’s video contest to win $1,000 and business promotion from Dotster. Second and third prizes are $300 and $200 cash, and 10 finalists will receive one year of Web hosting and domain registration. See the Dotster website for entry instructions.


MIT Elevator Pitch Contest
Register by October 18, 2010

The Elevator Pitch Contest is an event where participants deliver a 60-second elevator pitch on a business idea without any materials (handouts, slides, etc.). Entrants will compete for up to $10,000 in prizes, and priceless feedback on the ideas will come from a distinguished panel of experts including other entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. Contestants can enter to compete in one or more of the eligible six tracks: Emerging Markets, Energy, Life Sciences, Mobile, Products and Services, and Web/IT. To learn more or to register, visit


British Airways Face of Opportunity Contest
Enter by October 21, 2010

As part of its Face to Face program, British Airways is holding an entrepreneurial competition, with the chance to win free international airline tickets to help you do business globally. Some 250 small business owners will win international airfare to anywhere British Airways flies. The top three video entrants will have the opportunity to present their pitches to a celebrity panel, and the grand prize winner gets 10 international airline tickets.

To enter, answer this question: “If you could travel to any city outside the United States to grow your business, where would you go and how would the trip help meet your business objectives?” Enter online here.


Great Emerging Franchise Challenge
Enter by October 25, 2010

This challenge is designed to help entrepreneurs who are currently operating a business and have a vision of a wildly successful national franchise. You must explain why your business is right for franchising and meet the following requirements:

1) Own an operating business for at least 12 months (sorry, no startups or “great ideas”)
2) Annual sales must exceed $250,000
3) U.S.-based company in good legal and tax standing
4) If you are currently a franchise owner, you must have fewer than five locations
5) Agree you will not argue with the judges’ decisions, which are final

The winning business will be awarded over $50,000 in services from an all-star team of franchise professionals.


ACCO Brands Everyday Heroes Contest
Enter by October 31, 2010

What is an Everyday Hero? It’s a person who knows how to use his/her office tools to make things run smoothly; a person to whom everyone turns to pull it all together in a crunch; an individual who quietly gets the job done — often without being recognized. Everyday Heroes can enter the contest now at ACCO Brands will award a grand prize of $1,000 redeemable at office product dealers to one winner in each of three categories — business, home/home office and school.


Pitch The Switch Contest
Enter by October 31, 2010

Infusionsoft is holding a contest for customers to answer the question, “Why did you ditch your other systems and switch to Infusionsoft?” Post your answer in a 2-to 4-minute video on YouTube by October 31, 2010, for a chance to win $10,000 and Infusionsoft Basic free for one year. See website for entry details. Additional prizes include an Apple iPad, iPod Touch and HD Flip camera.


Show Us Your Office Contest from Regus
Enter by October 31, 2010

Contestants can enter a photo or video of their current, less-than-ideal workplace, and site viewers will be able to vote for the entry most deserving of a new office. The 10 entries with the most votes will proceed to the final round of judging. One lucky winner will receive a year of fully furnished, fully equipped office space at any of Regus’ more than 400 U.S. locations. Nine runners-up will receive Virtual Office Plus packages from Regus, allowing them to work more productively on the go.


Constant Contact Developer Challenge
Enter by October 31, 2010

Design and submit an app for a chance to win prizes up to $15,000! Looking to attract innovative, functional and original applications to feature in the Constant Contact MarketPlace, Constant Contact is opening the opportunity to outside developers.



The Cleantech Open Ideas Competition
Enter by October 2010

Cleantech Open runs the world’s largest clean technology business competition and is looking for the best clean technology ideas from around the world. Just for sharing your idea, you could win a prize package of services worth $100,000 to help you start a business. Winners of each individual National Competition get to represent their country as Global IDEAS finalists at the annual Cleantech Open Awards Gala on November 16, 2010, in San Francisco.

There, your idea will be presented in a five-minute pitch in front of a crowd of 3,000 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,” and you could win $100,000 in marketing support, legal advising, conferencing services and more to help launch your business. See the site for entry details, and sign up to receive the newsletter to get updates.

1red-horizontal-rule’s 10th Birthday iPad Giveaway
Enter by November 1, 2010

Enter to win one of 10 Apple iPads and enjoy special discounts from partners including Vistaprint, Dell, TelecomRush, Intuit and others.


Breakthrough Innovation Grant Competition (BIG)
Enter by November 5, 2010

BIG is an international competition sponsored by the Fisherman Foundation and the SEVEN Fund, in partnership with MicroVentures Inc.’s Hapinoy Program in the Philippines.

This business concept competition is open to all who aspire to create prosperity and alleviate poverty in the Philippines through new and viable business ideas that can be offered through the Hapinoy sari-sari store network. Proposals must be innovative, resourceful, scalable and fit the particular needs of the Philippines. See website for more details about the program and entry rules. Cash prizes range from US$2,200 for first place to US$500.


Enter by November 12, 2010

CMIT Solutions is accepting entries for its $75,000 office technology makeover. Tell them what makes your IT setup so “scary” and you could win …
• Dell server, laptops/desktops and peripherals
• Microsoft Windows 7 operating system and Office 2010 software
• Desktop/workstation care, backup, e-mail filtering and security services from CMIT Solutions


DREAM BIG Small Business of the Year Award
Enter by January 7, 2011

The DREAM BIG Small Business of the Year Award, sponsored by Sam’s Club, is designed to honor U.S. job creators and recognize their significant contributions as drivers of economic growth. View the eligibility and criteria at the website to learn more and check out the Application Process FAQs for tips on filling out the application.


Launch Lewiston-Auburn Maine Contest
Enter by January 2011

The Lewiston-Auburn Economic Growth Council (LAEGC) and the Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce have launched an entrepreneurial contest that has an ambitious goal of connecting with youth who have roots in the local community, and encouraging them to consider starting a business in Lewiston-Auburn, Maine. The program, called Launch L-A!, features a contest inviting young entrepreneurs to submit a proposal to start a business in L-A.

The winning entrepreneur will receive an equity infusion of $10,000 to $20,000 in seed money, along with a number of in-kind services for a year, including business consulting, accounting services, legal fees, advertising agency services, rent and more — all provided by Chamber members. Runners-up may also receive in-kind services. See website for entry rules.


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. (We do not charge a fee to be included in this listing — it is completely free to submit your award or contest for our review. )

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.