Small Business Contests – A Guide

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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BlackBerry SmartBuilder Contest
Enter by May 15, 2011

Enter today for your chance to WIN $10,000. Identify the unique needs of your business and determine the most impactful and profitable way to spend your $10,000. Perhaps its office equipment? Maybe advertising? Possibly market research? What would you choose?


Forbes List of America’s Most Promising Companies
Entries currently open

Forbes wants to shine a light on high-growth, privately held companies with brilliant prospects. Forbes — with help from CB Insights’ Beacon software — has developed a methodology for picking promising companies. The best will appear on Forbes’ second annual list of America’s Most Promising Companies. See website for entry survey.


Facebook Big Break for Small Business
Enter by May 20, 2011

American Express OPEN is giving five small business owners the ultimate Big Break. You could win a trip to Facebook headquarters for a two-day, one-on-one business makeover and $20,ooo to help grow your business.

To enter the Facebook Big Break for Small Business from American Express OPEN, small business owners need to visit and submit answers to a short questionnaire describing how they would utilize the competition’s winnings to better their business.


2011 Small Business Awards
Enter by May 20, 2011

In its 6th year, The New York Enterprise Report Small Business Awards honors the achievements and accomplishments of the 500,000+ small businesses throughout the tri-state New York area. In addition to the Best of the Year Categories, the New York Enterprise Report Small Business Awards will honor nine small businesses for their accomplishments and best practices.


Verizon Contest Seeks Hardest Working Mompreneur
Enter by May 22, 2011

In recognition of Mother’s Day on May 8, Verizon is holding a contest to discover the Hardest Working Small Biz Mom. The contest, which launched on April 29 and runs through May 22, is open to mothers across America who run their own businesses and are Verizon or Verizon Wireless customers.

The grand-prize winner will receive $5,000 and a year of free cleaning services valued at $2,400. Verizon will also select a second-prize winner, who will receive a free iPad and $1,000 prepaid gift card, and a third-prize winner, who will receive a $500 prepaid gift card. Verizon has produced two short videos announcing the contest, and another instructional video about how contestants can upload their own videos for entry. For more information and contest rules, visit


Build It Big
Enter by May 23, 2011

Build It Big ClevelandThis is a new business development program by Springboard Enterprises, especially for Ohio-based, women-led companies seeking success strategies to help grow their businesses. The program is looking for companies that meet the following requirements:

  • A woman in a key management position w/ significant equity ownership
  • A qualified and profitable market opportunity w/competitive advantage
  • A track record of milestone achievement, which may include: product development, distribution or licensing contracts, grants, beta clients, customers, revenue, etc.
  • A favorable debt-to-equity ratio
  • A credible core management team or ability to attract one
  • An interest in and ability to grow the company beyond its current position
The applicants that are chosen to be part of the program will have:
  • Access to trusted advisors from Thompson Hine LLP, KeyBank, and Meaden & Moore in one-on-one advisory sessions to discuss appropriate strategies for growing their business
  • Ongoing support from the Springboard network of industry experts, investors, and seasoned entrepreneurs


Ultimate Business Contest: Win A Free Website
Enter by May 24, 2011

Virtuosi Media is giving away over $21,000 in prizes, with the Grand Prize package featuring a free business website valued up to $10,000 and other prizes from sponsors, all designed to boost your business’ success online. See website for prize and entry details.


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% 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.


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, Calif., 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.


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 during its first 11 years.

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.


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 your 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.