As the tight lending market persists in hindering small business growth, some well-known companies are on a mission to inspire entrepreneurs and small businesses across the country to greatness. (We presume you’re already well acquainted with Intuit’s own Love a Local Business, right?)
Here are six additional contests underway right now that offer substantial cash prizes, provided you write a convincing essay as to why the money should go to you. So get out your pen and paper, and get busy writing.
1) American Express – A new contest sponsored by American Express’s Small Business Division, OPEN, is running a Big Break for Small Business contest, with a chance for five business owners to win $20,000 each and a two-day trip to Facebook’s Palo Alto headquarters to learn how to grow a business with social media. Ten finalists also receive $2,500 in Facebook advertising credit. To snag the winnings, all you have to do is submit a photo and answer these three questions on Facebook:
- Tell us about your business. What makes you excited to come to work every day?
- How do you envision Facebook impacting your business?
- How could a Big Break help your business and your customers?
Hurry, the deadline for submissions is May 20, 2011.
2) Verisign – Can you answer the question: “Where will .com or .net take your business?” If so, and if you have the most interesting essay, you could win $25,000 to help grow your businesses’ online presence. Verisign shares some hints on the perfect pitch here. The contest website accepts both written essays and videos. Contest deadline is May 31, 2011.
3) PostNet – One grand prize small business owner winner of the Boost to Biz contest receives a $10,000 cash grant plus $5,000 in creative design services, which includes design, copying, printing, and shipping at their neighborhood PostNet shop. To enter, you must describe your business and what you’d do with the money. Submission deadline is June 8, 2011.
4) Entrepreneur Magazine/The UPS Store – The UPS Store in conjunction with Entrepreneur magazine is at it again for the fourth consecutive year asking small business owners to share how their business makes a difference in impacted industries and communities. Entrepreneurial-minded college students can also pitch their business ideas for a chance at $5,000. Deadline for submission is June 15, 2011.
5) Microsoft – Five Ready to Work contest winners each stand to win $50,000 plus cloud-based Office 365 software for a year. The winner also receives a one-day consulting visit from a Microsoft executive. To enter, business owners must describe on Facebook why they’re inspired to work, and how Office 365 software can help them succeed in their goals. To qualify, your business must have one to 50 full-time employees. Submission deadline is June 18, 2011.
6) Volusion – Volusion wants to reward moms who run a business. One super mompreneur receives $4,000 in Volusion design services, an iPad2, and a $250 spa gift certificate. Three runners-up win a $1,100 Volusion social media design bundle and a $50 gift card. Moms need to tell Volusion why they’re a supermompreneur. Deadline for submissions is June 30, 2011.