By: Sherzad Rahmatian, Thai Nguyen, Monica Appelbe, Laura Messerschmitt
Forrester Groundswell 2011
Name of entry: Intuit’s Love A Local Business Competition
Name of company entering: Intuit
Few have been affected by the US economic recession of the last several years more than small business owners. The downturn was particularly troubling to Intuit, which has had a pulse on the small business community of America through decades-long relationships with millions of small business owners. But our commitment to small business success reaches beyond providing small business owners with solutions that allow them to start, run and grow their businesses. In response to the troubling times that we saw small businesses face, Intuit launched the Love A Local Business competition, a small business grants competition that allows fans to show their support and “love” for their favorite businesses, and enable them to win several thousand dollar grants.
Structure of the competition
Love a Local Business (LALB) is a socially-enabled competition allowing fans (e.g. customers, vendors, employees, and communities) to vote for a small business deserving of some love – in the form of $25,000 business grants. Each month, Intuit rewards $25,000 to a deserving local business who is picked out of all of the nominations that fans provide. And once a quarter, one of those businesses is rewarded an additional $25,000 for a grand prize of $50,000. Since the start of the competition in 2009, Intuit has rewarded small businesses across the country with over $700K in small business grants.
Love a Local Business goes big in May 2011
In May of 2011, Intuit announced that LALB would “go big” and hand out $1 million dollars to deserving local businesses over the next year. Additionally, a “City-By-City” competition was introduced, where an additional $50,000 is awarded each month to the two cities which see the highest number of unique businesses nominated, each city receiving $25K in small business grants. This announcement came as a response to the massive success of the competition until then, as more and more businesses were able to put their grants to good use. We’ve seen past winners of LALB take their grant money and hire new employees, expand their business, put more money into marketing efforts, and have even seen a number of business owners express their gratitude as their grant money has enabled them to keep the business afloat through the recession.
Investing in the success of local economies to refuel America’s economic growth
According to a recent info graphic published on Intuit’s Small Business Blog, supporting local businesses essentially means supporting small businesses. From an economic perspective, studies have shown that when money is spent at a local business, a significantly higher percentage of that money remains in the community itself, versus the same amount spent at a chain store. Furthermore, an article in Time suggests that “buying local enhances the ‘velocity’ of money, or circulation speed, in the area. The idea is that if currency circulates more quickly, the money passes through more hands—and more people have had the benefit of the money and what it has purchased for them.” These philosophies have guided Intuit to expand the competition by pledging even more grants to small businesses around the country, a testament to our investment in economic growth via small business success.