Contests, Awards and Competitions for 2011

This list of contests, competitions and awards is brought to you every other week by Small Business Trends and


love_a_local_business.pngLove a Local Business Hiring Grant Competition
Enter through December 2010
Enter by submitting a few sentences about why you love serving your customers and community. Each month between October and December 2010, winners of a $25,000 Intuit Hiring Grant will be chosen by popular vote on Judges will review the three monthly winners and choose a grand prize winner of an Intuit Hiring Grant worth $50,000.

battleoftheblogs.JPGSoftCity Battle of the Blogs
Enter by December 31, 2010

The Battle of the Blogs is a contest designed to discover expert blogs for each one of the categories on SoftCity.
SMB Bloggers looking to get some Internet recognition can nominate themselves for the Battle of the Blogs
– SoftCity provides a free banner and will help via social media channels to promote each nomination
– Best blogger (blogs) in each of the 6 categories wins an iPad, online recognition badge for their site, plus a targeted audience of new potential users, followers
Additionally – any user on the site collects SoftDollars (like a virtual currency that is discounts for software). For this month, users can donate their SoftDollars to 3 selected charities, see link for more info:
dreambig.jpgDream Big Small Business 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. The 2011 application will become available starting Tuesday, September 21, 2010. View the eligibility and criteria to learn more and check out the Application Process FAQs for tips on filling out the application.
tscw2011logo.gifTop Small Company Workplaces Award
Enter by January 14, 2011

Winning Workplaces and Inc. Magazine are seeking compelling examples of successful organizations with outstanding work cultures for our 2011 Top Small Company Workplaces (TSCW) competition. Winning Workplaces and Inc. Magazine are seeking compelling examples of successful organizations with outstanding work cultures for our 2011 Top Small Company Workplaces (TSCW) competition.
Thumbnail image for intuit.jpgIntuit Collaboratory Challenges
Multiple competitions and entry deadlines

Intuit is running two challenges that award cash prizes for the winning solutions.
Making it easy for consumers to get receipts online
Enter by January 14, 2011

Intuit has a solution called QuickReceipts that enables consumers to get receipts online automatically. It currently requires retailer integration, and they looking for other ways to automatically get receipts online (both paper and electronic receipts). How might consumers be enabled to have their receipts accessible online with as little effort as possible?
If a winning idea is selected, the winner will receive $5,000 and potentially a follow-up meeting with Intuit product management executives.
Collection and organization of data by accountants
Enter by February 15, 2011

Submit a solution that will maximize the number of inputs accountants receive upfront, simplify subsequent interactions and data collection, and keep all inputs for a given client engagement neatly organized so accountants can provide the best client service most efficiently.
If a winning idea is selected, the winner will receive $10,000 and potentially a follow-up meeting with Intuit product management executives.
coolcalifornia.JPGCoolCalifornia Small Business Award
Enter by January 24, 2011

The annual CoolCalifornia Small Business Award Program is administered by the California Air Resources Board. The program recognizes small California businesses (under 100 employees) that have demonstrated exceptional leadership and taken action to reduce their energy bills and greenhouse gas emissions and made notable, voluntary achievements towards reducing their climate impact. We’re planning the awards ceremony and reception for early May 2011 in Sacramento.
Thumbnail image for washingtonbj.JPGMinority Business Leader Nomination 2011
Enter by January 28, 2011

This program recognizes the Washington region’s top 25 minority business leaders based on demonstrated business success over the past 12 to 18 months.
The Washington Business Journal will recognize the Minority Business Leaders at a luncheon in March 2011. All honorees will also be profiled in the Washington Business Journal.
Eligible minority groups include: American Indian, Native of Alaska, Hawaii or Pacific Islands, Asian, African-American, Hispanic or Latino. Nominations will be judged based on professional accomplishments, community leadership, as well as awards and milestones.
fintech_innovationlab.JPGFin Tech Innovation Lab
Enter by January 31, 2010

Entrepreneurs developing mobile, data management and data analytics, security, social media and other tools can apply for a spot in the FinTech Innovation Lab, expected to open in May 2011. Six companies will each get $25,000, which will convert into their next round of equity financing. They’ll also receive workspace, access to users within financial services firms to test their products and mentoring.
launchmaine.JPGLaunch 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.
chicagosbdc.JPGThe CITI Foundation Business Plan Contest
Enter by February 1, 2011
For Start-up and Existing Businesses-Put your ideas on paper to find out if you have a viable business and compete to win cash prizes. Eligible candidates must attend at least one of the following workshops by February 1, 2011: How to Write a Business Plan; Understanding Your Small Business Financial Report Card; or Boot Camp – CORE Four Business Planning Course.
All registration forms and business plans must be received by February 1, 2011. Please review the checklist on the website for all required information. Or call (312) 673-3462 or e-mail
New England Innovation Awards
Enter by February 28, 2011

This award recognizes the intrinsic value that innovation possesses in driving the New England economy.SBANE utilizes its highly competitive Innovation awards program to showcase technology-driven enterprises who are potentially “game changers” in their marketplace niche. Application here.
RIbusblan2011.gifRhode Island Business Plan Competition 2011
Enter by April 4. 2011
The Rhode Island Business Plan Competition, open to everyone, seeks to promote entrepreneurship and development of start-up and early stage companies. Winners and finalists in the 2010 Competition shared more than $195,000 in prizes.
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 Form (We do not charge a fee to be included in this listing — it is completely free to list your award or contest.)
To find other small business awards, contests, competitions and grants, visit our Small Business Events Calendar.
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, Managing Editor,
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About Laura Leites

Laura plans and manages Smallbiztechnology's live and virtual events, including the five-city Small Business Technology Tour, now in its third year. She also produces events for clients through her event planning company, L2 Event Production. Her popular roundups of events and competitions for small businesses is published weekly on and Small Business Trends.