Awards, Contests and Competitions for Growing Companies

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


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.

hopkinsville_chamber.jpgHopkinsville-Christian County Small Business Awards
Enter by January 28, 2011

The Hopkinsville-Christian County Chamber of Commerce is seeking nominations for small business awards that will be presented at a breakfast meeting Feb. 15 at the James E. Bruce Convention Center. Awards are presented in 12 categories, including retail, service and distribution categories. Nomination forms are available at the chamber office or at the chamber’s website.
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
logo2011_lowres.jpgSmall Business Strategy Award at Small Business Summit 2011
Enter by February 1, 2011

Has your business set milestones and thrived in spite of the severe economic downturn or some other big challenge in your business? The Small Business Summit is looking to honor one business with the Second Annual Small Business Strategy Award 2011.
This award, given live at the Small Business Summit in NYC on March 8th, will recognize entrepreneurial strategic excellence that has led to significant increased profits. See submission form for entry details.
Thumbnail image for logo2011_lowres.jpgHot Technology For Growing Businesses at Small Business Summit 2011
Enter by February 8, 2011

If you have a tech product that is stunningly hot and awesome, enter to have it demonstrated in front of a live audience of hundreds at the Sixth Annual Small Business Summit 2011 on March 8, 2011 in NYC.
The winning demos will also be video taped and made available to a much larger audience online. 2010 Hot Tech Demo winners included Broadlook Technologies, Lexmark, ReTargeter, SugarSync, EZ Texting, Pixability and Slide Rocket. See submission form for details.
cobbchamber.gifCobb Chamber Small Business of the Year 2011
Enter by February 11, 2011

Applications are being accepted for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Top 25 Small Businesses of the Year. Nominees must be for-profit businesses that are Cobb Chamber members. Nominations will be accepted until Feb. 11. The 2011 Small Business of the Year will be selected from the top 25 businesses, and that business will participate in the state’s Small Business of the Year competition.
coolcalifornia.JPGCoolCalifornia Small Business Award
NOTE: Entry deadline extended to February 11, 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 intuit.jpgIntuit Collaboratory Challenges
Enter by February 15, 2011

Collection and organization of data by accountants
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.
memphis_awards.jpg31st Annual Small Business Awards
Enter by February 23, 2011

The Memphis Business Journal is now accepting nominations for the 31st Annual Small Business Awards. Past winners of Memphis Business Journal’s Small Business Awards have run the gamut from a hub cap retailer to a distributor of office and janitorial supplies.
Thumbnail image for sbalogo.jpgSmall Business Teaming Pilot Program
Apply by February 25, 2011

SBA offers information on small business loans, grants, bonds and other financial assistance, but does not make loans directly. And now, SBA is accepting grant-funding proposals from qualified and well-established national organizations that are interested in providing training, guidance, counseling, mentoring and procurement assistance for small businesses in “teaming arrangements.” Established by Congress under the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, SBA’s new “Small Business Teaming Pilot” program allows “teams” in the form of a joint venture, or prime and subcontractor relationship.
SBA said they expect to make 10 to 20 grant awards in the range of $250,000 to $500,000, totaling up to $5,000,000 for fiscal year 2011.
ofmnewyearnewofficehiresFINAL.jpgNew Year, New Office Contest
Enter by February 28, 2011

Contestants who own or work at a small business registered in the United States with fifty employees or less can enter to win a new OFM office chair, desk, and storage unit by submitting a photo of their current office and a brief description of why they deserve a makeover. To enter, contestants must email newyear@ofminc.comwith a photo in JPEG format of their current office space and a brief paragraph explaining why they deserve to win. Then they must follow OFM on Facebook at Qualifying photos will then be posted on OFM’s Facebook page where contestants can encourage their friends, family, and coworkers to “like” their photo.
constantcontact_chicago.JPG2011 Small Business Online Marketing Contest
Enter by February 28, 2011

The Chicago Treasurer’s Office is partnering with Constant Contact to offer over $10,000 in cash and prizes to businesses submitting the top 2 winning entries for best promotional practices in two categories: Best Business Email Marketing and Best Overall Use of Social Media.
See website for contest details.
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.
nec_contest.JPGNEC’s $25,000 Technology Makeover
Enter by February 28, 2011

NEC wants to see how badly your small-to-medium business conference room needs a technology upgrade! Just fill out the registration form and submit a video of your business in need! NEC will choose 5 businesses, and then the voting is up to you! Public voting will begin in March 2011.
The winner will be announced April 4,2011. And if you win, you get a choice of $25,000 in NEC products to outfit your office. 2nd – 5th place winners will win a E321, 32″ NEC LCD for your office!
naperville_awards.jpgSmall Business of the Year Awards
Enter by March 1, 2011

The Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year Awards is the business community’s way of recognizing the outstanding work of your peers. The Awards process is of, for and by the Members. Members nominate one-another, a blue ribbon panel of previous winners select the best, and all nominees are congratulated and recognized at the celebration in May attended by over 350 peers. See website for entry criteria.
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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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.

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