New Contests and Awards for Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs

Welcome to the latest list of contests, competitions and awards – brought to you every other week by Small Business Trends and


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.

albany-chamber.JPGAlbany-Colonie Chamber Small Business Awards
Enter by February 25, 2011

The Chamber is seeking nominations for small businesses with fewer than 100 employees in three categories:
Small Business of the Year Award: A small business that has exceeded even their own expectations, experiencing business growth and employment growth while employing sound business practices and community involvement?
Ingenuity Award of Excellence: A cutting-edge company that has come up with a unique approach, product, or service to business that has resulted in a strategic advantage in the marketplace?
Micro-enterprise Award: How about a micro-enterprise with five or fewer employees with a demonstrated track record of success?
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.
Thumbnail image for washingtonbj.JPGWashington Best Places to Work 2011
Enter by March 1, 2011

Nominations are now open for the Best Places to Work awards. Each year the program honors 50 companies that are the most successful in building enjoyable and meaningful work environments for their employees.
atdc_gwinnett.JPGAmazing Entrepreneur Business Plan Competition
Enter by March 10, 2011

The Amazing Entrepreneur Business Plan Competition sponsored by CEO Business Centers in partnership with the Gwinnett Chamber Economic Development and the Small Business Development Center is open to individuals who currently own and manage a new small business in Gwinnett County. The grand prize includes one free year in an office at a CEO Business Center site, a one-year Gwinnett Chamber membership, participation in the Chamber’s small business program, and thousands of dollars in in-kind professional services and accounting software. Finalists will receive certificates for services at CEO Business Centers.
To be considered, submit your business plan by March 10th. Visit the CEO Business Centers website for guidelines and information about where to send your application. The winner will be announced on April 29th at the Gwinnett Chamber’s Pinnacle Small Business Awards.
UPrinting-Sweepstakes.jpgUprinting’s Small Business Sweepstakes
Enter by March 13, 2011

“Like” Uprinting on Facebook for a chance to win a 16GB Apple iPad with WiFi to help you manage your business on the go and $1000 in printing to market and promote your business.
cartier_womensinit.jpgCartier Women’s Initiative Awards
Enter by March 15, 2011

The Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards is an international business plan competition that every year recognizes five female entrepreneurs, one for each region: Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and North America. Each Laureate receives coaching support for a full year, in addition to $20,000 in funding and an exclusive trophy designed by Cartier in October.
The business project to be considered for The Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards is as follows:
– An original for-profit business creation
– In the start-up phase (at least one year old, no longer than three)
– The main leadership position must be filled by a woman
BLOB_awards.JPGBLOB – Best Locally Owned Business Awards
Enter by March 18, 2011

The 2011 BLOB Awards are hosted by Fresno Regional Independent Business Alliance (FRIBA), a group of local business owners who have joined together to educate the community about why it is important to support locally owned and independent businesses.
See website for details and voting categories.
cincinnatichamber.gifSmall Business Excellence Awards
Enter by March 25, 2011

Each year the Chamber recognizes the accomplishments and innovation found in the small business segment of our business community at its Small Business Excellence Awards. This year’s awards will be presented on Tuesday, May 24, 2011, at the Millennium Hotel in downtown Cincinnati.
Companies can apply for consideration in two of the following categories:
•Emerging Business of the Year – must be in business five years or less
•Minority Business of the Year – must be a certified MBE
•Nonprofit of the Year – must submit a 501© form
•10 Under 10 – 10 businesses with fewer than 10 employees
•Small Business of the Year – 1 to 50 employees
•Small Business of the Year – 51 to 250 employees
•Community Involvement Award
americanbusinessawards.JPGNinth Annual American Business Awards
Enter by March 31, 2011

The American Business Awards are the only all-encompassing awards program that honors outstanding performances in the American workplace. All organizations operating in the U.S. are eligible to submit nominations – public and private, for-profit and non-profit, large and small. The 2011 awards will honor work since the beginning of 2010, and the awards will be announced on June 20 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City.
Nominations are accepted in various categories groups including management awards, public relations awards, marketing awards, new product awards, HR awards, IT awards, web site awards, and more. New categories in 2011 include Executive of the Year – Health Products & Services and Best New Product or Service of the Year – Health Products & Services, and more than 40 new Marketing Campaign of the year categories.
rugenz.JPGR U Gen Z (Generation Zuckerberg) Video Contest
Enter by April 1, 2011

Internet entrepreneur Marc Ostrofsky has launched the R U Gen Z (Generation Zuckerberg) video contest offering over $10,000 in prizes. The R U Gen Z video contest encourages students and struggling job seekers with the drive and desire to be their own boss to embrace their Zuckerberg-like passion for entrepreneurship. In these videos, students are invited to express frustrations with today’s economy and tout the benefits of being one’s own boss.
Videos can be submitted online immediately at the contest website and will be judged by a group of panelists made up of students from the University of Houston’s Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship. The first place winner will receive $5,000; $2,500 will go to the second place winner, and numerous other $1,000 prizes will be distributed.
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.
calchamber.gifSmall Business Advocate of the Year Award
Enter by April 15, 2011

Each year, the CalChamber recognizes several small business owners who have done an exceptional job with their local, state and national advocacy efforts on behalf of small businesses.
The CalChamber will recognize the award winners at its Business Summit on June 1 in Sacramento. The nomination form is available on the CalChamber website at or may be requested from the Local Chamber Department at (916) 444-6670.
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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