If you’re a small business owner looking for exposure, mentors or money, entering a small business contest could be your answer. Check out these seven business contests for 2017 offering a variety of prizes.
#1. FedEx Small Business Grant Contest
Now in it’s fifth year, the 2017 FedEx Small Business Grant Contest offers a first place cash prize of $25,000. Additionally, the Grand prize winner receives print and business services of $7500. Other prizes are reserved for the Silver and Bronze winners. However, businesses must be in the United States, with between 1 and 99 employees on the payroll.
In order to be eligible to win, submit your application starting February 21, 2017 through April 25, 2017.
#2. Shopify Build a Business
Touted as “one of the world’s largest competitions for entrepreneurs,” Shopify Build a Business V11 will open this spring. If you own a privately-held company with annual sales between $1 million and $50 million USD, you sell online and are already on (or planning the move to) the Shopify platform, you could qualify to win. Winners get a 5-day business getaway in Fiji with business expert and mentor Tony Robbins; plus they include $1 million worth of “marketing architecture.” In the meantime, check back with the website regularly for the 2017 business contest opening date.
#3. 2017 US Chamber of Commerce Dream Big Award
The US Chamber of Commerce and Sam’s Club have partnered to hold the US Chamber of Commerce Dream Big Award to recognize and reward top small businesses across the country. 10 Blue Ribbon winners and 7 regional finalists are honored at the Annual America’s Small Business Summit. The grand prize winner will receive the Dream Big Small Business of the Year Award and $10,000. Last year’s summit was held in Washington D.C. in June. Although applications will be available in the spring, be sure to check the site for news on the 2017 contest.
#4. InnovateHER: Innovating for Women Business Challenge
If you’re a woman who’s developed a product or service to impact and empower the lives of women and families, the InnovateHER: Innovating for Women Business Challenge could be the 2017 business contest for you. Sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA), winners of country-wide local competitions advance to the semi-finals, from which 10 finalists will get selected. Finalists pitch their ideas to an expert panel in competition for three awards and prize money totaling $70,000. With this in mind, send in your application by May 12, 2017.
#5. Arch Grants Global Startup Competition
So what do you think of the idea of relocating your business to St. Louis? The Arch Grants Global Startup Competition offers a $50,000 cash grant, as well as many free or discounted business services, mentoring and educational programming to the winners. Applicants should either already be in the St. Louis area or willing to relocate. Additionally, preference is given to companies that offer innovative products and services. The also must be established “beyond the idea stage.” Applications open on March 1, 2017, and finalists will pitch the judges on Pitch Days – August 16 and 17, 2017.
#6. Miller Lite Tap the Future
Are you looking for an opportunity to pitch your new business idea to a business giant? The Miller Lite Tap The Future contest awards finalists the opportunity to pitch Shark Tank’s Daymond John. The winner gets $100,000, too. If this sounds good, better get started – all applications must be in by April 14, 2017.
#7. 2017 Small Business Innovator of the Year – New Jersey
If you’re a small business owner operating in New Jersey with fewer than 500 employees and an innovative solution to a business or community problem, this may be the contest for you. Launched by the Asbury Park Press, applicants for the Small Business Innovator of the Year must fall into one of six business categories: healthcare, retail/wholesale, technology, real estate/home improvement/energy, engineering/manufacturing, or leisure/hospitality. The Grand Prize Winner receives $5,000, but take note, each sector has a different submission deadline starting with the March 15, 2017 deadline for the retail/wholesale sector and ending with a People’s Choice selection on August 15. For more information visit Small Business Innovator of the Year Rules.
Many state and local competitions also offer a variety of prizes for small businesses, so check out your local organizations and news outlets to see what’s available in your area. Do some digging – winning a business contest not only could give your business a cash-injection, but also let you expand your network of business peers, experts, and potential mentors or investors.