Small Businesses Compete for Awards, Recognition in Annual Contests

Apr 11, 2012

It's that time of year. 

It's time for small business owners to become "American Gladiators," duking it out for money, acknowledgement, the attention of potential investors, and --most importantly -- total bragging rights.

It's small business awards season.

There are several competitions happening at the national and state level, and with deadlines approaching in the next few months, CNN Money shares some of the top competitions for small business.

NewSpace Business Plan Competition: The race to commercialize outer space is ramping up and the NewSpace Business Plan Competition is available to new or expanding companies that show profitability and can advance the NewSpace movement. In submitting for the award, businesses receive feedback, as well as exposure to investors and the public. Startup or early-growth firms must explain in their submission why their offering helps the commercial development of outer space. The deadline to apply for the $100,000 prize is April 30.

Minnesota Cup: America’s biggest statewide competition for entrepreneurs, inventors, and startups, the Minnesota Cup fosters breakthrough ideas in six fields, including: BioScience and Health IT; Clean Tech and Renewable Energy; High Tech; Social Entrepreneur and Student; and a general category. Winners will receive up to $65,000, but all entrants gain critical access to mentors and other resources. Eligible businesses are those in Minnesota that are less than five years old and generate less than $1 million in revenue a year. The last day to enter is May 18.

MADE in Missouri State: To help entrepreneurs start and run their business ventures, the Missouri Alliance for the Development of Entrepreneurship (MADE) sponsors a statewide business plan competition. Entrants submit a business plan, create a trade show booth, and present to competition judges. While all entrants receive access to resources that help them with their business, winners receive a $2,500 prize. To be eligible, entrants must be Missouri residents; the deadline is May 31.

The U.S. Chamber’s DREAM BIG Small Business of the Year Award sponsored by Sam’s Club®: Though not mentioned on CNN’s list, the U.S. Chamber is holding its DREAM BIG Small Business of the Year Award sponsored by Sam’s Club®. The award honors businesses excelling in staff training and motivation, community involvement, customer service, and strategy. One of this year’s seven regional finalists will win the $10,000 cash prize, awarded at the Chamber’s annual Small Business Summit on May 22.

Have you submitted your business into a competition this year? Tell us about it. 

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