Small-Business Contests: Enter for Your Chance at Success

A small business is a big deal. And bigger businesses recognize that—that’s why you’ll find various contests that help the smaller companies, the up-and-comers, grow. Success is the first-place prize, and that’s worth a whole lot more than a blue ribbon or a three-tier trophy. (And there are some pretty sweet, and tangible, perks and prizes, too.) Check ’em out:

Groupon: “Win a Grouponsultation for Your Small Business”

In celebration of this month’s Small Business Week (June 17-June 21), Groupon is giving away a personalized workshop, aka a Grouponsultation, from the company’s marketing experts.

“Our marketing experts have helped more than 500,000 local businesses grow. Let us help you get the expertise you need to succeed,” Groupon said.

It’s as simple as filling in an online form, with required sections including your business type, name and website. You do have to get those some words flowing, though, when they ask you what your biggest marketing challenge is. Not too hard, right?

Groupon will award the winner with a two-day, one-night trip to their headquarters in Chicago for a 12-hour consultation (on your choice of topic: SEO, SEM, social media, email marketing, branding, design, customer service, market research or mobile), a Breadcrumb Payments mobile credit card reader with no processing fees and the initial $25,000 of transactions, and an Apple iPad with Breadcrumb POS point-of-sale app (a complement to the card reader).

Afraid the odds aren’t in your favor? Another 15 people will win $100 in Groupon Bucks, and everybody who enters gets a marketing best practices e-guide and video tutorials. So just by entering, you’ll receive some free education to push your business forward.

Groupon’s sweepstakes runs from June 17 to July 16.

Walmart’s “Get on the Shelf” Contest

Calling all business and product developers. Walmart wants you—and your stuff, anything from electronics, home accessories, toys and apparel. The super store known for its blue vest door greeters and low prices is on the hunt for the next big thing, its next great set of products. It’s the second year for this social, crowdsourcing contest.

Here’s how it works. And first things first—you have to have an already developed product to enter. No brainstorming phasers allowed. To submit your brilliant product, you must create a YouTube video that features that brilliance. Starting in August, public voting commences—fingers crossed yours gets a ton of votes, because after this audition round, Walmart merchants will select 20 finalists to be featured in a weekly web series. (The webisodes will premiere this fall at Throughout the series, the public will keep voting for their favorites, determining each week’s winner. And at the end of it all, up to five products will be selected and sold on Even better, the grand prize winner (based on online pre-orders) will get marketing support and just might see their product on a shelf in Walmart. Seeing your product listed on Walmart’s website or sitting on the store’s shelves is like smelling success up close and personal. So why wouldn’t you enter?

You can submit product vides up until July 31.

Harbortouch’s Business Upgrade Contest

“Tell us your story to win $10,000 cash, plus a free Harbortouch POS system!” Um, okay! Once upon a time… But seriously. Harbortouch, a provider point-of-sale systems and merchant services, has launched a contest to reward one business with the chance to make great improvements—a total upgrade—with $10,000 and a POS Elite system, with no fees for year one. To be eligible, you must create a YouTube video (less than 2 minutes) that shows Harbortouch why your business needs that upgrade; you’ve got to tell your story and tell it with heart, because they’ll be reviewing all submissions and handpicking a winner based on a number of things.

“Make sure to be creative—the funnier, wittier and more entertaining, the better!” says Harbortouch CEO Jared Isaacman. And don’t forget to share the video with your own social media fans on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

Harbortouch’s contest runs from May 22 to August 15.

“Crowdfunding Contest” brought to you by Fundable, SBE Council and National Association for the Self Employed

This team is 100 percent about promoting and protecting small businesses and the entrepreneurs behind them. And they are dangling a $10,000 prize in front of eager faces who want to raise money to start or grow a business. That money could be yours, if you decide to follow these steps: apply, get selected, fundraise and win.

As an applicant, you will create a company fundraising page on Fundable. Based on your profile, judges, aka representatives from the NASE and SBE Council, will select 10 to be finalists in the Crowdfunding round.

Yahoo! You’re a finalist! You’ll receive exclusive coaching and tips on how to create and carry out a successful crowdfunding campaign. Then it’s time for you to dive headfirst into your crowd—the public—through whatever outlets are right for your business. Whoever reaches their fundraising goal first gets the beautiful combination of the money raised and the $10,000 prize. If you don’t cross the finish line first, just keep swimming! Finalists who reach 100 percent of their goal will get to keep those funds.

“The Fundable platform is an incredible tool for the companies selected to showcase their company, gather support from their prospective networks and prove demand for their ideas,” says Fundable President Eric Corl. “We’re excited to be helping a new crop of startups achieve their funding goals and launch great businesses nationwide.”

Go forth, apply and get ready to raise some capital. Your business is on its way to success.

The Crowdfunding contest winner will be announced after Labor Day.


Jessica Krampe is the digital managing editor for A graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism, Jessica has worked for news, entertainment, business and lifestyle publications. Outside of the daily grind, she enjoys happy hours, live music and traveling.

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