Not very often can you find actual grants for small business, although there are a few grant contests out there. (Read more about the lack of grants at Do Small Business Startup Grants Exist?)
Today, I have an outstanding, legitimate grant contest to share with you, Intuit’s Small Business United contest. You enter by sharing a real life business story and a tip for small business owners. (Given the recent flap over Terms of Service at Facebook, I will remind you that you give Intuit the right to use that story by entering. Read the rules.)
Fifty finalists will receive a $5,000 grant and a Pure Digital Flip Video™ camcorder. From the finalists, four first prize winners will get picked to receive an additional $10,000, and one grand prize winner will receive an additional $25,000. Of course, Intuit is also throwing in $2,500 worth of their own products and services to the first prize and grand prize winners. That’s a pretty cool grant package, as it adds up to $315,000.
Ratings from the community will count for 40% of your score. The other 60% comes from creativity and quality. And let me tell you, I’m honored to be one of the judges, along with Anita Campbell, CEO of Small Business Trends, John Jantsch, author of Duct Tape Marketing, and Donna Ettenson, vice president of operations of the Association of Small Business Development Centers.
Deadline: Get your entries in by March 23, 2009, then watch for the finalists by April 1, and winners in May.
Whether you enter or not, you can get all sorts of inspiration by reading through the gallery of stories.
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Rex Hammock says
Becky, I appreciate that Intuit is having this contest and awarding such prizes, but I would like to note that “small business grant” is perhaps THE most used small business-related search term on Google. Calling the prizes “grants” instead of prizes is an obvious search-enging optimization strategy that is generating lots of incoming links to Intuit.com from some of the most Google-juicing websites in this category — the judges sites, for example. I appreciate what Intuit is doing and am always glad to see opportunities for small business to win prizes, but lets learn from what Intuit is doing, as well.
Becky McCray says
Yes, Rex. You may notice I took this opportunity to offer a debunking of “free grants” in the very first paragraph. One of our contributors here, Jeanne Cole, works for the Small Business Development Center. She gets asked about grants all the time, so I tried to make sure I handled this right.
Rex Hammock says
I am certainly not directing my criticism to you, Becky. And as I said, I appreciate what Intuit is doing — just think the word ‘grant’ is wrong. The best source for information about legitimate grants (meaning, not the “free grants” that are advertised everywhere) is at the government site: http://www.grants.gov/