A new contest will be giving some small businesses a big chance to grow. The contest, sponsored by crowdfunding platform EarlyShares.com, will divide $50,000 in prizes among the three businesses that show the most promise for growth and job creation.
The EarlyShares Small Business Challenge is open to businesses with fewer than 100 employees and entrepreneurs with ideas for new companies. The top prize is $25,000 in cash and advertising support. The second- and third-place winners will collect $15,000 and $10,000, respectively.
To enter, companies must go to SMBchallenge.com and submit an application. Companies must then receive at least 100 votes through social media and email campaigns between Sept. 1 and Oct. 31. Then a panel will choose 50 semifinalists. The winners will be voted on by the crowd Nov. 2-7. The winner will be announced Nov. 9.
"We know that small business growth is one of the keys to helping the U.S. economy bounce back," said Maurice Lopes, founder and CEO of EarlyShares.com. "More than 3.5 million new businesses are founded each year, but credit is tight right now, and many entrepreneurs outside of hubs like Silicon Valley and New York have a difficult time competing for funding from venture capitalists and angel investors.
"Through the Small Business Challenge, we want to help fill that gap and give a boost to promising companies that have the most potential for job creation so that they continue to build their businesses and stimulate economic growth."