For business owners frustrated that government is not giving them the relief, resources and incentives needed to survive and grow during this tough economic period, many corporations are stepping up with programs to help entrepreneurs along.
Intuit’s “Small Business United” Campaign: This ongoing initiative is offering free tools such as accounting software (Quick Books Simple Start), six months of online payroll service, and business website service for one year. The campaign just announced the winners of a national grant competition where nearly 2,000 small business owners submitted stories and videos telling their personal business experiences. The winner, Ioana Sherman who operates a music lessons business, received $25,000 -- 4 runner-ups pocketed $10,000, and 50 finalists received a $5,000 grant.
Office Depot’s “Small Business Self-Bailout”: The campaign includes an “Adopt a Small Business” contest where Office Depot is giving away more than $1 million to 500 small businesses. It’s easy to enter – small business owners need to make and upload a two minute video stating what smart things you are doing to make it through this tough economy. Winners get a $1,300 Office Depot gift card, a year of tech support ($599), and more. For more information, please click here.
AT&T’s “All for Less”: On June 4, AT&T announced a bundled offer targeted at small businesses that includes wireless, wired and high-speed Internet services starting at less than $100 a month. The "All for Less" bundle is now available to qualifying small business customers (one to four lines in a single location) across AT&T's 22-state footprint. For more information, please visit www.att.com/allforless.
New ABC Reality Show is Casting for Entrepreneurs: ABC is planning a new reality series called “Shark Tank,” and producers are on a nationwide search to discover the next successful - and possibly wealthy - entrepreneurs, inventors, businesspersons, dreamers, promoters, creators and innovators. The show will premiere over the summer following the special 10th anniversary primetime return of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. Casting is looking for aspiring entrepreneurs who can pitch their breakthrough business concepts, products, properties and services to moguls in hopes of landing investment funds. For more information, or to apply please click here. There will be four nationwide “open calls” throughout the month of June -- dates and locations can also be found on the Shark Tank website. According to the the “Shark Tank” website, “your business idea should be top-notch and something the Sharks will really want to sink their teeth into.”
Entrepreneurs are the driving force behind the economy. Small businesses will bring the U.S. back to healthy levels of growth, innovation and job creation. We did such in the past. It’s good business to support small business. It’s smart politics too! Let’s hope our elected leaders in Washington catch the message, and more importantly take action!
Karen Kerrigan, President & CEO