Archive for December, 2010

New Awards and Competitions for SMBs

Friday, December 31st, 2010

This list of contests, competitions and awards for small businesses is brought to you every other week as a community service by Small Business Trends and

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Love a Local Business Hiring Grant Competition
Enter through December 2010

Enter by submitting a few sentences about why you love serving your customers and community. Each month between October and December 2010, winners of a $25,000 Intuit Hiring Grant will be chosen by popular vote on Judges will review the three monthly winners and choose a grand prize winner of an Intuit Hiring Grant worth $50,000.


SoftCity Battle of the Blogs
Enter by December 31, 2010

The Battle of the Blogs is a contest designed to discover expert blogs for each one of the categories on SoftCity. SMB Bloggers looking to get some Internet recognition can nominate themselves for the Battle of the Blogs – SoftCity provides a free banner and will help via social media channels to promote each nomination
- Best blogger (blogs) in each of the 6 categories wins an iPad, online recognition badge for their site, plus a targeted audience of new potential users, followers.


DREAM BIG Small Business of the Year Award
Enter by January 7, 2011

The DREAM BIG Small Business of the Year Award, sponsored by Sam’s Club, is designed to honor U.S. job creators and recognize their significant contributions as drivers of economic growth. View the eligibility and criteria at the website to learn more and check out the Application Process FAQs for tips on filling out the application.


Top Small Company Workplaces Award
Enter by January 14, 2011

Winning Workplaces and Inc. Magazine are seeking compelling examples of successful organizations with outstanding work cultures for their 2011 Top Small Company Workplaces (TSCW) competition.


Intuit Collaboratory Challenges
Multiple competitions and entry deadlines

Intuit is running two challenges that award cash prizes for the winning solutions.

Making it easy for consumers to get receipts online
Enter by January 14, 2011

Intuit has a solution called QuickReceipts that enables consumers to get receipts online automatically. It currently requires retailer integration, and they looking for other ways to automatically get receipts online (both paper and electronic receipts). How might consumers be enabled to have their receipts accessible online with as little effort as possible?

If a winning idea is selected, the winner will receive $5,000 and potentially a follow-up meeting with Intuit product management executives.

Collection and organization of data by accountants
Enter by February 15, 2011

Submit a solution that will maximize the number of inputs accountants receive upfront, simplify subsequent interactions and data collection, and keep all inputs for a given client engagement neatly organized so accountants can provide the best client service most efficiently.

If a winning idea is selected, the winner will receive $10,000 and potentially a follow-up meeting with Intuit product management executives.


Minority Business Leader Nomination 2011
Enter by January 28, 2011

This program recognizes the Washington region’s top 25 minority business leaders based on demonstrated business success over the past 12 to 18 months. The Washington Business Journal will recognize the Minority Business Leaders at a luncheon in March 2011. All honorees will also be profiled in the Washington Business Journal.

Eligible minority groups include: American Indian, Native of Alaska, Hawaii or Pacific Islands, Asian, African-American, Hispanic or Latino. Nominations will be judged based on professional accomplishments, community leadership, awards and milestones.


CoolCalifornia Small Business Award
Enter by January 24, 2011

The annual CoolCalifornia Small Business Award Program is administered by the California Air Resources Board. The program recognizes small California businesses (under 100 employees) that have demonstrated exceptional leadership and taken action to reduce their energy bills and greenhouse gas emissions and made notable, voluntary achievements towards reducing their climate impact. The awards ceremony and reception will be held in early May 2011 in Sacramento.


New England Innovation Awards
Enter by February 28, 2011

This award recognizes the intrinsic value that innovation possesses in driving the New England economy. SBANE utilizes its highly competitive Innovation awards program to showcase technology-driven enterprises that are potentially “game changers” in their marketplace niche. Application here.


FinTech Innovation Lab
Enter by January 31, 2010

Entrepreneurs developing mobile, data management and data analytics, security, social media and other tools can apply for a spot in the FinTech Innovation Lab, expected to open in May 2011. Six companies will each get $25,000, which will convert into their next round of equity financing. They’ll also receive workspace, access to users within financial services firms to test their products, and mentoring.


Launch Lewiston-Auburn Maine Contest
Enter by January 2011

The Lewiston-Auburn Economic Growth Council (LAEGC) and the Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce have launched an entrepreneurial contest that has an ambitious goal of connecting with youth who have roots in the local community, and encouraging them to consider starting a business in Lewiston-Auburn, Maine. The program, called Launch L-A!, features a contest inviting young entrepreneurs to submit a proposal to start a business in L-A.

The winning entrepreneur will receive an equity infusion of $10,000 to $20,000 in seed money, along with a number of in-kind services for a year, including business consulting, accounting services, legal fees, advertising agency services, rent and more — all provided by Chamber members. Runners-up may also receive in-kind services. See website for entry rules.


The CITI Foundation Business Plan Contest
Enter by February 1, 2011

For startup and existing businesses. Put your ideas on paper to find out if you have a viable business and compete to win cash prizes. Eligible candidates must attend at least one of the following workshops by February 1, 2011: How to Write a Business Plan; Understanding Your Small Business Financial Report Card; or Boot Camp – CORE Four Business Planning Course.

All registration forms and business plans must be received by February 1, 2011. Please review the checklist on the website for all required information. Call (312) 673-3462 or e-mail


Rhode Island Business Plan Competition 2011
Enter by April 4. 2011

The Rhode Island Business Plan Competition, open to everyone, seeks to promote entrepreneurship and development of start-up and early stage companies. Winners and finalists in the 2010 Competition shared more than $195,000 in prizes.


To find more small business events, contests and awards, visit our Small Business Events Calendar. In addition, we also have a giveaways page; click to learn more about our small business giveaways section.

If you are putting on a small business contest, award or competition, and want to get the word out to the community, please submit it through our Small Business Event and Contests Form. (We do not charge a fee to be included in this listing — it is completely free to submit your award or contest for our review. )

Please note: The descriptions provided here are for convenience only and are NOT the official rules. ALWAYS read official rules carefully at the site holding the competition, contest or award.

From Small Business Trends

New Awards and Competitions for SMBs


Texas bank hostage standoff ends

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Two alleged armed robbers are in police custody after a botched heist at a Chase bank in a suburb of Houston, Texas.

This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.


2011 partygoers take to streets

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Tens of thousands of revellers are gearing up to welcome in the new year at open-air parties around the UK.

This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.


Many hurt in Argentine rail crash

Friday, December 31st, 2010

A TBA train (archive image from company website)Both trains were heading north
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At least 45 people were injured when one passenger train crashed into another in the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires.

Realising a crash was imminent with a stationary train, the driver of the moving train applied emergency brakes, a rail official said.

He also left his seat to warn passengers to brace for impact.

Another 90 passengers suffered minor bruises and scrapes in the crash which occurred in Palermo district.

One of the injured is a woman seven months pregnant, officials at the Municipal Assistance Service (Same) said.

The 45 casualties were ferried by ambulance to hospitals around the city.

Giving details of the crash, Gustavo Gago, a spokesman for the privately run TBA railway network, said one train had stopped on a bridge and was hit from behind by another moving at a speed of between 30 and 40km/h (19 and 25mph).

Argentina suffered its worst rail disaster in 1970 when 142 people were killed and 368 injured at Benavidez, just north of the capital.

This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.


Six dead in US tornado outbreak

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Debris left on the ground after a home and barn were destroyed by the tornadoThe tornado caused damage in north-west Arkansas

Three people have died after a tornado struck the small town of Cincinnati in Arkansas, according to local officials.

The storm caused damage near a local highway in the town’s centre and points west of Washington County, county dispatcher Josh Howerton said.

There were “lots of injuries”, he added, quoted by AP news agency.

The storm also caused damage in the town of Tontitown, the deputy emergency manager for Washington County said.

Rick Johnson said emergency responders are experiencing difficulties in reaching the damaged areas because of power lines that have been knocked down.

The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management said that power was out throughout Washington County.

The tornado hit Cincinnati, located about 20 miles (32km) west of the city of Fayetteville, around 0600 local time (1200GMT), said Joe Sellers, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oklahoma.

The storm system also injured at least two people and caused damage to five homes in Benton County, a region near the Arkansas state lines with the states of Oklahoma and Missouri, Matt Garrity, the county’s manager of emergency services, told the CNN news network.

Map of Arkansas

Homes were damaged in the county, and the local airport has closed due to debris in the region, Mr Garrity said.

Tornado warnings were issued by the weather service for north-west Arkansas and parts of Missouri.

The storm system that caused the tornado is moving northeast into Missouri and is maintaining its strength, which is an unusual occurrence, Mr Sellers said.

He added that a combination of warm, wet air in the region and colder air moving in from the west created the conditions necessary for the tornado.

“Anytime you have a significant change in air mass there is going to be unsettled weather marking the two different air masses,” Mr Sellers told AP.

This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.


Estonia becomes latest euro state

Friday, December 31st, 2010

EurosEstonia will become the third ex-Communist country to embrace the euro
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Estonia is just hours away from becoming the 17th member of the eurozone – the first ex-Soviet state to adopt the EU’s single currency.

The changeover from the kroon to the euro starts at midnight (2200 GMT) in the small Baltic nation of 1.3m people.

Despite market pressure on the eurozone and the bail-outs of Greece and the Irish Republic this year, polls suggest that most Estonians want the euro.

Estonia’s PM Andrus Ansip will withdraw euros from a cashpoint as 2011 arrives.

For many Estonians, 20 years after breaking away from the Soviet Union, the euro is proof that they have fully arrived in the West, the BBC’s Baltic region correspondent Damien McGuinness reports.

Estonia joined the EU in 2004 – one of eight former Communist countries that did so, including its Baltic neighbours Latvia and Lithuania.

Two other ex-Communist countries – Slovenia and Slovakia – are already in the eurozone.

Estonia’s government says the euro will attract foreign investors because devaluation is then ruled out.

However, poorer Estonians fear that prices will be rounded up, and that food will become even more expensive. And the prospect of having to contribute to bail-outs of richer eurozone countries is hard to stomach, our correspondent reports.

In the past year Europe’s debt crisis has hit Estonia severely. The tough cuts in state spending, necessary to join the eurozone, have pushed unemployment to more than 16%.

To avoid a last-minute rush, Estonians have been able to swap kroons for euros commission-free since 1 December, the AFP news agency reports.

Kroons will be used in parallel with the euro for the first half of January. Banks will swap Estonians’ kroons for euros until the end of 2011 and the central bank will carry on doing so indefinitely.

The kroon has been pegged to the euro for 18 years and will be converted at a rate of 15.65.

This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.


Crowds gather at London fireworks

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Crowds begin to gather in central London ahead of the annual New Year’s Eve fireworks display on the River Thames.

This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.


Gbagbo exit ‘bad for Ivory Coast’

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Woman in front of burnt-out UN vehicle ( 30/12/2010)UN peacekeepers have been attacked by Gbagbo loyalists

Ivory Coast’s incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo has offered to recount the vote of last month’s disputed poll.

He claims to have won the election outright, even though international observers say his rival, Alassane Ouattara, was the victor.

The UN says some 200 people have been killed or disappeared – mostly Ouattara supporters.

UN human rights chief Navi Pillay has told Mr Gbagbo he could be held accountable for human rights abuses.

Some of Ivory Coast’s neighbours have threatened military action to oust Mr Gbagbo but analysts say intervention in Ivory Coast would be far more difficult than West Africa’s previous operations in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The UK has said it would back military intervention, if sanctioned by the UN.

Mr Ouattara is holed up in a hotel in the main city, Abidjan, protected by UN peacekeepers.

Some of Mr Gbagbo’s allies have threatened to storm the hotel on Saturday – a threat which UN chief Ban Ki-moon has said could spark renewed civil war.

The election was intended to reunify the country which has been divided since a 2002 conflict.

Mr Ouattara was initially proclaimed the winner by Ivory Coast’s election commission.


But as it was doing this, the Constitutional Council cancelled the vote in parts of the north still controlled by New Forces rebels who back Mr Ouattara, and said Mr Gbagbo had won with 51% of the vote.

Both men have been sworn in as president.

Mr Gbagbo did not give any details of his recount proposals.

“We are negotiating. I ask myself why those who claim to have beaten me oppose a recount of the votes,” he said.

The UN helped organise the poll and says Mr Ouattara won.

As international pressure increases on Mr Gbagbo to step down, the EU has agreed to widen a travel ban to 59 Gbagbo allies, diplomats say.

Mr Gbagbo accuses France, which retains considerable economic interests in its former colony, of mobilising international opinion against him.

“Amongst today’s great global powers, each has its own sphere of influence. When it’s something to do with Francophone Sub-Saharan Africa, France speaks and the rest follow,” Mr Gbagbo told Euronews.

He has ordered the 9,500 UN peacekeepers to leave Ivory Coast and there have been some attacks on them by Mr Gbagbo’s supporters.

This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.


Nigeria hit by New Year ‘bomb’

Friday, December 31st, 2010

breaking news
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Several people have been injured in a blast said to have occurred at or near an army barracks in the Nigerian capital Abuja.

People were seen being carried away after the blast, which hit a beer garden, local journalists told the Associated Press.

A police spokesman told AFP the blast had occurred at the Sani Abacha barracks, and the cause was unknown.

But Nigerian media said the explosion had happened in a nearby market.

Nigeria has a recent history of bomb attacks in the capital and other cities:

On Thursday, two blasts disrupted a political rally in the southern city of Yenagoa, wounding several peopleBomb attacks in the northern city of Jos, a flash-point between Nigerian Christians and Muslims, left 38 people over ChristmasIn October, at least eight people were killed in explosions in Abuja as the country celebrated 50 years since independence from the UK

The barracks, named after Nigeria’s late military dictator, is located in Asokoro district, home to the presidential palace and said to be the city’s most secure area.

Officially renamed the Mogadishu Cantonment, the barracks is still known to many by its old name.

The nearby Mammy Market is said to be popular with politicians and civil servants, attracted by its roast fish eateries.

This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.


Millions usher in the new year

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Fireworks display in Auckland, New Zealand (1 Janaury 2011)Fireworks lit up the 328m-tall Sky Tower in New Zealand’s biggest city, Auckland

Celebrations are being held around the world to mark the new year.

Thousands of revellers have taken to the streets in New Zealand – the first major country to see in 2011.

Australians are marking the occasion in Sydney with what is billed as the largest and most advanced New Year’s Eve fireworks display in the world.

Displays are also planned in Europe, while up to a million people are expected in New York to see the famous Times Square Ball drop at midnight.

The municipal authorities and warmer weather have combined to clear the streets following the snowstorm which blanketed the city this week.

This year meanwhile marks the first time Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi, officially celebrates the new year. In previous years, the city authorities have focused on Tet, the holiday marking the lunar new year.

In Burma, however, the military government has banned all fireworks and said severe action would be taken against anyone using them.

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This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.


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