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Need Money For Your Business? Here's A List Of Grants And Loans For Budding Entrepreneurs

There are so many resources out here that you can use to get free money and resources. All it takes is a good business pitch, dedication...

Workin’ Girl

You have this fabulous business idea or product that can take your bank account from 0 to 100, but you don’t have the money to help you get there. Yes, you could take out a business loan, but your credit isn’t all that and really, who wants to get a loan if they don’t have to. You’ve already learned your lesson in borrowing after dealing with Sallie Mae. Interests rates and loans can go to hell. So what do you do? You try to find those coins that won’t cost you a thing!


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There are so many resources out here that you can use to get free money and resources. All it takes is a good business pitch, dedication, patience, and time. One of the challenges new business owners and budding entrepreneurs face is access to sufficient capital. Listed below are several contests that you can enter to win money for your business - and possibly other perks like networking and mentoring resources too.

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FedEx Small Business Grant Contest

Entry Deadline: 02/12/2016

Entry Fee: No fee

Description: This is a grant contest that will award ten small business with grants up to $25,000.

Judging Criteria: N/A

Eligibility:

  1. You must have a for-profit small business.
  2. Your business must be in “continuous operations” for no less than 6 months - in other words your small business must have been in operation for at least 6 months.

Awards & Prizes: Up to $25,000 in grants.

Carnegie Mellon University Venture Challenge

Entry Deadline: 02/14/2016

Entry Fee: No fee

Description: The Carnegie Mellon University Venture Challenge (CMUVC) is a yearly business plan competition only for undergraduate students. In this challenge, you can win monetary prizes, and advice from entrepreneurial experts that can help you take your business idea to the next level.

Judging Criteria: N/A

Eligibility:

  1. Submissions should be submitted by an individual or a team of up to five members.
  2. All participants must be undergraduate students.
  3. Participants are not required to be Carnegie Mellon students.

Awards & Prizes: Up to $12,000 in prizes

Impact Pediatric Health Pitch Competition

Entry Deadline: 2/15/2016

Entry Fee: No fee

Description: If you have a business or business idea in the field of digital or tech pediatrics, this competition is for you. In this competition, you will pitch your ideas to leading hospitals and will have the opportunity to win big.

Judging Criteria: N/A

Eligibility:

  1. Your business must be a startup that is digitally focused on the the pediatric field.

Awards & Prizes: $50,000

French American Entrepreneurship Award

Entry Deadline: 02/22/2016

Entry Fee: No fee

Description: The French American Entrepreneurship Award (FAEA) is an annual startup competition that helps American entrepreneurs launch their business.

Judging Criteria: N/A

Eligibility:

  1. You must be 35 years of age or under
  2. Fluent in English & French
  3. Your business must be 3 years or younger

Awards & Prizes: Up to $10,000 in cash

TU Incubator

Entry Deadline: 2/22/2016

Entry Fee: N/A

Description: This competition is open to anyone in the Baltimore-Washington area. The goal of this competition is to encourage entrepreneurship, small business growth, and innovation.

Judging Criteria: N/A

Eligibility:

  1. Must be someone with a pre-startup or early stage innovative business or business idea from the Baltimore-Washington, DC, region
  2. Must have an interest in receiving practical support to develop the business and open to considering new ideas and suggestions from external advisers
  3. If your business has launched, your annual revenues must not exceed $500,000. Companies exceeding $500,000 in annual revenues are not eligible
  4. If your business receives institutional investment from venture capital firms or related professional investors you are not eligible

Awards & Prizes: Cash prize along with 90 day membership at Towson Global valued at $5,000

Black Enterprise Elevator Pitch Competition

Entry Deadline: 03/14/2016

Entry Fee: No fee

Description: At the The Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit, there is an annual Elevator Pitch contest that allows entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch their business idea. If successful, they will be able to pitch to inventors, experts, venture capitalists, and angel investors.

Judging Criteria: If selected to be a semi-finalist, the judges will be a panel of expert judges. In the last round of the competition, the judges will be  inventors, experts, venture capitalists, and angel investors.

Eligibility:

  1. You must submit a YouTube video for your competition pitching your product or service.

Awards & Prizes: $10,000 cash prize

The Startup Challenge 2016

Entry Deadline: 3/14/2016

Entry Fee: No fee

Description: This competition is held in Monterey, California and is an opportunity for prospective entrepreneurs and start-ups.

Judging Criteria: All judges will be a panel of experienced investors.

Eligibility:

  1. Anyone is eligible. If you are under 21, your legal guardian must sign the entry form.

Awards & Prizes: Up to $20,000 cash plus $10,000 in legal and other services

Rhode Island Business Plan Competition 2016

Entry Deadline: 3/28/2016

Entry Fee: No fee

Description: This competition has been organized to promote entrepreneurship and the development of startup and early stage companies in Rhode Island to help promote new growth of businesses in Rhode Island.

Judging Criteria: N/A

Eligibility:

  • Open to any budding entrepreneur

Awards & Prizes: $200,000 worth of prizes

Shopify Build a Business

Entry Deadline: 3/31/2016

Entry Fee: Shopify store fees

Description: Shopify hosts an annual competition for online entrepreneurs to create a business idea and product, create an online store, and then successfully sell the product.

Judging Criteria: Shopify determines the winners based on your Highest Gross Sales for your two months with the highest revenue.

For example, if your store’s top two sales months are October and December, Shopify would calculate your Highest Gross Sales by adding October and December’s sales. For the competition, they will use your top two calendar months between October 1, 2015 and May 31, 2016.

Eligibility:

  1. Must be an entrepreneur
  2. Must use Shopify and your Shopify store must be opened during a certain time period.

Awards & Prizes: An exclusive week of hands-on mentorship with some of the best and brightest entrepreneurs in the world, as well as exclusive access and full accommodations at the world-famous Oheka Castle — aka The Great Gatsby mansion.

ADP Small Business Grant Contest

Entry Deadline: 04/30/2016

Entry Fee: No fee

Description: This is a grant contest that gives out grant money to small businesses and payroll processing services.

Judging Criteria: Online voting and selection from ADP grant committee

Eligibility:

  1. You must submit an essay explaining how you would invest $10,000 in your company

Awards & Prizes: Up to $10,000 in cash prizes and one year of waived payroll fees, valued at up to $3,500.

New York StartUP! 2016 Business Plan Competition

Entry Deadline: 6/7/2016

Entry Fee: N/A

Description: In this competition, you can gain knowledge about starting and growing a business, and can win a cash prize.

Judging Criteria: Your business plan will be judged on the following -

  • Content of the plan, including the thoroughness and quality of the analysis
  • Effective use of business information and research
  • Clear communication
  • Effective use and impact of the prize money
  • Probability of successful launch
  • Community Impact and job creation potential
  • Quality and effectiveness of final presentation (in the event the applicant becomes a finalist and is invited to present)

Eligibility:

  1. You must live in Manhattan, The Bronx, or Staten Island.
  2. Your business must be in Manhattan, The Bronx, or Staten Island.
  3. Your business must be in the startup phase and have earned less than $10,000.

Awards & Prizes: Cash prizes of up to $15,000

Schoolpreneur.Biz Business Competition

Entry Deadline: N/A

Entry Fee: No fee

Description: This is the perfect competition for your kid-preneur. The vision behind this competition is to encourage and promote young entrepreneurs from grade school to high school.

Judging Criteria: N/A

Eligibility:

  1. Must be a student from kindergarten through high school.

Awards & Prizes: Seed investment

 

 

 

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