You don’t have to wait until November to select a winner for this contest. Intuit Inc. is asking small business owners to select a budding entrepreneur to win a $50,000 business startup package as part of its “Just Start” contest.
The voting is free of debates, caucuses and primaries, with polling places open online at www.IWillJustStart.com. The winner will be the entrepreneur who voters believe offers the clearest, most feasible business idea. The victor receives $40,000 in cash and $10,000 in products and services. Two semifinalists will each receive $5,000 in cash.
The election culminates Intuit’s “Just Start” campaign that began last fall, an effort to stoke the American entrepreneurial spirit which, according to a recent Intuit survey, is stronger than ever. The QuickBooks® Just Start Survey found that nearly three-quarters of Americans dream of starting their own business and 81 percent believe that running their own company would be more empowering than holding a “regular” job. Conversely, 38 percent of Americans already regret not starting their own business.
To inspire and guide these many would-be entrepreneurs, the Just Start campaign visited four cities across the nation, attracting more than 1,500 budding business owners to enter the Just Start contest. The contest encouraged them to submit letters or videos describing their business dream, what they need to make it happen and how they would use Intuit’s Just Start business grant to get started.
“We were thrilled with the response to the Just Start contest,” said Rick Jensen, vice president of Intuit’s small business division. “It definitely confirms that the American Dream of owning a business is alive and well. We congratulate everyone who entered and hope that the inspiration, tools and support we’ve provided will help them pursue their business aspirations.”
An independent panel of small business experts, Anita Campbell of Small Business Trends, John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing, and Ramon Ray of Smallbiztechnology.com, narrowed the contestants to five semi-finalists. The winner, who will be announced in early February, will be the entrepreneur who receives the most votes on www.IWillJustStart.com by Jan. 31.
You’re a Winner In This Effort Too
As part of the Just Start campaign, Intuit is offering its easy-to-use QuickBooks Simple Start accounting software for free. The software can be downloaded at www.IWillJustStart.com.