UPS launches small business contest

From Bangor, Maine, to Beijing, China, if you came up with an idea that turned into a business that took off, UPS (Atlanta) wants to hear from you. You could win $25,000.

Last year, several small businesses--including one dedicated to teaching children about money management and another that provides products and ideas to help people with dementia--were rewarded for their creative thinking and original business concepts. This year, UPS is taking its third annual UPS Best “Out-of-the-Box” Small Business Contest global.

The international contest will honor the most innovative small businesses and is designed for companies with annual 2006 revenues of at least $250,000 but not more than $10 million. Eligible businesses in the United States, Canada, Mexico, China, the Philippines and Singapore are asked to submit a 500-word essay explaining why they’re original and how they’ve been successful.

“The majority of UPS customers are small businesses. When you work every day with small businesses, you understand the challenges they face,” said Kurt Kuehn, UPS senior v.p., worldwide sales and marketing. “This contest is designed to recognize and reward those small businesses that are based on innovative ideas and concepts.”

UPS started as a small business. Evolving from a local bicycle messenger service in 1907 to a global provider of package delivery and supply chain services today, UPS started when an enterprising 19-year-old named Jim Casey borrowed $100 from a friend and established the American Messenger Company in Seattle.

The company grew quickly as Casey was always coming up with innovative ways to help meet the delivery needs of customers. In 1913, the company expanded to serve local department stores by delivering goods to shoppers’ homes. Six years later, the company expanded into Oakland, Calif., and changed its name to United Parcel Service. And the rest is history.

Small businesses entering the contest must submit a 500-word essay and complete the online entry process at www.ups.com/outofthebox. Entries may be submitted through Sept. 1, 2007, and must be completed by an employee or owner of an eligible business on behalf of that business, with a limit of one entry per business. For a complete description of the contest rules and regulations, small businesses should visit the Web site.

The entries will be judged by a panel of renowned small business experts from outside and within UPS. The judges will assess the entries based on originality, business implementation and business results. Prizes include:

First place – $25,000 in cash; an IBM small business package valued at $2,000, and inclusion of winning business in an international UPS publicity campaign related to the contest.

Second place – $10,000 in cash; an IBM small business package valued at $2,000, and inclusion of winning business in a local UPS publicity campaign related to the contest.

Third place – $5,000 in cash; an IBM small business package valued at $2,000, and inclusion of winning business in a local UPS publicity campaign related to the contest.

In honor of its Centennial celebration this year, UPS will award a one-time-only special prize of $10,000 to the small business best exemplifying the “end-to-end customer service” theme of UPS’s Centennial celebration.

One of the winners of the 2006 contest, The Alzheimer’s Store, provides products and services for people with dementia. Another winner, Money Savvy Generation, developed the Money Savvy Pig, a “piggy bank for the 21st century,” along with a curriculum to teach children about money.

Source: UPS

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