Using Awards to Propel Your Startup

Looking for a bit more traction in your industry? Apply for awards in your field to get free publicity, money and recognition.

Tech industries, especially mobile, love giving out awards. It’s a bit like elementary school. But awards can help you get the attention of big players, and can also serve to help fund your startup.

Where to Look

A simple search for “tech awards” on Google nets thousands of results. You can drill down to get more specific, like mobile app awards, sustainability awards or even cloud computing awards. Each niche of tech has its own contests and competitions. And don’t forget  Lead411, which has open applications for business awards throughout the year in various cities. IT Memos and Small Business Trends both compile awards and deadlines and make it easy to skim for those you are eligible for.


Different awards have varying levels of requirements. Some simply want your url and a brief description, while others like Adobe’s Open Screen Project, may have more hoops to jump through. Note deadlines for applications so you don’t miss out on the chance to win money for your startup.

Which Are Worth It?

You have to determine what you want to achieve in applying for startup competitions. Certainly the free press is a boon, but you may not find benefit in applying for awards that simply list your company on a website and leave it at that. On the other hand, if the competition is like Nokia’s Calling All Innovators, winning or even placing as a finalist may give you the opportunity to pitch your business to investors, as well as get a sizeable pot of money.

Even if you don’t win, being accepted is accolades enough to add to your milestones of success. If you do place as a finalist or winner, be sure to issue a press release (although usually these contests do it for you) and link to the announcement on your site. Any participation in awards and competitions should be mentioned in your investor deck. Simply being a finalist for a high-profile award can be sufficient to get the attention of large corporations who might turn into business partners or clients.

What are you waiting for? You’ve got nothing to lose by applying, and everything to win if you do.

About Susan Payton

Susan Payton is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, an Internet marketing firm specializing in marketing copy, blog and article writing. She is the blogger behind The Marketing Eggspert Blog, and also writes on Small Business Trends, Growth University and BizLaunch. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing. Susan Payton on Google+!