Comcast Business and Inc. Magazine announced that 32 small business owners from across the U.S. have been named regional winners in the “ Innovations 4 Entrepreneurs” (I4E) program, a national competition that will award more than $600,000 in cash and services to aspiring entrepreneurs who are leveraging technology to enhance their business.
Each of the regional winners will receive a $5,000 cash award plus Comcast Business Internet and TV services for two years, along with a $2,500 allocation for other Comcast services. In addition, these businesses will receive services for one year from Comcast Upware partners Cisco, Microsoft, Symantec, DocuSign, Soonr and Swiftpage Engage.
Winners were selected based on essays they submitted highlighting their use of technology to enhance the customer or employee experience and other judging criteria. Entries were judged by John Jantsch, marketing consultant, speaker and best-selling author of Duct Tape Marketing, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine and Anita Campbell, founder, CEO and publisher of Small Business Trends. They come from a wide range of locations, backgrounds and types of businesses, in industries including apparel, counseling, education, fitness, food products, real estate, a salon, video production and many more. The full list of regional winners and their essays are available here.
The next round of the competition is the public vote, where six businesses will be selected as grand prize winners and receive an additional $20,000 cash award as well as an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City. While in New York, they will have the opportunity to receive one-on-one consulting with nationally recognized business experts: Marcus Lemonis, businessman, investor, TV personality and Philanthropist; Robert Irvine, Celebrity Chef and Entrepreneur; and Comcast senior executives. Grand prize winners will also receive a VIP tour of 30 Rockefeller Center and an awards dinner prepared by Chef Irvine.Public voting will be held May 20 – June 1, 2014. The six grand prize winners will be announced the week of June 23, 2014, with an awards ceremony to be held in New York City on August 26, 2014. “These entrepreneurs have demonstrated a superior ability to utilize technology in their businesses, and with the help of the I4E program they now have the opportunity to expand their businesses to a whole new level,” said Terry Connell, senior vice president, Comcast Business. “These 32 businesses come from diverse backgrounds and industries and have interesting stories and business plans.”