UPS Looks to Deliver Prizes to Innovative SMBs

Think your business is an innovative, think-outside-the-box-kind of place? If you can convince UPS of that, you can win cash and computers.

The package delivery and supply chain services giant recently announced the launch of a national contest in which it is searching for the most innovative U.S.-based small businesses. UPS dubbed the contest the Best “Out-of-the-Box” Small Business Contest. To be eligible, your business must operate in U.S. and have annual revenues for 2004 of at least $500,000, but not more than $10 million. If you fit that description and think you are innovative, submit your 500-word essay explaining how and why.

“UPS itself began as asmall business and even though we have grown into a large company, we still understand the hurdles that small companies must overcome to grow,” said Kurt Kuehn, UPS senior vice president, worldwide sales and marketing, in a statement.

If you’re not familiar with the UPS story, the company started as a local bicycle messenger service in 1907 when 19-year-old, Jim Casey, borrowed $100 to start teh American Messenger Company in Seattle. Casey is credited with developing innovative ways to help meet the delivery service needs of customers. In 1913, for example, 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.

UPS reports that it has launched a special Web site for the contest. Visit for more info how to submit your 500-word essay and complete the entry process. Entries may be submitted online through August 1, 2005. All entries 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.

The judging panel will consist of what UPS described as “renowned small business experts from outside and within UPS.” Entries will be judged on the basis if originality, business implementation and business results.

Prizes will be awarded to the top three finishers.

The first-place prize package contains the following:

  • $10,000 in cash or $10,000 worth of UPS package delivery services.
  • A personal computer provided by HP and equipped with UPS OnLine Tools.
  • 10 hours of UPS consulting services (a $5,000 value) to help the business improve its supply chain or package delivery processes.

The second place winner will receive the following:

  • $5,000 cash or $5,000 in free UPS shipping
  • A Hewlett-Packard computer equipped with UPS shipping and tracking tools
  • Participation in a UPS publicity campaign

The third place winner will receive the following:

  • A Hewlett-Packard computer equipped with UPS shipping and tracking tools
  • Participation in a UPS publicity campaign

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