Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5

eBay Launches Contest to Help Small Businesses

The online auction giant is offering a $25,000 grand prize to help businesses purchase much-needed equipment.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In an effort to build broader awareness among small-businessowners both outside and within their user community, eBay isholding "The Big Savings for Small Businesses Contest."From August 25 through September 30, small-business owners areencouraged to register at and answer the question,"If I won $25,000, what would I buy on eBay to help my smallbusiness and what impact would it have on my company?"

In 2002, purchases made for a business accounted for more than$1 billion dollars in gross merchandise sales on eBay, a trend thatdidn't go undetected by the uber online marketplace. "Whenmost people think about eBay, they think about buying personalitems," says Jay Fiore, lead marketer for this contest."Our promotion is really about helping small-business peopleunderstand that eBay is a great place to go to find terrificsavings on a huge selection of brand name laptops, desktops, cellphones, networking gear, even industrial equipment."

eBay has more than 500,000 new listings of business items on thesite every week, falling into three broad categories:

  1. A range of industrial equipment and supplies for a number ofvertical industries like restaurant, construction, metalworkingequipment and test and measurement gear
  2. Computers and networking and office equipment. eBay estimatesabout half of all the computers and networking gear bought on eBayare bought by small businesses
  3. Companies buying wholesale lots to resell.

"With all this business buying going on on eBay, this yearwe started taking steps to promote eBay as a business buyingdestination," adds Fiore.

Entries must be 250 words or less. One grand prize winner willreceive $25,000, and five first prize winners will receive $5,000to purchase computers and other business equipment on eBay. Prizemoney will be awarded via a PayPal account. Winners will benotified through e-mail and/or mail by November 1. The winners willbe chosed by eBay's promotions agency Marden-Kane as well as asmall panel of experts according to the following criteria:

  1. How buying business equipment and supplies on the eBay sitepositively impacts your business (40%)
  2. Passion for eBay (30%)
  3. Clarity of expression (30%)

"There are so many stories about small-business peoplewho've benefited so much because eBay has enabled them to starttheir business, grow their business, hire more people and soon," Fiore shares. "That's part of the reason we cameup with this idea for the promotion--to find a way to helpbusinesses even more." Although the promotion is aimed atbuilding awareness among small-business owners outside and insidethe eBay community, Fiore maintains, "It's also aboutdemonstrating in a real tangible way, our commitment to helpingsmall businesses succeed as well."

Entrepreneur Editors' Picks