Alibaba to Give $100,000 in Grants to US Entrepreneurs
By Ina Steiner
As news comes that Alibaba Group plans to spend at least $200 million in acquisitions and other investments in the next few years, its Alibaba.com division is launching a national "Newpreneur of the Year" contest in the U.S. and will award a total of $100,000 to small business owners who see the recession as an opportunity to start a new venture.
According to a survey conducted by Alibaba, 42 percent of Americans have considered starting a business since the economic downturn. Among those Americans, roughly a quarter has acted on the idea. Additionally, three out of four Americans believe new entrepreneurs will do the most to revive the economy, and four of five say that at some point they have considered starting their own business.
"The renewed confidence in entrepreneurs is evident across the country and proves that the American dream is still alive and well," said David Wei, Alibaba.com CEO. "As the data shows, Americans strongly believe the down economy provides an opportunity for a new class of what we call "Newpreneurs" - people who are using the recession as a catalyst to start a business or develop an idea. Alibaba.com can help Americans turn their dream into a reality by connecting them with business partners and helping them succeed in global trade."
Founded in China in 1999, Alibaba.com helps new and existing business owners get started by connecting them with trusted manufacturers and suppliers from around the world for every imaginable good, from laptops to wedding dresses to auto engine parts. The site also helps people produce prototypes to get their ideas off the ground. Alibaba.com has more than 1.25 million registered users in the United States and draws an average of 4.9 million monthly visitors.
A select panel of judges will review the online submissions and will invite 30 semi-finalists to present their idea at regional events in October that will be held in six cities; New York City, Miami, Dallas, Chicago, Seattle and Los Angeles. After the regional judging, 12 finalists will be profiled on the contest website for public voting. The top five finalists will be invited to the finale event in San Francisco on November 18, 2009, where the grand prize winner will be revealed. The grand prize winner of the Newpreneur of the Year contest will receive $50,000 to invest in their business, with the four remaining finalists taking home awards totaling an additional $50,000.
The contest is presented in partnership with Inc, entries can be submitted online through August 14, 2009.
About the author:
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to email@example.com.
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