The contest pits three small businesses -- finalists were selected from "hundreds" of applicants -- in an electoral cage match. You can cast your vote starting today. Each finalist produced a video stumping for why it deserves the $100,000 technology makeover (provided by Microsoft and Dell).
Take a look at the three contestants:
GymStars Gymnastics -- This Stockton, CA business teaches children gymnastics, karate and dance; the company and is limping along with a 10-year-old, failing computer system that sucks up vital resources.
MouCo Cheese Company -- An artisan cheese company based in Fort Collins, CO believes improved technology will help be leader in environmental stewardship for the food industry.
Sid's Bikes NYC -- This two-shop cycling retailer in Manhattan is hobbled by decentralized databases and manual systems that keep mechanics and sales people from doing their jobs.
The winner will be announced at the Microsoft Small Business Summit, March 24-27 (a free, online event that you can attend). Last year, the winner of the makeover contest was Tomorrow's Child Learning Center, a small business that works with children with developmental disabilities. According to the video case study, the makeover increased productivity, allowing more time for the kids (more time being the theme to this award). Dare to dream about how you'd spend $100,000 on your business technology.
Microsoft is not alone in seeing the promotional potential of small business competitions -- watching the resource starved duke it out seems to bring the eyeballs. That's why UPS, Fortune and HP, among others, are doing it too.
And what about this contest? Despite the undeniable allure of cheese, as a committed cyclist I'm embracing my bias to cast a vote for Sid's -- how will you vote?Microsoft's entry in the makeover game offers one small business a technology facelift. The contest is down to three finalists -- cast your vote today.