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There’s no doubt that taking part in one of the many small business startup competitions around the world is an exciting and worthwhile way to get recognition for your business as well as facetime with angel investors, venture capitalists, and potential customers. Startup Open is one such competition that is accepting applications now.

In 2010, the winner of the Startup Open competition received some facetime with one of the foremost entrepreneurs on the planet, Richard Branson. Branson, whose Virgin Airlines as well as many other companies under the Virgin name, is a master at making a small business in to something big. The 2010 winner, Olivier Ceberio, won a trip to Branson’s private island, Necker Island where he participated in networking sessions with Branson and other highly successful entrepreneurs as well as sailed around the island with Branson. Olivier said of his trip, “I had the opportunity to learn from and exchange ideas with some the brightest and most inspiring entrepreneurs in the world.”

The Startup Open competition is open to any business who has a “startup moment” sometime between Global Entrepreneur Week 2010 and 2011. ((Nov. 22, 2010 to Nov. 20, 2011) A startup moment could include making your first sale, registering your business as an LLC, corporation, or other business designation, securing outside funding or opening your doors or launching your ecommerce website.

The Startup Open competition is part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, an initiative sponsored by the Kauffman Foundation. The Kauffman Foundation provides funding to encourage the creation and further growth of small businesses around the world. The foundation has provided millions in funding for competitions such as these as well as numerous other initiatives.

On October 15th, 2011, the 50 most promising startups will be named by the Startup Open selection committee and on November 14th, a winner will be named along with 10-15 runnerup awards. Completing an application is easy. Simply go to startupopen.com and complete the short application. Businesses have until September 15th to submite their application and the application can be modified up until the deadline.

Although the realistic truth is that winning a global competition is difficult, putting information about you and your business in front of the eyes of the business professionals who read the applications could be a potential business lead. Don’t count out the fact that not winning the competition can still be a win for your business if you catch the eye of an influential reader. Although it may seem that there are more worthwhile ways to spend your business day, for any entrepreneur trying to make a name for themselves, competitions like this are just as important.