Would you like a cool $100,000? I think you’re too late for this one, this year at least, but file this away . . . particularly if you’re in the Pacific Northwest. This is Christopher Griffin, on his Startup Thinking blog, about the Zino Zillionaire event:

The technology winner was Gogomo, a shopping widget/service that enables consumers to click an ad and purchase the advertised products without leaving the site they are on (as opposed to jumping off the site to Amazon or elsewhere), similar in several ways to Adgregate Markets, who presented at last week’s TechCrunch50 in San Francisco. On the non-technology front, the winner was CHERRish Corp., creator of a cherry-based nutritional beverage claiming anti-inflammatory properties, similar in several ways to pomegranate-based products by POM Wonderful. Each company will receive a $50,000 investment, with CHERRish winning an extra $50,000 for best of show, for a total of $150,000.

I’m very happy about the proliferation of business plan or venture competitions, which started with the University of Texas’ Moot Corp competition in 1984 and include dozens of them now. I’ll be one of the judges at the Forbes.com $100K contest in New York next month. This one, however, seems to be intriguingly different from a lot of them. First of all, most (although not the Forbes.com one) are put on by graduate schools of business. Look at how Griffin describes this one:

Zino is a very interesting blend of social circle built around a love of wine, and an investment forum. I know that sounds odd, but they seem to make it work–the companies they funded last year (END//outdoor and Healionics) reported back today on 12 months of high growth, deals closed and products launched. And I have to say, the environment was pretty fun, too.

And finishing up on those six-figure contests, I got an e-mail yesterday about a much smaller prize, but much easier entry, contest for a $1,000 prize for the best business idea. That’s an offer from Sam Wyly, billionaire entrepreneur, as part of the promotion for his new book, 1,000 Dollars and an Idea.

One Thousand Dollars

What you have to do, for that one, is go to the website and fill in the form with name, contact information and an explanation of your idea. You type it in right there, on the Web. You have until Halloween to do it. Good luck with that.

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Tim BerryTim Berry
Tim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Bplans.com. Follow him on Twitter @Timberry.