Xero, a New Zealand-based small business platform, has announced the return of the Xero Beautiful Business Fund for 2024 — an initiative offering more than SGD 630,000 ($466,720) in funding to support small businesses and non profits with their growth plans and help drive future success.

Xero said in a statement on Tuesday that entries for the Xero Beautiful Business Fund are officially open to Xero small business customers in Australia, Canada (excluding Quebec), New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, United Kingdom and the United States.

According to the statement, the entry period will close on August 27, 2024.

Xero small business customers will need to complete an online form and record and submit a 90-second pitch video to the competition website for as many categories as they would like to enter.

These categories include innovating for environmental sustainability which is for a small business or non profit who wants to take the next step in their environmental sustainability journey by: minimizing their own environmental impact; enhancing the sustainability of current products or services; or developing new environmentally friendly products or services.

Another category is trailblazing with technology, which is for a small business or non profit that has a ‘future focus’ mindset and is seeking to innovate. These organizations want to set the pace and lead the charge using new and emerging technologies.

Another category is strengthening community connection, which is for a small business or non profit that has a mission or purpose rooted in serving their communities and making a positive impact. It could be to make a difference in the community they serve, support underserved or marginalized groups or contribute to social good through innovative ideas or solutions.

Another category is upskilling for the future, which is for a small business or non profit that wants to overcome a skills gap, either through upskilling themselves or their employees. These organizations see a path forward with greater access to training and professional development.

“As a global judge last year, getting to hear first hand from our small business customers about their ideas and aspirations was a rewarding experience that reminded me of the resilience, drive and determination it takes to be a business owner,

“The fund is a chance to reflect on our purpose to make life better for small businesses, their advisors and communities around the world and provide meaningful support so our customers can fulfill their dreams or take that next big step with confidence,” said Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, Xero Chief Executive Officer.

It is noted that the inaugural Xero Beautiful Business Fund was first launched on July 6, 2023.

The 2023 winners from Singapore represent a group of small businesses and non profits dedicated to solving problems and making a positive impact in their local communities.

They cover a diverse range of businesses such as a clothing rental service that reduces the environmental impact of fast fashion, a social video agency that helps businesses to accelerate growth in the digital economy, a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) clinic that leverages modern technologies to drive better healthcare outcomes, and an organization that advocates art appreciation and is working to strengthen networks in the local art ecosystem.

According to the statement, the total prize pool of more than SGD 630,000 ($466,720) will be shared among 28 winners.

There will be four winners from each country, one in each category, determined by local judging panels, and each winner will receive SGD 15,000 ($11,112).

Of those winners, four will become global winners, determined by a global judging panel, and each global winner will receive an additional SGD 40,000 ($29,633).

Xero is a global small business platform with 4.2 million subscribers.

The firm’s smart tools help small businesses and their advisors to manage core accounting functions like tax and bank reconciliation, and complete other important small business tasks like payroll and payments.

Its extensive ecosystem of connected apps and connections to banks and other financial institutions provide a range of solutions from within Xero’s open platform to help small businesses run their business and manage their finances more efficiently.

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