Microsoft Challenges Small Businesses to Put Themselves to the Test, Launches Small Business Triathlon Contest on the Web

REDMOND, Wash., Aug. 19, 1996 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the launch of a contest for small businesses, the Small Business Triathlon, on its Web site. The contest, which begins today and runs through Sept. 20, 1996, will be on the Microsoft® Small Business Resource Web site, at http://microsoft.com/smallbiz/. Businesses with fewer than 10 employees are eligible to participate.

Small businesses typically have fewer resources than larger companies and so face a tremendous battle to succeed in a tough market. The contest underscores Microsoft’s commitment to helping small businesses succeed despite the challenges. To illustrate how technology can help small businesses level the playing field, the company chose a triathlon theme, which is reflected in the three entry categories. The categories are Running Ahead of the Pack, in which participants enter the business plan they used to launch their small business or help keep it a success; Swimming Against the Current, in which participants write an essay on a challenge or obstacle they overcame in starting their business; and The Big Finish, in which participants can show off the best marketing and promotional materials that were created in-house. The Microsoft Small Business Triathlon is easier than a real triathlon: Small businesses need enter only one category to win. The entries will be judged by members of the Microsoft Small Business Council based on original ideas, creative strategies and innovative solutions.

Like Microsoft, NEC is committed to the small-business market and will contribute three NEC Ready PCs, monitors and printers that feature a Pentium® 166-based PC, a 17-inch NEC MultiSync monitor and a NEC SuperScript 860 laser printer. These complete systems and peripherals are ideally suited to meet the particular needs of small businesses. In addition, Microsoft will provide the winners with small-business software valued at over $850. The software will include Microsoft Office Professional for the Windows® 95 operating system, the best-selling office suite that combines Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, the PowerPoint® presentation graphics program, Microsoft Access and the Bookshelf® 96-97 CD-ROM reference library; Microsoft Publisher CD Deluxe, a desktop publishing product for creating brochures, fliers and newsletters; Small Business Pack, a collection of ready-to-use business templates, forms and reports for Microsoft Office Professional; and Small Business Financial Manager, financial-analysis tools that use accounting software data to help users make better business decisions. Mail Boxes Etc. will contribute the use of the postal box to which entries can be sent.

Entries can be mailed to the Mail Boxes Etc. box number shown on the Web site, or
e-mailed to msbc@edelman.com by Sept. 20, 1996. Small-business owners and staffs of small businesses employing fewer than 10 people can enter. Official contest rules are posted on the Web site. Winners will be announced on the Web site on Oct. 1, 1996. All entries will be kept confidential with the exception of the winning entries.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
“MSFT”
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Microsoft, Windows, PowerPoint and Bookshelf are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Pentium is a registered trademark of Intel Corp.

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