Microsoft searches for nation's top 100 home-based businesses
StartupNation and Microsoft Office Live Small Business have launched the second annual "Home-Based 100" to find the top home-based businesses in the country. Home-based businesses interested in making the list can submit their business profile online, with results to be announced in November. 
According to the Small Business Administration, over half of all U.S. businesses are based out of an owner's home, and home-based businesses contribute more than $530 billion to the U.S. economy each year. With more than 19 million entrepreneurs currently running a business from home, most experts believe this trend is at an all-time high.
"2008 is the year of the home-based business. While home businesses have long been the backbone of the U.S. economy - surpassing more than half of all businesses - this year's economic pressures have accelerated this trend and fueled a new crop of home-based entrepreneurs," said Rich Sloan, co-founder of StartupNation LLC and one of the country's leading small-business experts. "Our 2008 ranking of home-based businesses will showcase these unsung heroes of entrepreneurship and demonstrate that home is not only where the heart is, but also where passion, drive, and tomorrow's business success stories live."
The StartupNation Home-Based 100 is composed of 10 top-10 lists making it not just an ordinary business list. Including the grungiest, the most innovative, and the best financial performers, the unique and diverse list highlights the home-based businesses that are often unrecognized, but which still play a vital role in the economy today. The 10 categories for 2008 follow:
- Best Financial Performers
- Most Innovative
- Boomers Back in Business
- Recession Busters
- Most Slacker-Friendly
- Most Glamorous
"Home-based businesses are a growing and vital force in the U.S. economy, and the Home-Based 100 has established itself as the leading voice for recognizing and encouraging home-based business success," said Michael Schultz, U.S. marketing lead for Microsoft Office Live Small Business. "Many of today's leading companies, including Microsoft Corp., claim ‘home' as their birthplace, and we are proud to join with StartupNation to recognize the future of entrepreneurship."
This year, a new category called Recession Busters recognizes businesses that are overcoming the economic downturn. While 2008 has brought new business challenges, including tighter lending standards, higher prices for energy, and weaker consumer spending, a home-based business can tap the advantage of an agile, cost-efficient framework. This unique category will highlight businesses that are not only surviving but also thriving in the current economy.
"Being included on the 2007 Home-Based 100 made my year," said Laura Faust, owner of Ciao Laura LLC. Winner in the Yummiest category for Home-Based 100 2007, Ciao Laura provides travelers with a unique opportunity to learn to cook authentic Italian recipes through its culinary vacation packages in Italy. "The amount of attention and new business that my company received from this award is overwhelming - from record-breaking Web traffic to skyrocketing sales. It is incredible being recognized for the work that I love and an honor to be featured in this list of outstanding businesses." 
Contestants must be home-based and also have a business Web site to enter the contest. Sponsors of the Home-Based 100 ranking include Microsoft Office Live Small Business and FedEx Office.