Shopify has launched their 3rd annual “build-a-business” competition and it’s by far their most interesting to date. The last couple competitions focused on prizing and the carrot dangling from a string on a stick was cold hard cash. This year, the carrot is mentorship. The concept is pretty simple, just open an online store anytime between now and the end of the year and sell as much as you can. The ecommerce store that sells the most in any two months wins.

Competition mentors Tim Ferriss (The 4-Hour Workweek), Daymond John (FUBU & The Shark Tank), Eric Ries (The Lean Startup), and Tina Roth Eisenberg (swissmiss) will be providing ongoing support by way of articles, videos, and Q&A’s to all the participants. Each of the mentors will be presiding over a certain category. Designers will be particularly interested that world renowned graphic designer Tina Eisenberg will be leading the design, art & home vertical. She will also be investing $50,000 for a 5% equity stake in the winning ecommerce store. If the winning company is valued at more than $1M you’re welcome to take the $50K cash with no strings attached.

Shopify Launches Ecommerce Competition: Designers Get Chance to Win $50K Investment from Swissmiss

In addition to a $50K investment the winner will also receive:

  • Trip to NYC to meet with all the mentors
  • $20,000 in Google AdWords Credits
  • Feature article on Fastcompany.com

As far as ecommerce platforms go, Shopify has some really good street cred among the design community. Last year we showcased 40 Stunning Online Stores Built Using Shopify – most of which custom built templates, but they have a good variety of prefabricated templates in the Shopify Theme Store (many of which responsive) to choose from as well. Tina Eisenberg runs her designer temporary tattoo store Tattly on Shopify – so her mentorship will be backed by a lot of practical experience with regard to building a successful ecommerce store.

If you have ever thought of jumping into the world of ecommerce, now certainly seems to be the time. When you sign up for the competition, you will receive a free 30 day trial, $100 in Google AdWords credits, $100 in Amazon Ad credits, $100 in MailChimp credits, and a free .CO domain. More information here.