The retail chain wants to give 14 small business owners help organizing themselves as the year draws toward its end.

The lovable madness of holiday e-commerce isn’t confined to retail consumers. Office Depot Inc., the office supplies retail chain that nearly a year ago merged with rival OfficeMax, has launched an online holiday contest for business-to-business customers.

Called the “Elf Who Helps Small Business,” the competition calls for business owners and employees to explain in up to 150 words “what task they need assistance with and how it will help them.” Office Depot will select 14 entries as winner and award them “a variety of products and a $1,000 gift card” to help with those tasks. The office supplies chain will also arrange “on-site” organizational services through TaskRabbit, an online marketplace where consumers can find handyman, moving, cleaning and related services.

Office Depot will accept submissions at until Nov. 12.

“From client holiday gifting to closing out the year’s financials, the bustle of the holiday season for all businesses is about to begin, and we have all heard it before that there is not enough hands to complete the work, and that is exactly what Office Depot and OfficeMax will deliver to 14 lucky winners,” says Eduardo Souchon, senior marketing director for Office Depot. “With more time and money being spent during the busy holiday season, we want to give back and make sure these small businesses have what they need to boost their success into the new year and beyond.”

The move is OfficeDepot’s latest attempt to make itself even more of a B2B e-commerce player. In late October, for instance, the chain said it would roll out a new way to connect electronically with thousands of suppliers across Europe, the company said last week.


It also is an extension to the B2B world a promotion that OfficeMax introduced several years ago for shoppers. Called “Elf Yourself,” the retailer created a special web site each holiday season where consumers could upload photos of themselves or friends that would become the faces of cartoon elves on the web site.

Office Depot is No. 9 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, which ranks companies by their annual web sales.

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