Now this is news guaranteed to bark over.

Barley Labs, a Durham startup that produces all-natural treats for dogs from recycled barley at Full Steam Brewery and cheese treats from Cultured Cow Creamery, may get the kind of exposure most new companies can only dream of: Promotion in a Super Bowl ad through a contest sponsored by Intuit.

Theresa Chu and Scott Beaudry are co-owners of the company, which launched a year ago. But they share management duties with their dog Barley who is listed on the company website as “Chief Inspiration Officer and VP of Quality Control.”

“Being in the Top Four means possibility,” Chu says. “We started Barley Labs with the dream that we would be able to make a living doing what we loved and what we’re passionate about. Now that dream feels like a real possibility thanks to the Intuit Small Business Big Game contest.”

Barley Labs had to fight through  a pack of thousands to make the final four.

“We’re still in awe that we were selected out of the almost 15,000 companies that entered the contest,” Beaudry says. “We couldn’t be more excited to have the opportunity to share our story and our business with dog and beer lovers across the country.”

Intuit on Monday disclosed the four finalists in its “Small Business Big Game” contest, the winner of which receives plenty of prizes including a trip to the Super Bowl. But the big prize is the ad.

The four finalists are: 

  • Barley Labs
  • GoldieBlox, of Oakland, Calif. – Is a toy company inspiring girls to push limits and think outside the box.
  • Locally Laid Egg Company, of Duluth, Minn. – Raises hens on pasture to produce healthier poultry and eggs.
  • POOP – Natural Dairy Compost, of Nampa, Idaho – Produces natural and odorless composted dairy manure for lawns, gardens and flowerbeds.

“What a wide-ranging and deserving group!” said Brad Smith, Intuit’s chief executive officer, in announcing the finalists. “Tens of thousands of small businesses entered this contest, and these finalists demonstrate the breadth of entrepreneurship across the United States. Although the field is down to just four, this effort shined a light on the contributions and importance of all small business to our economy.”

Other prizes include:

  • Free, lifetime use of Intuit small business solutions, including Intuit QuickBooks, payroll and payments.
  • Professionally produced advertising for their business.
  • A meeting and business advice from entrepreneur and reality star Bill Rancic.
  • An all-expense paid trip to New York for a big game viewing party held in their honor.

The “Small Business Big Game” contest launched on July 31, and Intuit employees picked the four finalists.

Intuit now is allowing online voting to help determine the winner. Voting ends Dec. 1.