The Carroll Biz Challenge is a business startup contest for entrepreneurs in Carroll County. In addition to networking and business plan development, applicants will be competing to win a $5,000 prize.
Supported by the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce, the Carroll Biz Challenge helps encourage the entrepreneurial spirit in Carroll County's thriving small business community.
"The Chamber [of Commerce] supports this program because it shines a spotlight on the entrepreneurs in Carroll County," Carroll County Chamber President Mike McMullin said. "Small business is the backbone of our economy. Without them there is no recovery. Carroll has a history of self starters and this contest brings these businesses recognition, guidance and assistance."
"This is exactly the kind of event the Chamber should be championing," McMullin said.
Last year's inaugural event resulted in 22 local small business ideas being pitched, with Sean Schmidt of Holistic Home Energy Services taking the $5,000 prize in the end.
And the end is quite a show! The live finale event brings together the finalists, a panel of judges and more than a hundred local supporters to watch as the winner is chosen. And this year's event promises to be even more exciting, according to Carroll Biz Challenge Founder Jason Stambaugh.
"Last year's Carroll Biz Challenge was a huge success! We were very excited to see 22 entrepreneurs submit applications and over 125 people in attendance at the live contest," Stambaugh told Patch. "Based on feedback we received about the event last year, we've made some significant changes to the contest that will make event better for applicants and the community."
Changes to this year's event, according to Stambaugh, include:
- there will be six applicant information sessions and six "Startup Local" workshops
- prior to the live event, there will be an "Applicant Meet and Greet" held for all applicants, event sponsors, advisory board, and contest judges
- a "Big Idea Award" will be awarded to an applicant (who was not selected as a finalist) who pitched a phenomenal startup idea that needs a little work. The recipient will receive a one-on-one workshop and consultation with local Angel Investor, Michael Gibble, President of Zenith Capital Holdings
- the audience's popular vote winner will receive the Vox Pop Communications People's Choice Award ($500 cash prize), in addition to a "judge" vote
- contest judges will each unveil their vote live, one at a time, and say a few words about their selection
After Oct. 15, the advisory board will narrow the pool of applicants to five finalists who will pitch at the live contest on Nov. 22. During the live contest, each finalist has five minutes to pitch his or her business, followed by 10 minutes of Q & A with the contest judges.
Want to know more? Visit www.carrollbizchallenge.com for details and the application form.