Posted: May 1, 2014 Applicants wanted for Jump-Start competition
There are many business owners in the downtown area that can sing the praises of the Jump-Start Business Plan Competition. Colleen Weber, owner of Smiling Moose Deli, won the competition in 2010, and was awarded $5,000 by Downtown Eau Claire, Inc. She submitted a business plan for the judge's review. "It was a reinforcement with great questions and good ideas coming out to reinforce what we were going to be doing. Listening to what people say and meeting with people who have experience or knowledge is so important, and it's so very, very valuable."
DECI has held Jump-Start since 2005 and prizes have been given out to a total of 43 businesses. Nearly half are still operating. $56,000 has been awarded in the last nine years. "The Jump-Start Business Plan Competition is great because it gives businesses an extra 'jump' to beginning a business they may not have been able to start otherwise. It gives potential businesses the extra drive and motivation to begin the process of writing a business plan," said Elaine Coughlin, Jump-Start organizer. DECI kicked off the competition during National Entrepreneurship Week, February 17. The competition is for those interested in starting or relocating a business downtown before May, 2015. All types of businesses are eligible as long as the business entered has not already been located downtown at the time of entry. There will be a grand prize of a cash award for start-up capital. There will also be prizes for the categories of Honorable Mention and Innovative Idea. Coughlin said Jump-Start has benefitted many now-successful merchants in the downtown area. Some of them include Just Local Food Cooperative, Nicole's Downtown Salon and Spa, Spin Vision, and Clever Owl. "Fine-tune the details and do the business plan. Don't do it just because a bank needs it. Really buy into it, and don't let it get dusty on the shelf," Weber said.
For more information, applications, and guidelines click here!
Applications need to be submitted by June 13, 2014 with a business plan that is under 30 pages