Entrepreneurs and small business owners play a vital role in strengthening the U.S. economy. In fact, the statistics are staggering. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms and employ half of all private sector employees. Reducing barriers for startups as well as existing small businesses is crucial.
A Maryland nonprofit, the Eastern Shore Entrepreneurship Center (ESEC) of Easton, Md., and Maryland Capital Enterprises (MCE) have joined together to demonstrate their commitment to building a stronger entrepreneurial sector by hosting a business plan competition. The contest will award a total of $35,000 in cash and services to the top three winners. The registration deadline is November 7; business plans are due on November 16.
The competition is open to startups and existing business owners who want to start a new business. Individual or group applicants are accepted. All finalists or winners must agree that they will use the prize winnings to establish or continue business operations in Maryland Eastern Shore counties.
“Creating a strong regional economy is linked to breaking down barriers for business startups,” says Mike Thielke, ESEC executive director. “The business plan competition is just one component of our vision for a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem,” he adds.
This competition is part of the Dorchester County Economic Development Technology Summit, which will be held December 9-10, 2012. The top five finalists will present before a panel of judges at the summit on December 9 at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay in Cambridge. The winners will be announced during the keynote address on December 10. The top three winners will receive a total of $35,000 in cash and services: $20,000 for first place; $10,000 for second place; and $5,000 for third place.
Individuals or teams interested in participating can visit https://shorebizplan1.myreviewroom.com to complete the registration and review eligibility information. For more information, contact Mike Thielke at (410) 770-9330 or email@example.com.
Founded in 2006, the Eastern Shore Entrepreneurship Center works to develop and enhance an entrepreneurial ecosystem on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. ESEC provides training, services and programs to help business owners and entrepreneurs succeed by creating greater access to capital, and offering programs that develop entrepreneurial skills and knowledge. Included are ShoreVenture, a comprehensive 10-week entrepreneur-training program, annual business plan and student plan competitions, and an annual entrepreneur conference.
In 2012, ESEC launched “hotDesks,” providing co-working spaces for independent professionals. The first location opened in Salisbury with a second location to be announced on the Eastern Shore. For more information on the business plan competition or ESEC, call (410) 770-9330 or visit ventureahead.org.