‘Venture Quest’ starts in AugustPublished 10:32am Monday, January 25, 2010
“A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.”
- Mark Twain
CASSOPOLIS – If Twain was correct, southwestern Michigan cranks will soon have a chance to prove their critics wrong – and a chance to pocket some cash that just might help fund the start-up or growth costs for a successful new business, thanks to a new project announced by a consortium of areas business planning and development groups.
The competition, called Venture Quest 2010, targets aspiring entrepreneurs and existing small businesses and just might be the springboard to catapult its top entrants into a lucrative new venture, according to John Egelhaaf, Southwest Michigan Planning Commission executive director and spokesman for the sponsoring groups, which include Cass County Economic Development Corp. (EDC).
“Beginning in August, anyone with a great idea for a business product or service, anyone with a business plan at any stage of development or any small business looking to expand or move in a different direction can enter the competition,” Egelhaaf said.
“Our panel of experts will review the plans for the quality of the idea, creativity, feasibility and marketability and pick the plans with the greatest chances of success.
“Cash prizes will be awarded for first, second and third places to help the winners fund their start-up or expansion within Berrien Cass or Van Buren counties.”
Egelhaaf said the group will also provide prizes to the competition’s top contestant in the form of business support resources such as consulting, accounting and legal services.
Exact levels of support have yet to finalized.
Egelhaaf said prize details will be announced later.
“This is about ideas and about business,” Egelhaaf said.
“If an individual or group has a good idea for a business, but doesn’t have a business plan, our sponsors and partners will provide them with the training and direction to help develop and prepare the plan.”
“It’s a classic win-win situation,” he said, explaining that the competition will help participants by fostering entrepreneurial spirit, providing access to start-up capital, improving access to business and entrepreneurial education and by creating a network of business and professional support that the entrepreneurs can use in the future.
In addition, the competition will help the entire southwestern Michigan region by promoting the area as a great place to start and grow a business, and by fostering an environment that supports entrepreneurial ideas.
Entries for Venture Quest 2010 will be accepted from Aug. 16 through the end of September.
Entrants must complete an application, which will be available online by mid-summer at http://swmpc.org/vq.asp.
There will be a $25 entry fee.
During the application window, Venture Quest 2010 will offer a series of optional courses offering assistance in constructing a business plan.
Once the application window closes, judges who are recognized regional business leaders will review participants’ business plans.
Finalists will be announced at the beginning of November, with an awards presentation ceremony taking place in mid-November.