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Every new business idea could use a little cash to help it along. Get your plan together and you could win $10,000 – although you may want to go to boot camp first.
“The purpose is to find an entrepreneur with a good concept and kick start his business,” said Fred Green, director of the Red River Region Business Incubator.
To that end, R3bi is sponsoring a business plan competition for $10,000. There’s a separate contest for students to come up with their business plans and earn $1,000. The winners from both contests also get a free year of residency in the incubator.
Business plans will be judged on the feasibility of the concept, potential to create employment, potential to attract investment and the person’s ability to execute the plan. The plan must be for a seed, start-up or early stage existing business, and it must address the entire business concept – including implementation.
“It has to be real,” Green said. “And he has to be ready to roll up his sleeves and get to work.”
Residents in Northeast Texas and Southeast Oklahoma are eligible. Entrants can submit their plans starting Aug. 1, although they have until Sept. 14 to get them in. Winners will be announced at the end of September.
Need an edge in that competition? You’re in luck. R3bi, Small Business Development Center and the School of Business and Entrepreneurship of Texas A&M University-Commerce plan to hold a Small Business and Entrepreneurial Boot Camp on Aug. 3-4 in Room 348 of the university’s business administration building.
“Boot camps are a nationwide phenomenon now,” Green said. “Every major university with an incubator – and even rural incubators – are running intensive training sessions for entrepreneurs and small businesses.”
Sessions start at 9 a.m. and run until 5 p.m. both days. Lunch, drinks and snacks will be provided. The cost is $225. Scholarships are available to veterans, students, small business owners and unemployed individuals.
Although those planning to enter the business plan contest are encouraged to attend, the boot camp isn’t just for them. Topics to be covered include:
“The purpose is to take an aspiring entrepreneur or a business owner who is struggling and put them through two days of intensive workshops about what they need to know to run a business,” Green said.
Many economic development corporations and incubators across the country support competitions for students and entrepreneurs to attend workshops to learn how to write a business plan, then submit one to earn money for business startup costs. One of the best well-known is the Amarillo business plan competition, which gives out $500,000 to four $100,000 winners and two who get $50,000 apiece. Nebraska has a statewide contest, and many universities such as the University of Texas at Dallas have their own competitions.
Such competitions also frequently include a presentation before venture capitalists and angel investor groups that can result in more money for the endeavor.
Projects like the competition and boot camp tie in with the Paris Economic Development Corp.’s business plan, which calls for a regional approach to entrepreneurial development. R3bi isn’t using PEDC funds to pay for activities out of town, Green noted. The incubator is seeking grants.