The President’s Pen is a weekly blog written by Jonathan Smith, New Vision’s President and CEO about local economic development projects and initiatives. It also covers economic trends, workforce issues, business climate policies, and manufacturing news.
We are pleased to announce that three emerging businesses were selected as winners of the association’s third annual business plan contest today. These entrepreneurs were selected by seven judges that met with business plan contestants yesterday.
Selah’s Smiles won New Vision’s Enterprise Challenge and received a check for $10,000. The specialized dental clinic will be located in Selah. Dr. Tyrone Rodriguez is a pediatric dentist who specializes in treating kids, people with special needs and anxious adults. He helped the University of Washington establish their dental residency program in Yakima and has also served as Children’s Village’s dentist. Selah’s Smiles will open this Spring. Rodriguez will start with four to five employees and add more services and staff as the business grows.
The Drawing Board placed second in the contest and received a check for $5,000. The Drawing Board will be a bistro styled gathering place located in downtown Yakima. The Drawing Board will offer unique microbrews, local wines, and a deli oriented menu that features gourmet cheeses, specialty meats, and local farm products. The company plans to start operations within the next three to four months.
Yakima Coupons took third place in the contest and won $2500. This enterprise will bring local businesses throughout the Yakima Valley in direct connection with consumers by providing savings through new technological mediums while also providing businesses the option to introduce themselves into a Spanish speaking market.
The other four final contestants received consolation prizes that can be redeemed for legal or marketing support from local businesses. “We are thrilled with the results of our business plan contest”, said New Vision’s Jean Brown. “All our contestants have enormous potential in terms of launching or running successful local businesses. If these emerging companies get off the ground according to their plans we should see them opening or expanding facilities and adding a significant number of jobs.”
Dr. Tyrone Rodriguez, owner of Selah’s Smiles, was excited to win the contest: “We got a huge boost from being in the Enterprise Challenge. It gave us a chance to thoroughly think through how we were going to establish our new clinic in Selah. From knowing how much funding we need to better understanding our market, the contest helped us get organized to launch our new enterprise.”
New Vision’s Enterprise Challenge started in September and featured several educational events where contestants could learn more about managing a business. Final contestants also traveled to Entrepreneur University in Seattle and got coaching from local experts. The development association is going to evaluate the Enterprise Challenge early next year. According to Brown, “We have run a great contest for the last three years and we want to look at how we might expand or change the contest to make it even better.”