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.
Our office announced this week that we are staging a business plan this fall to identify the most innovative business ideas and solid business plans. The Enterprise Challenge will be a three month multi-round business plan competition. The competition will unfold from September through December and feature several cuts along the way when judges choose contestants to move on in the contest. The top three entrepreneurs or business teams at the end of the Enterprise Challenge will win $10,000 (1st Place), $5,000 (2nd place and $2,500 (3rd place).
We are excited about this new intiative and feel confident that we will identify and tangibly support several local entrepreneurs that have the potential to grow their enterprises. New Vision is banking on these emerging companies' potential to create jobs as well. It may take a while for new enterprises to hire employees but we know from experience that small businesses are a key driver of payroll growth in the Yakima Valley.
We designed the business plan contest to nurture all of our entrepreneurial contestants, whether they win our top prize or not. The Enterprise Challenge features some tremendous educational seminars and field trips for our contestants so everyone participating should take home knowledge that should help them develop and sustain their ventures.
A couple years ago New Vision recognized that supporting entrepreneurship is a fundamental part of economic development. Initiatives to support emerging businesses are equally important to recruiting new industry or helping existing companies expand. Since we embraced entrepreneurship New Vision has discovered some great public and private partners that can help support emerging companies. By working with these partners New Vision has developed a better "safety net" for small business AND we have been able to organize the Enterprise Challenge, a contest that we feel can identify local companies with gazelle-like potential for growth.
Stay tuned for more details about the Enterprise Challenge by visiting our entrepreneur support website, www.yakimavalley.biz Also plan to attend our kickoff half-day workshop, MBA in a Day, on September 15th. I think we are at the start of an interesting and productive journey that can help us build our local economy.